In this episode, I am digging into important minerals to consider for midlife women. There are five common mineral imbalances that I tend to see in perimenopausal and menopausal women. These are not always the case, but the majority of midlife women that I’ve worked with fall into this category. I’m going to break down each one and how they can impact symptoms and health concerns women experience during menopause as well. If you want to get access to the bonus episode I did for menopause and tools that can help, you can join me over on patreon.com/hormonehealingrd.
Quick reminder, this podcast is for informational purposes only. Please talk with your healthcare provider before making any nutrition or lifestyle changes.
This episode covers:
Amanda Montalvo [00:00:01]:
Welcome to the are you menstrual? Podcast, where we dive deep into all things women’s health to support you on your healing journey. I’m Amanda Montalbo functional and integrative dietitian, also known as the hormone healing Rd. If you enjoyed this podcast and you want to keep learning, check out the podcast Patreon, where I share a bonus episode with additional downloadable resources each week. You can go to Patreon.com forward slash Hormone Healing Rd or check out the link in the Show Notes. All right, we have another menopause episode. I’m excited to dig into this one. In this episode, I’m going to be specifically talking about five common mineral imbalances that I typically see during menopause or like perimenopause midlife women. We’ll say, I feel like that’s like an easier category.
Amanda Montalvo [00:00:51]:
And there’s five of them. It’s excess calcium, low magnesium, low sodium, low potassium, and excess iron. So that’s why I said imbalances, because I’m like if they’re not all deficiencies, they’re just like, we don’t want minerals to be high or low. We want them to be right in that perfect even middle. So these are the five common imbalances that I tend to see. Last week I talked about how to thrive during menopause. So if you’re just finding me now and this is topic is of interest to you, make sure you listen to that episode too. Because that goes more into the four main areas that I really like to focus on for any woman that is either going through menopause, post menopause or if you’re trying to prepare I get that question a lot.
Amanda Montalvo [00:01:37]:
Like how can I prepare myself for a good transition through menopause and thyroid health, which I talked about a ton, optimizing your nutrition, looking at supporting your adrenals, looking at your stress, how you’re living in your day to day. And then I shared my three daily habits that if I could have the majority of midlife women implement, those would be the three that they would do because I think they’ll give them the most bang for their buck. So definitely listen to that episode if you have not already. I also did a bonus for that Inside Patreon, where I shared three really helpful tools. One has to do more with hormones, one has to do more with sleep, because that was a topic that was heavily requested, was like, what do I do if I’m really struggling with sleep? And I went through areas that you want to dig into because it can be a lot of different things for anyone, but I would say especially midlife women because it’s always blamed on hormones, but it’s not just hormones. And then finally I talked about excess iron and what you can do about that and how you can support your body and either avoid it good habits to get into, or address it if it comes up. So that bonus episode is Inside Patreon.com hormonehealingrd. The link is always in the Show Notes as well.
Amanda Montalvo [00:02:54]:
And before I dig into the first one, excess calcium, I just want to remind you, as always, this episode is for informational purposes only. Please talk with your healthcare provider before making nutritional lifestyle changes, especially because I’m talking about specific imbalances. And you might not know if you have these. So you can of course, ask for testing. Partner with your provider. Don’t just go along with everything. Really share your concerns. I think a lot of them like that, even if it’s maybe not the labs that they want to do or something that they might understand.
Amanda Montalvo [00:03:27]:
But I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences recently with clients and really great physicians like doctor or PA. And I’m like, wow, this is really usually it’s the opposite. So I was like, this is really great. This is kind of like lifting my spirits and making me hope that there’s a lot of really good providers out there. Okay, so first one, we’re going to talk about excess calcium, which could be very confusing if you are a midlife woman or if you’re a practitioner listening. And pretty much everyone tells midlife women to get on a calcium supplement, right? That’s very common. And I talk about this in the supplements that can do more harm than good episode. Calcium supplements are just not my fave.
Amanda Montalvo [00:04:12]:
They can cause calcification. For midlife women, we’re already worried about calcification. We don’t want to make that worse. And it’s tricky because it’s like, well, we want to prevent bone loss. Or maybe someone has an osteopenia diagnosis, osteoporosis, something like that. And they’re trying to correct that. Then I understand where the thought comes from with the calcium. But the question is, it’s not just like a calcium issue, right? Typically, the bone loss is a result of hormonal shifts like estrogen dropping, right? Your ovaries are no longer making estrogen.
