Probiotics may help ease menopausal symptoms and regulate body weight, but their effectiveness remains controversial.
Menopause can be a challenging time for some people. Many people experience hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms alongside physical changes such as weight gain.
The symptoms that occur during this transition period can vary from person to person. Some people may not have symptoms, some may have mild symptoms, and some may have severe symptoms.
Symptoms of menopause can last for a few years, and you may feel like you’ve reached the end of menopause when they subside. However, entering the postmenopausal stage can bring additional health risks such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Some research suggests that probiotics can help relieve these symptoms or reduce their severity. Here’s what you should know.
The hypothalamus in your brain regulates your hormonal system and body temperature.
The reduction in estrogen production during menopause may influence your hypothalamus to work differently, leading to vasomotor symptoms.
While red clover is marketed as an extract to reduce menopausal symptoms, its effectiveness in treating them
It’s thought that your gut and your brain communicate with each other through your nervous, immune, and endocrine systems. The types of beneficial bacteria present in your gut may even affect your mood.
Mood changes, hot flashes, and night sweats are all symptoms of menopause that can interfere with your sleep.
The vagina acts as a barrier to prevent harmful bacteria from causing infection.
Before menopause, estrogen promotes the colonization of Lactobacilli, a type of beneficial bacteria in the vagina. Lactobacilli help maintain a lower vaginal pH level to reduce the risk of vaginal infections.
The lack of estrogen production during the menopausal and postmenopausal periods can increase your vaginal pH level, allowing the growth of harmful bacteria such as Enterobacter, Escherichia coli, Candida, and Gardnerella.
These bacteria may
It’s thought that using probiotics alone or in combination with antimicrobial medications may help prevent vaginal infections and symptoms related to them, such as vaginal discharge changes and unusual odor.
Estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining bone strength, and a decline in estrogen production can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Your age, sex assigned at birth, race, ethnicity, and overall health also play a role.
Limiting or stopping use of tobacco products and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may help slow down bone loss.
During this time, it’s typical to experience a loss of lean body mass and a redistribution of body fat, with more fat accumulating in your abdomen.
Research suggests that the bacterial composition in the colon could contribute to metabolic diseases. People with overweight or obesity may be more prone to inflammation, insulin resistance, and fat accumulation.
Certain strains of probiotics are thought to improve the health of the gut lining by reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of obesity and other chronic conditions.
Specifically, probiotics may promote weight loss by increasing short-chain fatty acids, increasing the number of beneficial bacteria, reducing inflammation and fat deposition, and improving insulin sensitivity.
More research is needed to better understand the potential role of probiotics in weight loss.
You can consume probiotics by eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, or you can take probiotic supplements.
Foods with naturally occurring probiotics are generally well tolerated when consumed in moderation.
Although probiotic supplements may be somewhat more likely to cause side effects, the effects are usually mild and tend to resolve within a few days to weeks.
Starting slowly with a low dose and gradually increasing your dose over time may help reduce your risk of side effects.
Temporary side effects may include:
If your symptoms persist or worsen over time, stop using probiotics and consult a healthcare professional.
Consuming probiotics may help reduce menopause symptoms by balancing your body’s unique microbiome of harmful and healthful bacteria.
Bifidobacterium animalis is a type of bacteria naturally found in your colon. Supplementing your diet with this type of bacteria may reduce abdominal fat, which is one of the key factors associated with metabolic disorders.
Lactobacillus gasseri is a type of bacteria naturally found in the vagina. Studies involving rodents showed effects on weight loss with the use of Lactobacillus gasseri.
Under current Food and Drug Administration food labeling regulations, it’s optional for yogurt producers to list the amount and state of the bacteria present in their product. However, this regulation is changing as of
Probiotics may help ease menopause symptoms and regulate body weight, but their effectiveness remains controversial.
More research is needed to explore and support the health benefits associated with probiotic use during the various stages of menopause.
For example, consuming probiotics alone will not lead to weight loss during perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause.