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Study Says Low Estrogen Causes Weight Gain in Menopause

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An overweight woman. The Mayo Clinic released a new study recently, which it co-authored, stating that weight gain during the post-menopause years appears to be linked to low estrogen levels.

According to the study, “Scientists have long known that lower estrogen levels after menopause can cause fat storage to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. Now, a groundbreaking study, co-authored by the Mayo Clinic, has determined why: Proteins, revved up by the estrogen drop, cause fat cells to store more fat. And it gets worse: These cellular changes also slow down fat burning by the body”

When I first read this news release, I didn’t know what to think.  Recently, a friend of mine told me her physician suggested to her that her inability to lose weight was also due to her low estrogen levels. “Your body is trying to hold onto what little estrogen you have left” she was told, “And that is why you can’t lose weight.”

When she asked me about it, I told her that I had never heard of such a thing, but that I had read and studied that it was estrogen dominance, not low estrogen which caused weight gain in perimenopausal and menopausal women. I also recommended that she read the book From Belly Fat to Belly Flat” by Dr. C.W. Randolph for further information. That was before this study was released. But, apparently, some physicians do believe it is low estrogen which causes weight gain in menopause, rather than estrogen dominance.  

Truthfully, I don’t know what to think about it. I’m not prepared to call it junk science or inconclusive, or even untrue.  What I find perplexing is the statement, “Scientists have long known that lower estrogen levels after menopause can cause fat storage to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdomen.”  

Mainly the “scientists have long known” part. 

Long known? Really? Where have they been hiding this knowledge? Perhaps what they have long known is that low estrogen causes fat storage to shift to different parts of the body.  But, have they “long known” that it actually causes weight gain in the first place?

That’s the question that needs to be addressed in my view.

Maybe the entire study (which I haven’t read in detail, but plan to hunt down) wasn’t suggesting low estrogen causes weight gain in the first place, but that it simply causes fat shifts?  You can be certain I’m going to be all over this one.  When I find the actual study and read it, I’ll definitely follow up and let you know what I find out.

Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.

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Tags: Symptoms of Menopause , Hormones

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About the Author

Magnolia is dedicated to empowering women to take responsibility for their own health.

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