Amanda Montalvo [00:04:48]:
And so the solution is not to just automatically give calcium. You want to understand what’s causing that bone issue. And the last imbalanced, excess iron we’re going to talk about is a huge root cause of that, but also mineral deficiencies in general, right? So if we see high calcium on a hair test, it doesn’t always mean you need less calcium. I would say definitely no calcium supplements because we don’t want to make that calcification worse. And supplements can do that. But like, calcium rich foods, they’re not going to cause calcification. And I have a calcium deep dive if you’re like. I want to learn more about this.
Amanda Montalvo [00:05:24]:
Listen to the calcium deep dive. But if we’re seeing that high calcium, that means that the calcium is leaving the bones in the teeth, which is what we absolutely do not want for bone health, right? Number one, but also because that high calcium then slows down our metabolism. And I talked about this when I talked about thyroid in the previous episode, where when we have a slower metabolism, this means that how we convert our food into energy slows down, which slows down all the systems in our body. So digestion. So that’s why there’s a lot of indigestion, bloating reflux, things like that, detoxification hormone production, which has already slowed down for this population, right? So that’s a huge concern. Stress response. Everything becomes compromised when our metabolism slows down. So high calcium, very big concern.
Amanda Montalvo [00:06:17]:
That’s why I think we always need to be careful with calcium supplementation and demand labs and say, I just want to make sure this is a good fit for me. It’s okay to ask that, and it’s very reasonable, too, especially if you’re someone that’s researching and really cares about your health. I don’t think that’s too big of an ask. The issue with blood work is that you can have normal calcium in your blood because remember, your body is going to very tightly regulate your blood values. They keep them in a tight range, but on your hair test, you’ll see him bounces on a hair test way before you see him in your blood. But I have had plenty of clients where they had really high calcium on a hair test, and it was also a little bit high in their blood. So definitely want to make sure we are appropriately supplementing with calcium, asking for lab work and just having an understanding of like, hey, I could have this imbalance if I have bone health issues. I want to take a holistic approach, which would involve looking at iron, which we’ll talk about, and magnesium.
Amanda Montalvo [00:07:17]:
And that’s the next imbalance we’re going to talk about. And another very common one when it comes to the midlife, especially post menopause population. So things that can happen when our metabolism slows down, just kind of like equating this to issues in midlife weight gain, Bloating, water retention, fatigue, constipation. Those are some of the most common ones that I see in practice. High calcium also tends to lead to blood sugar disturbances. So if you listen to the calcium deep dive from last season, I think it was, it can give us a tendency to have lower blood sugars, which will eventually lead to more release of stress hormones and higher blood sugars. It’s pretty much just a blood sugar roller coaster, which we already are trying to avoid during menopause, always, but especially during menopause, because we’re trying to support healthy Adrenals, because our Adrenals are the only thing really making hormones at this time. And if our blood sugar is up and down, that’s going to put a lot more of a burden on your Adrenals, which will put more of a burden on your hormone symptoms and more of a burden on your metabolism.
Amanda Montalvo [00:08:27]:
So blood sugar is a really big one to focus on. It just can be difficult if you have this imbalance happening. So definitely something that if you are struggling with weight, sleep issues, weight gain, constipation, bloating I would definitely consider hair tissue mineral analysis because that’s going to give you a really good look at your calcium. And then excess calcium can negatively impact our thyroid’s ability to do its job. So thyroid hormone can have a hard time binding when calcium is in excess. It also leads to issues with iodine. And iodine is how we make thyroid hormone. When we look at thyroid hormone free T four and free T three, free T four has four iodine molecules, free T three has three.
Amanda Montalvo [00:09:10]:
So iodine very important for thyroid function. And if we have this really high calcium, it can make it difficult for that thyroid hormone to get inside the cell and also to attach the thyroid hormone receptors to do its job. So, again, thyroid so important. It’s very similar to metabolism, right? Because our thyroid sets the metabolic pace of our body. And so if we are not able to have a good, healthy metabolic pace and that slows down, then everything else is going to be chaotic and we get hormonal, chaos, dysfunction, all that stuff. So really, if we want to support thyroid, we do need to definitely address any calcium issues. So there’s a lot of different root causes for high calcium. On a hair test, a very common one is magnesium deficiency, which is our next imbalance.
