What-is-perimenopause-and-what-are-the-symptoms

What is (peri)menopause and which changes occur?

What is (peri)menopause and which changes occur?

January 4th, 2023

Menopause leads to changes in women’s bodies and marks the end of the childbearing years. It involves hormonal changes that can lead to both physical and mental symptoms that are better known as menopause symptoms. Because menopause does not occur overnight, a distinction is made between the period called perimenopause and the period that comes after, namely (post)menopause. Each of these periods comes with their own issues and symptoms.

What-is-perimenopause-and-what-are-the-symptoms

What is menopause?

Menopause is marked by the moment that no menstruation has occurred for at least 12 months. This occurs on average when women are between 45 to 55 years of age. However, this varies from woman to woman and depends on multiple factors.

Entering menopause is not an immediate process and does not happen overnight: it is a process that can last for years (1). For this reason we make a distinction between menopause and perimenopause.

What is perimenopause?

The explicit sign that menopause has started is the definitive cessation of menstruation. This does not occur suddenly, but after a long period of irregularity, which begins to manifest itself during perimenopause.

Perimenopause is the phase in which the first bodily changes related to menopause occur. These changes are evident signs of decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone. (2)

During perimenopause, estrogen deficiency occurs that can no longer be compensated by changes in ovarian hormone production. This decline in ovarian function is a characteristic trigger of natural menopause and because of it circulating estradiol levels will go down. This reduction in estradiol levels will prevent the ovulation from happening, which is thought to be the reason for irregular menstruation.

Postmenopause is the period that begins after 12 consecutive months without menstruation. From this moment on the discomforts related to (peri)menopause will become lighter.

What are the symptoms of perimenopause?

The hormonal changes associated with menopause can affect physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. The symptoms that are experienced during and after menopause vary greatly from one person to another.

While some women suffer few to no symptoms, others may experience severe symptoms affecting their daily activities and quality of life. In some cases, the symptoms may last for various years (3).

Symptoms of perimenopause

Symptoms that can occur during perimenopause include, but are not limited to:
Irregular menstruation cycle, this is a clear sign that hormones are starting to act up.

Menstruation that is heavier or lighter than normal, which indicates a change in hormonal balance

Weight gain, and a general accentuation of roundness can become a very delicate aspect to manage, also from an emotional point of view.

Changes in hair quality, most women find that their hair loses volume and length around menopause.

Headaches, the hormone changes that happen as women approach menopause mean that all types of headaches, including migraines, become more common.

Muscle aches, estrogen affects your cartilage (which is the connective tissue in joints) as well as the replacement of bone, this plays a part in inflammation and pain.

Bone issues, though it is less noticeable, bone health diminishes during menopause. For this reason, a lot of products exist to improve bone health during (peri)menopause.

Symptoms of (post)menopause

As stated before, after perimenopause starts the actual menopause, which brings its own types of symptoms. These symptoms include:

Night sweats and hot flashes are one of the most typical effects of hormonal imbalance. Many women experience such a sudden rush of feeling hot.

Anxiety or irritability. There are a lot of physical changes during menopause, but emotional changes often occur as well. This happens because the drop in estrogen and progesterone lead to a decrease in expression of several brain chemicals that make you feel calm, happy or energetic. This can cause women to feel anxious or irritable.

Mood swings also occur due to the hormonal changes. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone lead to fluctuations in other brain chemicals as well, leading to these mood swings.

Depression is a symptom that can occur during both perimenopause and menopause and is more severe compared to anxiety, irritability or mood swings. Changes in hormones might put women more at risk for depression and this also falls under the emotional changes during menopause.

Insomnia: overall studies show that women in menopause have more trouble with sleeping. These disturbance include difficulty getting to sleep, to stay asleep, early morning wakenings and problems with the overall quality of sleep.

Fatigue, Low energy is one common effects that many women experience before, during, and after this transition time. This often is a result of the sleeping problems described before, but has to do with the previously mentioned ‘energetic’ chemicals in your brain as well.

Dry skin, due to decreasing estrogen levels can become less supple, smooth, and soft. Fine wrinkles, dark spots, and less elasticity are usually not far behind.

Relieving symptoms of perimenopause and (post)menopause

Menopause is a period of hormonal changes marked by physical and emotional changes. A lot of people worry about this and it can be hard to experience these symptoms. For this reason, there are several ways to alleviate these symptoms. Of course, medicinal products are available, but natural ways to relieve symptoms exist as well. Changes in diet and physical activity could be a way to relieve symptoms associated with menopause.


three-laughing-women

New Open Label Study: Bonolive® shows increase in skin quality and menopause-related quality of life in postmenopausal women

New Open Label Study: Bonolive® shows increase in skin quality and menopause-related quality of life in postmenopausal women

Maastricht, The Netherlands, October 28th, 2022

Press release
BioActor recruited 23 Dutch and Italian postmenopausal women to assess their postmenopausal symptoms after 28 days of supplementation of Bonolive®. Self-assessed improvement of symptoms and skin quality were recorded after 14 days of supplementation. Symptoms such as feeling bloated, feeling anxious or nervous, mood swings and nail strength improved significantly, highlighting the effects of Bonolive® to benefit women’s health.

three-laughing-women

Postmenopausal symptoms and quality of life

During each woman’s life, many hormonal fluctuations occur, and they have an important impact on their quality of life. During and after menopause, these fluctuations can result in symptoms that can severely influence day-to-day tasks.

For many women, menopause-related symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, sweating, trouble sleeping, mood swings, irritability, skin dryness, and more. A lot of solutions are available, but an increasing number of women prefers a natural option to treat these postmenopausal symptoms.

Bonolive® is an olive leaf extract standardized for high oleuropein content, a powerful phytonutrient unique to the olive tree that offers a natural way in the management of menopause in its different phases.

The benefits of Bonolive® have been assessed in several clinical studies, which demonstrated its positive effect on bone, joint and cardiovascular health, as well as its strong antioxidant properties.

Open-label study in Post menopause women

Recently, BioActor has completed an open-label study on 23 postmenopausal women in the Netherlands and Italy, who consumed 250 mg of Bonolive® per day for 28 days.

In this open-label study, we aimed to investigate the short-term (28 days) effects of 250 mg/day Bonolive® supplementation on self-assessed postmenopausal symptoms in healthy post menopausal women (45 – 65 years). Participants were included in the study if they were healthy postmenopausal (i.e. no menstruation for at least 1 year) women with age between 45 and 65 years.

Study design open label study bonolive

The study results

Three times during the study (at baseline and at 14 and 28 days), participants had to complete an online questionnaire to self-assess their postmenopausal symptoms. After they filled in the questionnaire at baseline, they began their Bonolive® supplementation.

The results show that the participants experienced a significant improvement (P≤0.05) after 28 days of supplementation for specific postmenopausal symptoms: feeling bloated, feeling anxious or nervous, mood swings and night sweats. Furthermore, they indicated to notice and improvement in skin elasticity, skin hydration, nail strength and in energy and vitality.

* Sig (P≤0.05) compared to baseline.

 

Our consumer study demonstrates that short-term supplementation with 250 mg/day of Bonolive® results in significant beneficial effects on a wide range of post-menopausal symptoms. Therefore, we think that Bonolive® could be a meaningful addition to any nutritional supplement that aims to improve women’s quality of life during and after menopause.

After finishing her participation in the study one participant said:

“After Bonolive® supplementation, my skin is luminous and plumped too. My hair has fallen out less during this period. I would recommend Bonolive® to all my family and friends “

The participants reported that one of the advantages of Bonolive® is that it improved their skin quality and decreased their bloated feeling.

 

About BioActor

BioActor, based at the Maastricht Health Campus, Netherlands, is a life science company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & consumer health industries. The company focuses on the development of plant-based health ingredients for active living and healthy ageing. The goal is to provide the nutrition & consumer health industries with clinically tested innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact BioActor via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities Brainberry® has to offer.
Further information can be found on: www.bonolive.com and www.bioactor.com


Why-is-bone-health-important-and-how-does-it-work-(functions-bone-metabolism-and-influencing-factors)

Why is bone health important and how does it work? (functions, bone metabolism and influencing factors)

Why is bone health important and how does it work? (functions, bone metabolism and influencing factors)

July 4th, 2022

Our bones play various key functions for our bodies, and it is therefore important to maintain their health. To do so, it is essential to understand how our bones work and what factors affect bone health. Bone metabolism is a lifelong occurring process where bone tissue is turned over from mature to new bone tissue. This process keeps your bones healthy and their health is influenced by several aspects, such as age, gender, family history and several risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and diet.

Why-is-bone-health-important-and-how-does-it-work-(functions-bone-metabolism-and-influencing-factors)

Bone health, menopause, and dietary supplements

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation naturally occurring in females at an average age of 51 [1].

Importantly, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels and consequently increases bone loss. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for menstruation and known to have protective effects on bone loss and reduce inflammation.

Bone tissue in women is generally thinner than in men, and bone density has been reported to markedly decrease after menopause (post-menopause). Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in just 5-7 years due to these hormonal shifts and experience increased joint pain [2].

The rise in the use of dietary supplements, especially by post-menopausal women, who are at risk of bone loss, is growing tremendously as advances in research are made, and the benefits of multiple natural ingredients are proven [3].

How does bone metabolism work?

Bone metabolism, also known as bone remodelling, is a lifelong occurring process where bone tissue is turned over from mature to new bone tissue. Bone resorption is the process where mature bone tissue is removed by osteoclasts and ossification is the formation of new bone tissue executed by osteoblasts [4]. These processes are responsible for replacing and reshaping bone following injuries such as fractures, but also micro-damage occurring during normal activity.

In the early stages of life, nearly 100% of the skeleton is replaced, due to the bones needing to develop, lengthen and grow. While in adults, bone remodelling proceeds at about 10% yearly [5].

For as long as bone growth is greater than bone breakdown, adults are able to maintain healthy bones. Many living cells within bone originate from the same mesenchymal stem cell. These mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into the various cell types present in bone, such as osteoblasts (bone-building cells), adipocytes (fat cells) and chondrocytes (cartilage) [6].

However, due to stress, inflammation and ageing, this differentiation shifts towards producing more fat cells and fewer osteoblasts, resulting in more brittle and fatty bones [7]. Usually, bone mass starts to decline at the age of 40 as bone loss overtakes the speed of bone growth [8].

Fortunately, there are factors at play that we have control over to mitigate this bone loss.

What are the factors influencing bone health?

Although both our genes and the environment influence bone health, there is only one we have control over. Our genes, for example, determine whether signalling errors occur and lead to birth defects, while the extrinsic factors, such as lifestyle and diet, are crucial for optimising and maintaining bone health. Bone loss, also referred to as osteoporosis, affects people of all different ages and backgrounds. However, other intrinsic factors that are out of our control include:

Age: naturally as we grow older, our bone mass and strength decreases. This is mainly due to decreased osteoblast activity and an increase in osteoblast apoptosis, while inflammation increases [9,10].

Gender: osteoporosis is four times more common in women than men [11].

Body frame size: people with small body frames tend to have a higher risk of bone loss as they have less bone mass to draw from as they age.

Family history: having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk..

 

Fortunately, however, we do have the ability to modify extrinsic factors such as physical activity, diet choices and lifestyle choices. Here is how they can disturb bone health:

Tobacco use: smoking contributes to weak bones by disturbing the balance of bone turnover negatively.

Physical inactivity: just like muscles, bones gets stronger by exercising them. Resistance exercise and weight-bearing exercise help with this.

Alcohol use: alcohol interferes with the calcium balance and affects the production of hormones, linking chronic alcohol intake to an increase in bone fractures and falls.

Diet: foods high in calcium, and vitamin D such as dairy products and green leafy vegetables should be consumed in sufficient quantities to support the maintenance of bone health [12]. Additionally, polyphenols such as oleuropein can help mitigate bone loss, especially with age, through their anti-oxidative effects reducing inflammation [13].

If you want to know more about the crucial nutrients for bone health, click here and read our article on the 8 best ingredients.


Menopausal-bone-health

8 Ingredients proven to improve bone health during (post)menopause

8 Ingredients proven to improve bone health during (post)menopause

June 13th, 2022

Bone health is crucial to maintain, particularly after menopause. Consumption of dietary supplements, especially in post-menopausal women is on the rise, as advances in research are made and proven benefits are elucidated. Here we mention some of the ingredients that have demonstrated the ability to support women during menopause – specifically for the loss and maintenance of bone mineral density! You will also learn about which foods contain these ingredients, how they are beneficial to bone health and their recommended daily intake.

Menopausal-bone-health

Bone health, menopause, and dietary supplements

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation naturally occurring in females at an average age of 51 [1].

Importantly, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels and consequently increases bone loss. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for menstruation and known to have protective effects on bone loss and reduce inflammation.

