Pycnogenol I, a menopausal health material that even those who are sensitive to hormones can safely take, Dr. Esther Lyuh

Pycnogenol I, a menopausal health material that even those who are sensitive to hormones can safely take, Dr. Esther Lyuh

Today, I'm going to talk about female menopauseAs women age, the ovaries age and the production of female hormones no longer occursTherefore, for most women, menstruation begins to become irregular in their mid-to-late 40s, and menopause occurs when menstruation completely disappears around the age of 50. 

When female hormones are deficient, our women undergo extreme changes. Facial flushing and sweating are standard, and emotional ups and downs get worse, so you get annoyed over trivial things and then suddenly burst into tears. The skin of the whole body is also dry, various uncomfortable changes appear in the genitourinary system, and bone density drops rapidly, making it easier to get osteoporosis. Because female hormones are the hormones involved in all of this.

Therefore, today, I will explain in detail the ingredients that can help menopausal women, especially Pycnogenol, which can be safely consumed by those who are sensitive to female hormones or are already receiving hormone therapy.

Female hormones and phytoestrogens

Many people are prescribed female hormones to relieve menopausal symptoms caused by female hormone deficiency.  I also started taking it after menopause and have been taking it until now at the age of 58. 

By the way, some plants that exist in nature also contain ingredients that perform similar actions to female hormones. Representatively, there is an 'isoflavone ' that is contained in a lot of legumes . Isoflavones, also called 'phytoestrogen' because they have a structure similar to estrogen, a type of female hormone, bind to estrogen receptors in the body to show estrogenic activity. This principle can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Soybean isoflavones are representative of menopausal bone health materials.

Isoflavones are abundant in legumes, especially soybeansand many studies have been conducted on the effects of soybean isoflavones on menopausal women's health. As a representative study, I will introduce a study [1] conducted by Japanese researchers in 2007 with menopausal women. In this study, subjects were divided into two groups: one group ate soybean soup containing isoflavones and the other group ate soup without it. After 4 weeks, in the isoflavone group, the bone formation index was improved. This is becaussoy isoflavones improve bone metabolism by preventing excessive bone resorption and promoting bone formation.
The fruit of the locust tree contains an isoflavone called sophoricoside.
[2] There is also a study [2] on 'Hokkaido tree fruit extract' containing sophoricoside, a type of isoflavone. In 2010, a research team in Korea recruited women suffering from menopausal symptoms and had them consume 350 mg of extract from the fruit of the Japanese fig tree every day for 12 weeks .
*The severity of 11 symptoms (hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, nervousness, depression, dizziness, fatigue, joint pain/muscle pain, headache, chest palpitations, vaginal dryness/decrease in secretion) is used as an index for determining menopausal symptoms in middle-aged women around the world. measured by points. At this time, the higher the score, the more severe the menopausal syndrome is considered.

Pycnogenol is recommended for those who are sensitive to female hormones. 

However, some people need to be careful with the intake of these plant female hormones.  This is especially true for those who are prescribed and taking female hormones or have problems with breast cancer, diabetes, or the cardiovascular system. For these people, I would like to introduce 'Pycnogenol', another menopausal health material.

Strictly speaking, Pycnogenol is not the name of an ingredient, but the name of the raw material (Pycnogenol®) that refers to 'French coastal pine bark extract'Pine bark from pine forests along the coast of France contains a mixture of various active substances such as procyanidins, bioflavonoids, and organic acids, which have been proven to provide various benefits when ingested. 

In particular, many studies have been conducted about menopausal women's health. As a result of the study, the intake of Pycnogenol does not affect hormone levels such as E2 (a type of estrogen) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), relieves various menopausal symptoms from hot flushes to mood swings, insomnia, and vaginal dryness, and improves the quality of life. can be improved [3-5].

Therefore, Pycnogenol can be taken by those who are sensitive to female hormones, and in other words, it is okay to take it together with female hormones prescribed by the hospital.
From antioxidants to skin health, Pycnogenol is an all-rounder. 

Then how can Pycnogenol help women's health during menopause without affecting female hormones? This is primarily because Pycnogenol improves blood circulation along with its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The relief of menopausal symptoms is the result of these actions.

The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Pycnogenol have been demonstrated in several studies. In particular, the antioxidant power of Pycnogenol is much better than that of typical antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C or vitamin E.  How powerful it is, when consumed by smokers exposed to large amounts of oxidative stress, blood oxidative stress is reduced and antioxidant function is improved [6], and when consumed by knee osteoarthritis patients, pain and physical function are improved and medication prescription is reduced [6]. 7] The results were also reported.  

It also has several benefits for vascular health Female hormones have cardiovascular protective effects such as gently relaxing blood vessels and controlling cholesterol. Therefore , before menopause, women have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than men, but after menopause, it shows a phenomenon that is similar or higher. Also called the guardian of vascular health, Pycnogenol plays a role in regulating risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It can increase HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, and lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol [8], and also help dilate blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide production [9]. In addition, it has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension [10]. 

It has also been found that it can help with the skin,  which is a concern for many menopausal women.  It was confirmed that intake of Pycnogenol suppressed the activity of enzymes that decompose collagen [11] and promoted collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis, improving skin moisture and elasticity [12].

Menopause, to be healthy...

Menopausal symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Some people go over lightly, but some people appeal to excruciating pain. Therefore, do not endure alone saying, “This is something that everyone else experiences,” and please see an obstetrician at least once. Timely hormone treatment not only helps menopause pass much more easily but also lowers the risk of various chronic diseases.

And along with hospital treatment, you should eat well and sleep well. The older we get, the more we crave sweet and salty foods. You should eat a well-balanced diet with good-quality proteins and fats. In particular, to prevent osteoporosis, supplement calcium and vitamin D, which are easy to be deficient, through nutritional supplements.  Also, it is good to get some exercise while getting out in the sun during the day for a good night's sleep. Nevertheless, if it is difficult to sleep due to severe sleep disorders, or if feelings of anxiety or depression persist, it is recommended that you consult a psychiatrist at the same time. Don't be too afraid to go to the hospital.

Lastly, as a woman who went through menopause before becoming a doctor, I would like to say something. As the human lifespan increases, the time after menopause also increases in a woman's life. The average age of menopause for women is 49-50 years old, so in the upcoming 100-year-old era, life after menopause will account for half of it. So please, I hope you can fill this time with encouragement and support for yourself rather than a sense of loss.  I will work even harder. 

If you have any questions, please contact us anytime. Thank you for always.

Esther Lyuh, Doctor of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University
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