Amanda Montalvo [00:09:57]:
But I also think it has just a lot to do with stress, right? Because what depletes, magnesium, stress and many other minerals. But once we get that magnesium deficiency happening, then we typically get a calcium loss. And then eventually we’re going to have both low calcium and magnesium. And a lot of midlife women are also recommended to supplement with that calcium, like I mentioned before. So it’s one of those things where we just want to make sure that it’s appropriate, can lead to more calcification and make the imbalance worse. And then it’s hard because you’re trying to do the right thing and then you’re feeling frustrated because you’re not getting the results you want. Maybe you’re feeling worse or you’re not noticing any positive changes. So it’s something where I’m like, even though it’s a very commonly recommended supplement, I just say you should always know why you’re taking something, and there should always be a good reason for it, and you should know when to start it, when to stop it.
Amanda Montalvo [00:10:51]:
How do you know if maybe you shouldn’t continue taking it? It should be very clear. Even though it’s a supplement and not a medication, it can still cause issues in the body. And I always like to keep that really holistic view of bone health where it’s like it’s not just calcium. There’s so many other minerals in our bones. Phosphorus is another big one. I tend to see low phosphorus in a lot of women, especially midlife women, because digestion slows down. And if we are not digesting our proteins well, then that’s going to lead to low phosphorus. Or if we’re just not eating enough protein, which is very common as well.
Amanda Montalvo [00:11:23]:
But magnesium we need for bone health, especially calcium, of course. But then if we have that excess iron, it can basically stop any new bone from being made. So always want to take that holistic view. We don’t want to isolate things and keep it in context to yourself. So that’s our first imbalance, excess calcium. The best way to look at that is through hair tissue mineral analysis. That’s my favorite way to test. Low.
Amanda Montalvo [00:11:49]:
Magnesium is our second imbalance, and this is a very common one, especially midlife women. Especially if, like I mean, I just think about magnesium supplements are really common now, but I think about my parents and just, like people I have in my life that have either gone through menopause or close to that transition. A lot of them weren’t taking magnesium. They didn’t think that they needed to. So I just think it’s very common and easy to be depleted in magnesium. It’s hard to get from food because our soil is not the greatest, and there’s just, like, not super high levels of it in food. So a lot of people will typically need to supplement magnesium, and it gets depleted through stress. And by the time you’ve reached midlife, you’ve probably had a lot of stress in your life at that point.
Amanda Montalvo [00:12:38]:
And so especially for this population, why is this low magnesium a concern? I talked about bone health already because it’s really important for keeping calcium in balance, and we also have a lot of magnesium in our bones, so very important for bone health. It’s really important for heart health. And heart disease is a huge issue for this population, especially once we no longer have those hormones being made and protecting us from heart disease. So magnesium is very important for heart health. It supports healthy heart function. It helps to stabilize the membranes of our heart cells, prevents blood clotting, and it keeps those heart rhythms steady. I have a lot of clients that are on blood pressure medications. Once they kind of go through that menopause season, it’s not always, like, right away.
Amanda Montalvo [00:13:28]:
I feel like it’s like there’s, like a timeline. I feel like it’s, like three to five years once they are post menopause, three to five years, that’s when things kind of start to if you’re not addressing it and they’re not working on specific things, that’s when they can really get symptomatic again. And they’re kind of like, I thought I already went through all this already. But magnesium is very important for heart health. Potassium is too. It’s really important for blood pressure. And a lot of blood pressure meds are actually increasing how much potassium you’re retaining in the body. So it’s improving your potassium levels, and that is what helps manage your blood pressure.
Amanda Montalvo [00:14:06]:
So just eat more potassium rich foods, but we’ll talk about potassium. But magnesium is also very important for heart health. It’s important for detoxification. If maybe your body you’re trying to get rid of heavy metals, maybe you are just thinking detoxification. In general, we need magnesium to make ATP the body’s main fuel source. It’s also really important for detoxing estrogen, which you might think, but I’ll have less estrogen because my ovaries aren’t making it anymore, but we still want to detox it well. So that is something that is still very important. And I’ve had clients that have gone through menopause.
