A woman's brain uses estrogen to balance food intake with energy output—and to tell fat where to go. That's why women not only gain weight after menopause, but also why the weight they gain goes to the wrong places, suggest Deborah J. Clegg, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati.
Clegg and colleagues used female rats, silencing estrogen receptors from a specific part of the brain that controls food intake, energy expenditure and fat distribution.
What happened? The rats' bodies slowed down. They had less energy. And they began to gain weight, even though they weren't given any extra food.
Moreover, the rats put on belly fat—fatty tissue around the abdominal organs—the most dangerous kind of fat. It's linked to heart disease and diabetes.
"Women are protected from these negative consequences as long as they carry their weight in their hips and saddlebags," Clegg says in a news release. "But when they go through menopause and the body fat shifts to the abdomen, they have to start battling all of these medical complications."
Some physicians suspect—and many women experience—that by using Bio-identical hormone replacement you can reduce a menopausal woman's tendency to gain weight. This is in addition to the other benefits of improved energy, sleep and perhaps anti-aging.
Though there is a lot of misinformation among physicians and the media about hormone replacement therapy (likely largely driven by financial factors), bio-identical hormone replacement can be very health promoting, while the synthetics normally used by doctors (because they were patentable and therefore made a lot of money for the drug companies) are dangerous.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.