Bone tissue in women is generally thinner than in men, and bone density has been reported to markedly decrease after menopause (post-menopause). Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in just 5-7 years due to these hormonal shifts and experience increased joint pain [2].

The rise in the use of dietary supplements, especially by post-menopausal women, who are at risk of bone loss, is growing tremendously as advances in research are made, and the benefits of multiple natural ingredients are proven [3].

8 ingredients to sustain bone health in menopause.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Calcium is a critical component of bone architecture necessary for the deposition of bone minerals. Around 99% of calcium is stored in bones and teeth, making them strong and hard [4].

Vitamin D is vital for regulating intestinal calcium absorption and stimulating bone resorption to maintain serum calcium concentration [5]. There are, however, substances that can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, such as oxalate, protein, phytate, and caffeine.

Examples of foods rich in calcium include dairy, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables. While the predominant way of ascertaining vitamin D is through our own body’s synthesis stimulated by sufficient sunlight exposure on our skin. Thus, supplementation of vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is advocated during autumn and winter due to limited sunlight availability, depending on geography.

Women under the age of 50 should consume a daily dosage of 1000mg of Calcium and 400-800IU Vitamin D, while women above the age of 50 should consume 1200mg of calcium and 800-1000IU of vitamin D daily [6].

Joint-health

Vitamin C, B9 and B12, K

Vitamin C is important in stimulating the differentiation of osteoblasts, cells that synthesize bone matrix and coordinate bone mineralization [7].

Antioxidant effects of vitamin C have also been reported to reduce bones from cell damage and may improve left ventricular diastolic function which menopausal women often experience a dramatic reduction in [8]. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.

Vitamin B9 (folate) and B12 are major determinants of homocysteine levels. Thus, a deficiency in vitamin B9 and B12 leads to increased homocysteine levels, which have been associated with impaired bone health and osteoporosis, a condition concerning weak and brittle bones [9].

Vitamin B9 and B12 have also been reported to assist with reducing the severity and duration of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [10]. Therefore, increasing folate and B12 levels through foods such as pulses, legumes, beans, brown rice and, you guessed it, leafy green vegetables, can improve bone health.

Moreover, vitamin K has been reported to assist with reducing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [11].

The recommended daily amount for adult women according to the National Institutes of Health for vitamin C is 75mg; for vitamin B9 is 400mcg DFE; for vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg and ultimately for vitamin K is 90mcg [12].

Quercetin

Quercetin is the bioactive compound abundantly found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and onions. Studies show that onions reduce bone loss due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoid, quercetin [13].

Quercetin inhibits the genesis and differentiation of osteoclasts, preserving bone mass and health. Bone mineral density in postmenopausal women has also been reported to improve when supplementing with onion juice [14].

Quercetin at a dose of 150 mg has been shown to improve bone-health metrics, which is around three servings of onion [15]. Note, quercetin is found in the pigment and outer layer of the onion, with red and yellow ones thus having higher concentrations.

Bonolive® (olive leaf extract 40% oleuropein)

Bonolive® is an ingredient derived from olive leaf and rich in the most abundant olive polyphenol, oleuropein, tailored to women to counteract bone loss risk associated with menopause.

Clinical research in post-menopausal women has demonstrated that 12 months of supplementation with 250mg of Bonolive® is able to increase osteocalcin levels by 32%, promote the activity of osteoblasts (the bone-building cells), and decrease osteoclast activity involved in the breakdown and resorption of bone [16,17]. Thus the clinical dosage of 250mg is recommended.

Bonolive-product

Moreover, after 12 months, the Bonolive® treatment group displayed a significant protection against bone loss, compared to the placebo group.

Additionally, chondrocytes, important for cartilage-building, are also increased while cartilage degeneration is inhibited through oleuropein. Further benefits can be ascribed to oleuropein’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oleuropein can be found in olive oil and olive leaf, although in limited quantities and therefore, supplementation with a high-quality, standardized extract such as Bonolive® is a more convenient method of consuming this nutrient in adequate quantities.

Improve bone health during menopause

In conclusion, a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, together with the right supplementations may help ameliorate bone health during menopause and promote healthy ageing and active living.


Improving bone health during menopause with Bonolive

Improving Bone Health During Menopause With Bonolive®

Improving Bone Health During Menopause With Bonolive®

February 3rd, 2022

The menopause transition is a critical period for bone health in women. More than ever, to address this key health concern, consumers are shifting away from calcium-only products and seeking out more complex formulas with clinically-backed ingredients.
Bonolive® is a patented ingredient rich in olive polyphenols that offers the possibility of formulating innovative bone health solutions tailored to women to counteract bone loss risk associated with menopause.