Amanda Montalvo [00:14:42]:
Maybe they’ve still done a Dutch test because they have a history of, like, breast cancer or something. And even though they’re not actively making estrogen, they want to see how they’re detoxing that estrogen or if they’re on HRT hormone replacement therapy. It can be really helpful to monitor with Dutch testing to see what pathway that estrogen is going down and making sure it’s not going down, a pathway that’s going to create really inflammatory estrogen compounds. So magnesium is very important for healthfully detoxing estrogen, which still matters even if you are postmenopausal. Thyroid health is essential for healthy hormones, digestion energy and more. Our thyroid is so important because it sets the metabolic pace of our body, which controls how every single system functions. Whether you think you may have some thyroid dysfunction going on based on symptoms you may have or have a confirmed diagnosis, chances are you haven’t been given the best tools to address your thyroid health. I’ve been there.
Amanda Montalvo [00:15:39]:
Thyroid is a big part of my health journey and something I’ve been optimizing for the last decade. I’m very passionate about this topic, which is why I created a free thyroid training that walks you through how to assess thyroid health. All the labs I do cover blood work and what the optimal ranges are. I just want to say that I think we have to look beyond blood work when it comes to assessing our thyroid health. That’s why I also cover hair mineral testing, urine testing, and then basal body temperature, which is a measurement you can do at home to assess your thyroid health. I’ve had so many people reach out and say they can’t believe that this training is free. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I also cover nutrition tips for optimizing thyroid health.
Amanda Montalvo [00:16:20]:
You can head to the link in the show Notes or to my website, hormonehealingrd.com, to watch the training. There’s just so much lacking when it comes to helpful info on thyroid health. So I’m really hoping that this training helps you and fills that gap. And then we need magnesium to help reduce stress. It helps support the sympathetic nervous system. And again, if we’re thinking of supporting our adrenals, magnesium is a big part of that. It helps calm our adrenals. And when we’re under stress, we lose magnesium.
Amanda Montalvo [00:16:50]:
But if we have a magnesium deficiency, then that also increases our stress. It’s very similar to sodium. Magnesium deficiency increases the body’s sympathetic nervous system because it’s like, wait, we don’t have enough magnesium, which makes it difficult to respond to stress. So the body gets put into fight or flight. Same thing with sodium. So we need to have enough of these minerals so that we’re not further depleting our minerals and stressing out our body. It’s also really important for muscle relaxing and sleep, which a lot of women in this season of life struggle with, and then blood sugar balance. Of course, magnesium is important for supporting the insulin sensitivity of our cells.
Amanda Montalvo [00:17:31]:
So if you don’t have as much magnesium, you can be less sensitive to that insulin, which makes it a lot easier to gain weight. And that’s another issue that most women are trying to avoid or improve during this time. So you can be thinking like, oh my gosh, I’m going to run out and take a magnesium supplement, but we’re going to talk about sodium and potassium next. And I always recommend focusing on those two first, because a lot of the times if you have low magnesium, you probably have low sodium. And it’s really hard to increase sodium when you’re supplementing with magnesium because magnesium, it decreases how much we absorb and retain of sodium. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you have healthy sodium levels, but if you’re already very depleted, it just can make it difficult to increase your overall levels. So you can do like a topical magnesium. Maybe you do like a spray or an Epsom salt bath.
Amanda Montalvo [00:18:27]:
Maybe you do a lower dose of an oral magnesium. I don’t think like 200 milligrams is going to really prevent make it long term, difficult long term for you to increase sodium levels. But don’t just run out and start taking like 1000 milligrams of magnesium a day because it might not actually help and it could cause more issues with sodium. And that’s one we’re going to talk about next. And again, this is a hard one, kind of like excess calcium, because all I think about this population is the recommendations they’re getting from their doctors and how they’re like, avoid salt. Avoid salt, right. Or even just growing up, I think of that’s definitely something that my parents were for sure, I mean, even me, where it was kind of ingrained in you at a young age or what was considered healthy at the time. But sodium in general is so important for something called cell permeability, and that is how things can pass through to our cells.
