Protein: The Elixir of Youth
Protein for the Ageing Body
Every cell in our body needs protein to grow and repair from daily wear and tear. We often think of protein as a nutrient that is important for athletes and young, growing bodies, but it is integral for the aging body as well. When we age, we are going through countless physical changes, and it is important that we are fuelling our bodies with enough protein to feed them. It is protein that makes up lots of the hormones in our bodies, including our sex hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone, but also the hormones we need to digest foods, and protect our bones, ligaments, and thyroid.
Protein and Menopause
So now we know that protein helps our bodies manufacture hormones, we can more clearly understand how necessary it is during menopause. During menopause, the body will be making a decreased amount of hormones naturally, therefore a diet lacking in protein will cause further hormone depletion. This may result in an increase of unpleasant menopausal symptoms. If a menopausal woman is not taking in enough protein, she may find that her digestion can be negatively affected. Another adverse effect is that her cholesterol levels may spike, increasing the risk of issues in the future.
When a person is not taking in enough protein, the body will begin using what is does get for the most important things like hormone production. This will often mean that a person’s hair, skin, and nails may become affected. If you notice your skin getting worse, hair loss, or brittle nails, this could be the first signs you are not taking in enough protein. Each person’s protein requirements will differ, but as a general rule, you should be aiming for a palm-sized portion of protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, or protein supplements) at each meal.
If you are still suffering with adverse effects after increasing protein intake, consult your doctor of pharmacist.