Improving bone health during menopause with Bonolive

Menopause transition and bone health

Healthy bones are needed to support our body, providing structure, allowing us to move and protect our organs. They also store essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, and release them into the blood whenever needed.

Bone health depends on a dynamic equilibrium maintained between the constant production of the new bone matrix via osteoblasts – the cells responsible for bone synthesis – and the resorption of old bone by osteoclast activity– the cells responsible for bone breakdown.

There are a lot of symptoms related to menopause, but did you know that the menopause transition is the most critical period for bone health in women? That’s because the fine equilibrium between bone breakdown and synthesis is broken due to hormonal changes.

The onset of the rapid bone loss phase is due to the drastic drop in estrogen levels, which play an important role in maintaining bone strength. This can result in bone resorption exceeding bone formation, leading to thin, fragile bones subject to spontaneous fracture.

Rapid losses in bone mass and strength usually occur in the 3-year window since the date of the final menstrual period [1].

Decreased levels of estrogen cause osteoprotegerin levels to decline. Osteoprotegerin is a protein secreted by osteoblasts, which antagonises the process of bone breakdown mediated by osteoclasts.

Therefore, with the lowered estrogen levels associated with menopausal changes, osteoclast activity increases leading to decreased bone mass and, in many cases, osteoporosis. This results in reduced bone strength and increased risk of fractures.

Although it is essential to build strong and healthy bones during the early stages of our lives, there are also important factors to take care of during adulthood, particularly during menopause, such as sufficient physical activity, proper nutrition and supplementation.

Traditional bone health management

With the world population getting older, bone health issues are increasing. In postmenopausal women, the prevalence of osteoporosis and osteopenia is estimated to be almost 20% and 52%, respectively [2].

Bone health is indeed a key concern for this vulnerable group. This reflects that 25% of women who use dietary supplements are already consuming products to support their bones and there are different ingredients that can be consumed to support bone health.

Over the last decade, supplementation with calcium and vitamin D and exercise has been the most used measure for preventing bone loss during menopause.

It is known that a sufficient calcium intake contributes to an increased bone density and Vitamin D is crucial for bone health because it plays a crucial role in calcium absorption [3].

While this strategy has proven marginal improvements, consumers are becoming more demanding. In fact, the popularity of innovative, nutraceuticals with a clinical back-up addressing bone health is growing.

Scientific evidence has shown that bone physiology can be modulated by phenolic compounds found in olives.

These powerful antioxidant compounds can indeed stimulate markers involved in osteoblast proliferation, differentiation, and maturation, and ultimately lead to a counteracting effect against bone loss risk.

What is Bonolive® and how does it support healthy bones?

Bonolive® is a patented, olive-polyphenol-based ingredient researched and developed by BioActor, with demonstrated efficacy in increasing bone formation in postmenopausal women.

Bonolive® is standardised for highly bioavailable oleuropein, the powerful phytonutrient deemed responsible for the increase in the number and activity of osteoblasts observed during BioActor’s research.

The randomised, double-blind clinical trial demonstrated that an intake of 250mg/day of Bonolive® is sufficient to re-balance the bone turnover [4].

Additionally, after 12 months, a 32% increase in osteocalcin was observed in the treatment group, compared to a 6% decrease in the placebo group.

Osteocalcin is a key component for building new bone, as it forms the scaffold for new bone tissue and binds calcium within a rigid structure.

The increase in osteocalcin is also reflected by the DEXA scan results, which show that subjects taking Bonolive®, displayed protection of bone mineral density at the lumbar spine and a higher gain of bone mineral density at the femur neck, compared to those taking placebo.

Opportunities for new product development with Bonolive®

As consumers are shifting away from calcium-only products and seek out more complex formulas with clinically-backed ingredients, Bonolive® offers the possibility of developing innovative consumer products specifically crafted to help women support healthy bones during menopause.

For a synergistic effect, Bonolive® can be successfully combined with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, as well as other vitamins, minerals and plant extracts.

This Mediterranean-inspired ingredient can be easily included in various dietary supplements, functional drinks and foods, with a daily dose of only 250mg.

Apart from innovative blends, further product development opportunities in this growing market lie in convenient formats like gummies and ready-to-drink beverages.