Amanda Montalvo [00:19:27]:
So that’s hormones, right? So it can make it harder for hormones to get into cells and do their jobs. It can make it harder for nutrients like vitamins and minerals to get into the cells and do their jobs. And so when we have low levels, typically from long term chronic stress, and probably if you have like a history of avoiding salt, something like that, that can actually increase insulin resistance and then lead to more stress in the body. So if we have more insulin resistance, then we’re going to have more blood sugar swings, right? More ups and downs means more stress on our adrenals, which typically all this is going to equate to weight gain, more hot flashes, more significant mood changes, more hormone problems, things like that. And so this is why sodium is so important now. Especially like if you’re not eating processed foods, right, then it’s like, where are you getting your sodium? Are you adding sea salt to your meals? I would say that’s when we really want to make sure that we’re salting our food, right, that’s very important. Are you craving salt? That’s a big sign from your body that you probably have some sort of an imbalance there. But just remembering that low sodium is a stress on the body because just like magnesium, it’s going to turn on that sympathetic nervous system and then your body’s in that fight or flight.
Amanda Montalvo [00:20:46]:
Even if you’re trying to do all the other good things that we’re working on, especially I talked about in the previous episode to support yourself during this time. It just can take away from that. So we want to make sure that we have enough sodium. Sea salt is typically the way you’re going to get this. Ideally, I’m not recommending we eat like a bunch of processed foods with sodium. I’m recommending like, we salt our food at meals. And then if you’re craving salt, maybe you add a little additional. Or if you’ve done some testing and you’re like, I need more salt, just slowly emphasis on the slow, increase it, I would say, especially for this population because oftentimes we have issues with thyroid.
Amanda Montalvo [00:21:27]:
Like maybe you have some optimal thyroid health if you also have a potassium deficiency. That’s one we’re going to go through next. It is very common to have both low sodium and low potassium and low magnesium. Then typically what can happen is that you get a lot of fluid retention, which is what we do not want, right? That’s not fun for anyone. So if you can slowly increase both salt and potassium, then that is a great way to avoid that. Typically if you’re getting that fluid retention because you don’t have enough potassium, whether it’s levels in your body or in your diet, and then that causes more fluid retention. If we have a nice balance between these two minerals, then we can avoid that. So sodium very important.
Amanda Montalvo [00:22:18]:
Nourishes, our cells helps support healthy blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance, balances fluids in the body, and we need it for stomach acid. And that is a huge issue that I see with this population, is reflux or just not digesting animal proteins well, or just like not digesting their food in general well, like experiencing a lot of bloating. Okay, so then the next one is low potassium. Again, this typically goes hand in hand with low sodium. Potassium is like one of my favorite minerals to start people off with supporting through food because pretty much everyone needs it. And it’s one where I don’t think you need to do lab testing to increase potassium from food sources, right? Especially when we’re getting it from food and not a supplement. You’re not going to overdo potassium that way. And it’s one that can be really helpful for all women, but I think especially the midlife women, because it can help support blood sugar, it can help support the uptake of thyroid hormone, which is really important for this population.
Amanda Montalvo [00:23:22]:
I think that most people have suboptimal thyroid function by the time they’re at midlife, if not before, and it can help balance out that sodium. So if you are someone that is slowly increasing your sodium because of low levels, trying to support digestion, stomach acid production, things like that, then balancing it with potassium is going to help you avoid that fluid retention. Other things that potassium is important. It’s important for heart health and blood pressure. So I just think I have family members where I’m just like, you’re taking this blood pressure med that retains increases your potassium levels. I’m like, have you tried eating more potassium rich foods? That could be really helpful for you because they’ll complain about taking a medication, they don’t want to take it. I’m like, well, you can’t not take it because you have high blood pressure and you’d have to talk with your doctor first. And their solution is like some sort of extreme diet.
Amanda Montalvo [00:24:16]:
And I’m like, that’s probably not going to raise your potassium levels. If we look at what the medication does and then look at how could we do that with your diet, it would be to increase potassium rich foods because again, that will help balance out sodium and excrete sodium and so that can help manage healthy blood pressure. So it’s really important for heart health, nerve and muscle activity, for balancing fluids. Like, I talked about having that nice balance of sodium and potassium to avoid fluid retention. It transports nutrients into the cells, hormones into the cells, like thyroid hormone, and really important for digestive activity. So, like motility of our gut, movement of our gut. And I do find this population tends to struggle with constipation pretty significantly, like across the board. And that is one where if you are not getting enough potassium in your diet, you can have less optimal motility.
