Whether you’ve always had a great memory or not, during perimenopause you may sense a shift in your short term memory and have the general feeling of “what was I just saying?” brain fog at times.
Whilst society makes fun of our forgetfulness, it can feel pretty scary at times. You may even worry you’re losing your mind.
So why the heck do these memory issues happen?
The menopause transition can start in our mid 30s and this change to our oestrogen levels causes a system wide shift in our endocrine system, including in our brain. In fact, a 2021 study showed that during our menopause transition we experience changes in our brain’s structure, energy consumption and connectivity.
Jeez, it sounds serious, hey?
Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that female brains are brilliant and we have the ability to create a new normal after menopause when all the hormonal changes have happened.
Also, aside from hormonal changes, we need to be mindful that our gut and liver health affects our cognition and be proactive about this too. My colleague Karin Reiter has a phenomenal online course on gut health I highly recommend.
Before sharing on steps to support your brain health, I want to talk about an essential practical tip that is often ignored.
When you forget your thoughts mid-sentence or why you walked into the kitchen, self-kindness is key. When you get flustered or start berating yourself, your cortisol levels rise which further blocks our brain receptors and memory. Making the whole situation way worse! So, please, please, say kind things to yourself in your head through the menopause transition.
The great news is there is soooo much that can be done to support your brain health. As you know I’m all about the easy and affordable ways to great health, so here are 3 easy things you can try today:
· Meditation – given the number of studies (including this one and this one) on the benefits of meditation to our brain and overall health, we are way beyond viewing meditation as just woo-woo
· Exercise, in particular strength training, protects the brain. Many people have been less active over the last 2 years with their gym or regular exercise class not being available and it could be one of the reasons you memory is just not what it use to be
· Magnesium is incredible for our brain and whole nervous system (you can READ MORE HERE) with studies showing Magnesium L-Threonate being particular powerful
Want to learn more about brain health?
I love Dr Mosconi’s Tedtalk and her fab book The XX Brain, as well as Dales Bredesen‘s series of books – his latest one is The Survivors of Alzheimer (yes, you read that right, Dr Bredesen believes we can reverse Alzheimers!). Also, the Women’s Brain Health Initiative has lots of fascinating information on this important topic.