Six easy ways women can boost levels of magnesium and slash their risk of a heart attack, cure insomnia and boost their mood as survey reveals 11 per cent are lacking this vital nutrient. Fluctuating oestrogen in mid-life raises the risk of heart attacks and fractures Magnesium also helps to ease insomnia, as well as giving moods a boost.  Women on diets to counter menopausal weight gain may be missing out. Up levels by swapping rice for quinoa, and snacking on nuts and seeds. Adding spinach to smoothies also contributes to the recommended daily intake.   By Rob Hobson For Mailonline and Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline Magnesium reduces women’s risk of heart attacks and bone fractures as they go through the menopause, yet 11 per cent are lacking in this vital nutrient.  As well as hot flushes, women suffer fluctuating hormones levels in mid-life, putting them at risk of heart disease and bone fractures.  Despite magnesium supporting heart and bone health, as many as 11 per cent of menopausal women miss out on the nutrient’s health benefits, according to the UK Government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey. This is thought to be due to women undergoing restrictive diets to counter mid-life weight gain or simply not eating enough magnesium-rich pulses, nuts and green vegetables.  As well as risking long-term health complications, such women are also missing out on magnesium’s sleep-inducing and mood-boosting effects. In a piece for Get The Gloss, London-based registered nutritionist Rob Hobson explains how simply swapping rice for quinoa or throwing a handful of spinach in a smoothie could support women through the menopause. Snacking on nuts is one way menopausal women can boost their magnesium levels HOW TO BOOST MAGNESIUM LEVELS  Increase your magnesium intake by: Adding nuts and seeds to salads, yoghurts, porridge and stir frys. Eating oily fish once or twice a week. Making cashew milk by adding a handful of the nuts to 300ml of water. Throwing a handful of spinach or oats in smoothies Swapping rice for quinoa Taking a supplement  Why is magnesium so important?  Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is required for hundreds of enzymes to work properly.  It plays a vital role in muscle relaxation and supports the production of brain chemicals that control mood, alongside healthy blood pressure, glucose control, energy metabolism, bone health and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Magnesium can be particularly effective during the menopause, when oestrogen levels fluctuate.  Long-term this increases the risk of heart disease and bone weakness. Magnesium has been shown to support both heart and bone health. It can also help with menopausal insomnia and other symptoms such as low mood. According to large-scale studies, those with the highest dietary intakes of magnesium appear to live longer than those with the lowest. Yet, surprisingly, 11 per cent of adult women do not get enough magnesium from their diet, according to The National Diet and Nutrition Survey.  The daily recommended intake for magnesium is 375mg, with quinoa, mackerel and cashews containing the highest amount per serving at 118mg, 108mg and 80mg respectively.  Why are levels so low? Lack of magnesium in the diet could be down to restrictive diets to help counterbalance the weight-gaining effects of menopause.  Women may also eat insufficient quantities of magnesium-rich pulses, nuts, seeds and green vegetables. In addition, too much caffeine, alcohol and sugar can deplete the body of magnesium, while the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol put extra demand on the body, upping a person’s need for the mineral.  Menopausal women may miss out on magnesium if they restrict their diet for weight loss How does magnesium help during the menopause?  Reduces blood pressure.   The risk of heart disease increases for women during mid-life.  High blood pressure can be a silent killer and symptoms are not recognisable until things become critical.  Magnesium has many positive effects on the circulation, including relaxing blood vessels to lower high blood pressure.  Studies have shown that people with the highest magnesium levels are 48 per cent less likely to develop high blood pressure after taking other known risk factors into account. Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke . The risk of heart disease for women increases after the menopause and falls in line with that of men.  Low magnesium levels are associated with artery health issues and may cause spasms, calcification and unwanted blood clots, which are more pronounced with stress.  A study of more than 300,000 people, found that an increase in circulating blood levels of magnesium is associated with a 30 per cent lower risk of heart attack or stroke. This same study also found that an increase in magnesium from food by 200mg per day reduced the risk of heart disease by 22 per cent. Keeps bones strong   During the menopause women can lose up to 10 per cent bone density.  Magnesium is needed to regulate the flow of calcium in and out of bones, which is important for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.  Women with osteoporosis have significantly lower levels of magnesium than those without the condition, and those with the lowest intakes are at greater risk of hip fractures. Combats insomnia and low mood . As many women have experienced, the menopause can impact sleep patterns.  Studies have shown people who have difficulty sleeping generally often have lower levels of magnesium and increasing their intake via supplements can not only help them to nod off but also improve their sleep quality.  Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’, and has been shown to help with other menopausal symptoms such as bloating, anxiety, irritability and other mood changes. Relieves constipation.  Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and Healthspan Medical Director, said: ‘The female bowels are sensitive to hormonal fluctuations, and may trigger constipation or other digestive issues in some women.  ‘Other factors include changes in bowel bacterial balance (try taking a probiotic to address this) and lower intakes of nutrients such as magnesium, plus vitamin D deficiency, all of which can be contributors to constipation.  ‘There may be reduced exercise levels and changes in medication, too, which can also aggravate constipation.’ Epsom salts were often prescribed as a laxative in Victorian times due to the laxative effect of magnesium sulphate.  These days, doctors sometimes prescribe magnesium in high doses to clear the bowel before surgery.  The laxative effect of magnesium may be beneficial for people suffering with constipation and IBS as this mineral has a muscle-relaxing effect that may help to soothe bowel spasms. Supplements taken at night may aid sleep by relaxing muscles. How to boost magnesium intake   Nuts and seeds are rich in magnesium. Keep them in tubs on your kitchen work surface to sprinkle on salads, yoghurt, porridge and stir-frys. They can also be added to a smoothie made in a powerful blender. Eat oily fish once or twice a week by adding it to fish pies, curries and pasta. Use smoked fish with eggs or make a kedgeree. Make cashew milk by adding a handful of the nuts to 300ml of water. Include 1tbsp of cocoa powder for an extra magnesium hit. Served warm before bed may also aid sleep. Use cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, dates and cocoa powder to make protein balls. Each ball can contain 15 per cent of the recommended magnesium intake.  Throw a handful of spinach or oats into smoothies to make up five and 10 per cent of the recommended daily allowance, respectively. Swap rice for quinoa to contribute an extra 10 per cent to the recommended intake. Take a supplement containing magnesium citrate for optimal absorption.  Read more:

Suffering from Hair Loss? The reduction of oestrogen in our bodies leads to all kinds of changes that adversely affect skin and hair. My hair simply started breaking and falling, and would stay dry regardless of any treatment. Since the hormone levels decline during menopause, you might find your hair falling, generally thinning out, or appearing dull. Losing hair can be a traumatic experience, causing you to think something is wrong with you. What you can do to minimise damage Avoid curlers, straightening irons, overuse of hair dryers and tying your hair tightly with lots of pins. Leave your hair loose, or braided if long. Use natural ingredient based products to help reduce the fall. I am currently using a shampoo that has tea tree oil as one of its ingredients, and this has proved effective. Opt for a haircut that makes your hair appear fuller, with short bangs for instance. Another problem that could occur, though it does not happen to everyone, is the scalp getting scaly and dry, and the appearance of dandruff. This can make pre-existing dandruff, if you have had it, much worse. Use a medicated shampoo that has selenium, zinc or olive oil to stop the dandruff and to moisturise the scalp. The intake of supplements might also prove beneficial. If you feel your hair is not re-growing fast enough, you can aid the process by including specific foods to your diet. Vitamin C is known to boost collagen production which prevents our hair from breaking. Ensure you eat a lot of citrus fruits, bell peppers and strawberries so that the Vitamin C can keep the collagen intact. Essential fatty acids found in avocados, walnuts, flax seeds and fish, produce healthy fats that keep your scalp replete with the moisture it needs, preventing dryness of hair and facilitating hair growth. Biotin is also said to be effective: eggs, carrots, oats, nuts and brown rice contain this vitamin. It produces the protein we need for hair growth. You can also have a weekly head massage with warm oil (olive or coconut oil) to stimulate blood supply to the hair follicles. Do it yourself at home or go to a salon. This nourishes them, removes the dead cells from the scalp thereby cleansing it and promoting hair growth. Remember to use a hot towel to wrap your hair after the massage to open the pores so the oil can get in. Make lifestyle changes that include not smoking, lowering stress levels, regular exercise and adequate sleep. Keep in mind that having healthy hair and skin needs a holistic approach and doing one without the other won’t give you fast results. Menopause is a passing phase, but it is up to you to ensure that it doesn’t permanently impact your appearance in the long term.

10 Natural Treatments for Vaginal Itching

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic properties and helps alkalize your body’s tissues. This means that the apple cider vinegar makes the vagina acidic where the bacteria cannot thrive for long. To get relief, submerge your vagina in a shallow bath of water and 2 cups vinegar for at least 1/2 an hour. This should soothe the irritation, as well as killing any yeast infection if that is the cause of the itching and burning.

2. Garlic Both garlic cloves and garlic powder mixed with water into a paste have been helpful herbal remedies for vaginal itching. Among its other benefits, garlic is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral. You can also insert a garlic glove inside your vagina if you suspect a yeast infection as the cause of your itching. This is a great garlic powder to use.

3. Yogurt Yogurt can provide you lasting relief from vaginal itching and burning. Applying plain yogurt topically to the vaginal area…

4. Kefir This fermented milk drink is a potent probiotic and effective home treatment used as a douche. Like yogurt, it has tons of good probiotics to balance things out and it acts as an anti-inflammatory as well.

5. Honey Raw (unpasteurized) honey is known to stop the itching. It is an antibacterial and antifungal. Just slather it on like an ointment.

6. Rosemary Steep a small handful of rosemary leaves in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Wash the vaginal area with this herbal solution and feel the relief quickly!

7. Basil Basil leaves have anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. As with rosemary, steep a small handful of basil leaves in 2 cups of water and allow to cool. Wash the vaginal area with this herbal solution and feel the relief quickly.

8. Chamomile Make a chamomile infusion from 2 tablespoons of chamomile flowers in 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 15 minutes,…

9. Wormwood Boil 4 tablespoons of wormwood in 4 cups water for 5 minutes. Strain, then let it cool at body temperature. Wash 1-2 times daily for two weeks. Besides relieving the itching and burning, wormwood vaginal washes help restore the flora and reduce abnormal secretions. This is a small bag of wormwood.

10. Real Sea Salt Sea Salt (Epson salt is ok too) can reduce remove itching and bacteria due to its antibacterial properties. Wash your vagina with concentrated salt water whenever you feel the itch. This will give you great relief instantly and prevent further multiplication of bacteria. A soak in a salt bath is ok too.

Would you like to keep a soothing rinse on hand to use after using the bathroom?

It works great for any vaginal discomfort so in addition to handling vaginal itching, it is a very soothing peri-rinse post-partum.


1 teaspoons sea salt

5 drop lavender essential oil

2 drops thyme essential oil

2 drops rosemary essential oil 1 drop chamomile essential oil

Directions Add the salt and essential oils into a per-rinse type bottle. Fill to the top with filtered water. Shake well before each use….

Read More at © Hybrid Rasta Mama

The Art of the Menopause

CSM vases display

How would you visually represent your experience of the menopause? Imagine bringing physical form to its multiple aspects: the physical, emotional, and cultural. Second year BA Ceramic Design students at Central Saint Martins have been engaged with this challenge. Their rather beautiful answers will be on exhibit at 2017’s British Ceramics Biennial this autumn.

With Reclaiming The Menopause Managing Director Eileen Bellot acting as an advisor and resource, the students joined a menopause-focused Facebook page to begin a dialogue. They posted a lengthy questionnaire asking about individual women’s experience and what advice they might give to women yet to enter this phase of life–advice they wish someone had given them.

Working with this feedback, the students undertook an exploration of themes: the colours of autumn (as the menopause is described as autumnal,) classically “feminine” shapes, and means of passing information from one generation to the next. Each step of the design process was fully considered and informed. The students’ evolving conversation, early sketches, concepts and progress notes can be found on their blog Mud Movement.

The result is sixty-six vessels presented as heirlooms meant to be passed down through generations of women.  Each contains a scroll to both collect and disseminate advice and stories about the menopause.

A selection of the work produced through the collaboration will be exhibited at World of Wedgwood in Stoke on Trent for the duration of the 2017’s British Ceramics Biennial (23rd Sept – 5th November). Emma Lacey will be giving a short presentation at the Ceramics and it’s Dimensions Congress on 5th October.  The theme of the Congress is ‘Can Ceramics Make a difference?’

You can also get the opportunity to view some of these vessels at our coming Menopause Awareness event on 2nd Oct 5.30-8pm. Refreshment & Massage sessions available

To find out more and book your free ticket follow the link

Eileen and CSM students
Eileen Bellot and CSM students
CSM vases
The vessels



Hearing loss and the menopause

There are some studies that show that hearing loss might be associated with Menopause so……

Tips to boost hearing

Although hearing loss is non-reversible, there are a lot of ways you can protect and boost your hearing ability.
There are the tried-and-true ways like taking supplements, but there are also some unconventional methods. Here are a few things you can try.

Practice your hearing

Just like you’d exercise the muscles in your arms and legs or train your brain, you can also exercise your ears. Practice focusing on sounds and identifying where they are coming from.

Try holding a conversation over loud music. Focusing on hearing what the other person is saying will help strengthen your hearing.

Another thing you can do is close your eyes and have a friend walk around a room while talking to you. Try and identify where the sounds are coming from, essentially training your ability to locate objects by their sound.

Exercise daily

Like everything else in the body, exercising is the easiest (and probably best) method of improving your hearing. And, it’s pretty easy too. You don’t have to hit up a gym and lift weights—a short walk or jog every day will do the trick.

We know you like to exercise with headphones in, but here’s a quick tip: make sure they aren’t too loud. Excessively loud music can damage the hairs in your ears, which don’t grow back.

Keep your brain healthy

The brain processes sounds that come in through the ears, so it’s important to keep it healthy. The stronger your brain cells are, the better your hearing will be.

An easy way to train your brain is to download a brain training app on your phone and do it every morning or before bed. Or you could take a more traditional approach and do some crosswords.


Spending time outside in a public place will force you to sort through different sounds, strengthening your hearing. Try and identify where certain sounds are coming from outside while you meditate in the park.

More research on the Menopause in USA

A host of factors these days are making women experience early menopause. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and lack of physical activity may often lead some women to experience hormonal imbalance which may often trigger early menopause. A recently conducted study mentions hormonal therapy as a viable option to treat common menopause symptoms.

Using hormone replacement therapy to treat common symptoms of menopause for up to five to seven years may be safe and not associated with risk of all-cause, cardiovascular or cancer death, a study with over 18 years of follow-up has found. The study was published by JAMA and conducted by experts at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, United States. Hormonal therapy works by replacing the depleting levels of female hormones and aid in reducing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes in women. After conducting a comparative study between menopausal women on placebo and other female participants on hormonal therapy, it was found that hormonal therapy helped in reducing menopausal symptoms without having an impact on the death rates. The participants were followed for 18 years and were tracked for chronic diseases like cancer, as well as heart attack and deaths. The women took the hormone therapy for five to seven years.

Another recently conducted study looked at the role of diet in preventing risks of early menopause. Early menopause – the cessation of ovarian function before the age of 45 – affects about 10 per cent of women globally and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline. Experts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US noted that a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium may help stave off risks of early menopause. In a combined study teams from Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health and University of Massachusetts Amherst found that women who consume items like oats, barley, brown rice and soy may keep early menopause at bay.

Useful Medicinal Herbs


menopause herbs

Thanks so much to Hackney Herbal who came to our support group last Thursday and did a lovely workshop all about herbal remedies.  We were able to smell and taste a variety of herbs and then we made some teabags of our favourite ones.  For example:

Lemon balm: Relaxing restorative for nervous system. Uplifting tea. Calming and soothing

Fennel: Leaves, seeds. Digestive aid for wind and indigestion

Lemon Verbena Leaves. Sedative, carminative, Night tea for insomnia

German Chamomile Anti-inflammatory Used to calm digestive and nervous system

Sage Leaves, essential oil traditionally associated with longevity. Reduces sweating,
salivation and lactating, improves menopausal symptoms,
Used for sore throats and tonsillitis

To find out more check out Hackney Herbal  www.