Amanda Montalvo [00:25:13]:
So, like, slower movement of your intestines and then you’re not moving the food through to eventually have a bowel movement. And one of my favorite ways to support, reduce constipation, support healthy bowel movements, is to increase potassium in the diet. And sometimes it’ll just be like we’re just looking for a quick, easy way. Coconut water is a great way to do that. It’s easy. Most people don’t mind the taste and then they’ll feel really good and hydrated. But that increase in potassium can also stimulate that gut movement, which can then help you have a bowel movement or things like aloe vera juice. Another really easy one.
Amanda Montalvo [00:25:50]:
And it’s really helpful for reducing inflammation in the gut, which most of the time, if we’ve had constipation for many years, we probably have some imbalances in inflammation in the gut as well. So that could be a really healing one to consider. But just in general, supporting potassium really great if you’re struggling with constipation, especially if you likely have a deficiency if you are midlife. And then it’s nice for blood sugar because like I said in the previous episode, as estrogen decreases, our insulin sensitivity is typically also going to decrease. And that’s why if we can prioritize potassium rich foods, that potassium will help shuttle that glucose inside the cell and make it so that we are hopefully reducing that insulin resistance. So potassium very important, very easy to get from food. Of course, it’s found in carbohydrate rich foods like root vegetables and winter squash and fruit. It’s pretty much found in all fruit, but you can also get it in meat.
Amanda Montalvo [00:26:52]:
Seafood, like salmon has a ton of potassium. And it’s funny because I was talking to someone, they’re like, I’m just craving salmon lately, and I don’t even usually like it. And we did our hair test, and she was really low on potassium. I’m like, maybe your body really wants that potassium. And iodine, probably you can get a ton in seafood meat. You can also find it in dairy. So it’s in most foods. If you’re prioritizing whole foods, whole food, carb sources, animal proteins, that’s like a great way to increase potassium right off the bat.
Amanda Montalvo [00:27:25]:
And then if you want to take it a step further, like coconut water, you can put a little pinch of sea salt in there to keep the sodium and potassium balanced. Great way to stay hydrated, especially in the warmer months if you’re sweating a lot. Also great if you have constipation or like that aloe vera juice, just make sure it’s the inner leaf, aloe vera. It’s much gentler on your digestive system. And I would only try like an ounce or two to start because for some people it works very quickly. Others, they do fine with like three to 4oz daily, and they have regular bowel movements. But those are like the big ones that I’d be using hair tissue mineral analysis to assess. So excess calcium, low magnesium, low sodium, low potassium.
Amanda Montalvo [00:28:08]:
And then the last one is excess iron. And this is one that I feel like, again, a lot of women are recommended to take iron supplements. And when we think about it, it’s like, well, you’re no longer bleeding. Once you’ve gone through menopause, if you’re perimenopausal, your cycles are probably longer, so you’re probably bleeding less frequently. And what’s typically happening is hormones like magnesium are going down, right? And then iron is going up because there’s no way to get rid of that iron. And women absorb more iron than men. Although I would say midlife men also need to be concerned with their iron status and having too much iron as well. It’s one of the first things I check in men that are older that are having pretty much any issue, like we need to look at your iron.
Amanda Montalvo [00:28:59]:
But that is one thing where we can accumulate more iron. And as our protective anti inflammatory minerals like magnesium decrease, iron increases because we’re no longer getting rid of it. Also because we are having those hormonal shifts, right? Basically, we can absorb more iron when certain hormones are low or high. And so the hormonal shifts typically lead to even more absorption of iron. We don’t have bleeding anymore to get rid of it. And then our thyroid health is often declining at this time. And our thyroid is really important for making bioavailable copper. So copper that’s just in a usable form, the protein is called ceruloplasmin.
Amanda Montalvo [00:29:41]:
You don’t really need to know that. But in order to make that ceruloplasm, that copper that we can take and use, that takes iron and moves it around in the body. Because if you haven’t listened to my Iron Deep dive episodes, we all have an innate iron recycling system in the body. Iron can’t just hang it out. It can’t hang out in the blood. It’s too inflammatory, it’s oxidative. And so we have to store it in tissues and then move it around to different parts as needed. And ceruloplasm is a really big part of that movement.
Amanda Montalvo [00:30:11]:
And so if we cannot make ceruloplasmics, we don’t have enough thyroid hormone because our thyroid function has declined, then typically it’s going to lead to a buildup of iron in the tissues and just in general. And so the hormone shifts, the thyroid dysfunction declining and then not getting rid of iron. It’s like a recipe for increasing iron levels in the body. And then if you are someone that also depending on your health history, like women with PCOS, they tend to make less of a protein that can impact our iron stores. And so if you are you don’t just get rid of PCOS, right, you can still have imbalances in the body. That of course can affect not only your transition to menopause, but also your health after you’ve made that transition. And so that’s one where it’s very important to pay attention to your iron status, especially if you have bone health concerns. I cannot tell you how many clients I’ve had that have had osteopenia or they get a scan done by their doctor and their bone density has decreased.
Amanda Montalvo [00:31:18]:
They’re worried about it and they’ve never assessed their iron status. And I’m like, this is insane. And then we run their iron labs and they have high iron, but they’ve never had it historically. So they’re kind of like, I didn’t even think to check for iron because maybe they were anemic when they were younger or they always like, previously they needed to take iron supplements to keep their Iron labs in a good place. But now it’s like things have shifted, they’re different. And so assessing your Iron status, I would do this annually if you are going through menopause, if you have already gone through it, or really all women. But this is something that I would definitely monitor annually. And so I would ask for a total iron level, a TIBC iron saturation, and then Ferritin.
Amanda Montalvo [00:32:07]:
Those would be the four big ones. If you can get them to look at your copper levels, your ceruloplasm and your vitamin A, that’s also really great. But I would say those four, the big ones, I talk more about ways you can support that inside the Patreon bonus episode. But Iron is a very important thing to monitor as you age. You’re no longer getting rid of it. You’re not bleeding anymore. And so you can definitely accumulate it. It can stop that bone remodeling.
Amanda Montalvo [00:32:35]:
It inhibits the new creation of bone and is a big contributor to bone loss, along with, of course, the decreasing estrogen levels and often the shifts in our minerals. Right. Remember that magnesium deficiency can drive calcium out of the cells and out of the bones and teeth, and that can also contribute to bone loss. So it’s not just as simple as, like, bone loss equals we need more calcium, we need to take a bigger look at it. And same thing with her health in general. When we’ve reached this point, whether you’re transitioning or you’re already transitioned through menopause, we still want us to look at thyroid health. We don’t just want to measure sex hormones or just focus on increasing sex hormones. Because even if you’re taking HRT, if your adrenals are stressed, not working well, if your thyroid is not functioning well, then you’re probably not even going to process those hormones super well and see all the benefits because just taking estrogen progesterone doesn’t automatically increase your metabolism.
Amanda Montalvo [00:33:31]:
Right? And that’s a huge part of the issue for many of women that are in this season of life. So those are the five common imbalances that I typically see in the menopausal population and things that I would definitely look into. Whether you’re wanting to ease your transition, you’re going through it right now or you’ve already gone through it, I think these are important areas to address. You can get hair tissue mineral testing through my Master Minerals course. I have a lesson on menopause, and I have a ton of women that have gone through that season of life that are inside the course. So it’s not just for cycling women. We have a ton of post menopause as well. So that’s how you can do the hair testing.
Amanda Montalvo [00:34:10]:
Then, of course, you can ask your doctor. Here’s the list of labs that I would like to look at for my Iron status. I just want to keep a good eye on it and yeah, and you can check out Patreon for the bonus episode, Patreon.com slash Hormonehealingrd. And the next few episodes I’m going to be doing case studies with my nutritionist, Erin, and we’re going to break down a thyroid case, a gut health case, and then a fatigue like energy case. And we’re going to go through their hair tests, their health history and just talk about what they came to us with, what we did to support them, what their labs told us, and it’s going to be very fun. So definitely look forward to those and I will talk to you in the next episode. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast. If you want to support my work, please leave a review and let me know how you like the episode.
Amanda Montalvo [00:35:00]:
This lets me know what you guys want more of less of. I read every single one and I appreciate them more than you know. If you want to keep learning, you can get access to the bonus episode and additional resources on Patreon.com Hormonehealingrd. I’d love to have you in there. Thanks again and I will see you in the next episode.