Dr. Johanna Budwig: Menopause (2023)

A woman's body experiences a number of changes during menopause. From the age of 45, the female body produces less and less estrogen and progestin. Hence, the hormonal balance is in altered. Hot flashes, insomnia, changes in complexion, and mood swings are just a few symptoms and, for many women, a clear sign that the hormone production in her body is slowing down.

Following menopause, women have an increased risk of developing the debilitating bone disease osteoporosis. This is because, starting in menopause, the female body progressively produces a lower concentration of female sex hormones. The hormone estrogen facilitates the absorption and storage of calcium by bones. When estrogen levels drop, bone calcium is lost leading to an increase in bone density which causes the bones to become weaker. This process is referred to as post-menopausal osteoporosis.

For a long time, it was assumed that the symptoms that occur during menopause are simply unavoidable. However, as experience has shown, many can be improved greatly or eliminated all together through a change of diet. A lack of (essential) fatty acids can promote and sustain the emergence of menopausal symptoms. This can all be compensated for by supplementing highly active, polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Dr. Johanna Budwig took full advantage of Mother Nature's garden. In it, there can be found a number of oils and herbs which contain a wealth of compounds that have been shown to have favorable effects not only on the typical menopausal symptoms, but also on skin complexion. Substances such as flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, and precious pomegranate seed oil along with lignans and red clover can help promote beauty from the inside and exhibit a balancing effect on menopausal symptoms.

Flax seed oil is rich in ALA, a polyunsaturated fatty acid which is invaluable to the body as it provides an important building block for our cells. Thus, it supports the development of all types of cells in the body and is the basis for the fluidity, flexibility, and activity of our cell membranes. It is an indispensable component of all metabolic processes. To understand how important membrane flexibility is for our health, imagine red blood cells. Only thanks to their flexibility can they penetrate even the smallest of capillaries in order to optimally supply our skin and mucous membranes with the oxygen and nutrients necessary for maintaining their function.

Lignans are herbal compounds which can be found in many types of unrefined grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Flax seeds are the richest source of lignans. Compared to other vegetable sources, they contain 75 times to 800 times the amount of lignans. In the plant kingdom, lignans represent a common type of phytohormones.

According to recent medical studies, lignans possess extensive bioactive properties which make them effective antioxidants and effective hormone regulators. In the human body, they display similar - albeit weaker - effects to the body's own natural sex hormones. From a medical perspective, this is a particularly useful property for treating hormonal imbalances. Phytohormones exhibit an equalizing effect on hormonal balance which results in a mitigating effect on menopausal symptoms. The symptoms can be alleviated or even eliminated by ingesting lignans.

What is more, lignans act as free radical interceptors. Consequently, the have cryoprotective effects, since free radicals can damage cells and genetic material. Scientific studies have identified a possible link between breast cancer and reduced cell growth in patients who ingested lignans. Moreover, lignans have demonstrated beneficial effects in cases such as osteoporosis, hair loss, and cardiovascular disease.

Oil extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and oleic acid), whereby the content of the polyunsaturated gamma-linolenic acid can account for up to 14% of the total proportion.

The evening primrose has a long tradition as an herbal remedy against gynecological ailments, which continues gaining in popularity even today. In naturopathy, evening primrose oil is often used to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Thanks to its high content of important essential fatty acids, evening primrose oil helps to regulate hormonal balance, which can relieve the symptoms of hormonal disorders. Gamma-linolenic acid is a precursor of certain tissue hormones (prostaglandins) that control the sebum secretion of our skin, which in turn is important for its suppleness. A lack of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid, has been shown to lead to - among other things - brittle fingernails and hair, dry skin, and dandruff. Therefore, evening primrose oil is makes an excellent source of essential fatty acids to prevent premature aging or feelings of weakness. It stimulates metabolism and promotes a sense of general well-being both internally and externally.

Pomegranate seed oil is particularly rich in valuable polyphenols and flavonoids. Both are types of antioxidants, which neutralize aggressive substances (free radicals) in the body and protect our cells from damage and disease. In addition, through its high content of estrone, pomegranate seed oil relieves many typical menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, pomegranate seed oil improves digestion by supporting process which take place in the stomach.

Discomfort during menopause can be counteracted by a change in lifestyle. First and foremost, this means eating a healthy diet. Simultaneously, any existing lack of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be compensated for through regular supplementation with high-quality vegetable oils. Unhealthy fats such as trans fats should avoided as well as excess consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. All this should be made part of a balanced, lacto-vegetarian wholefood diet rich in many vital nutrients.

The significance of red clover as an herbal remedy comes from its high content of isoflavones, which help compensate for declining estrogen levels during menopause. By these means, typical menopausal symptoms can be alleviated. In addition, red clover is believed to have a beneficial effect on our cardiovascular system, liver, and bones.

Dr. Johanna Budwig: Menopause (2)
Dr. Johanna Budwig: Menopause (3)

Quality counts!

When selecting a source of healthy fatty acids, their quality is paramount. Only then - as Dr. Johanna Budwig pointed out again and again – can our cells receive the full benefits of the electron richness found in the oils. A great importance must be attached to the selection of the seeds, the crop rotation, the extraction, and any further processing. Therefore, Dr. Johanna Budwig clearly defined and documented quality standards. For the extraction of oil, she developed a very gentle process, the "Original Dr. Budwig pressing method" – which is still known under that name today.

Dr. Johanna Budwig: Menopause (4)

Take good care of your digestive tract!

Whether our cells actually benefit from the food we consume each day, depends largely on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is our intestines’ ability to absorb the nutrients that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig, thus, recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to maintain our intestines and their intestinal flora. Furthermore, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in healthy bowel function. Therefore, an integral part our daily diet should include 1-2 tablespoons of shredded and fortified flax seed, blended into a Budwig cream, made of quark and flax seed oil, or in Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered,unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.

To improve the energy levels in all types of cells in the human body, Dr. Johanna Budwig recommended a breakfast which is rich in both omega-3 fatty acids and sulfur-containing amino acids. Her breakfast combines high-quality flax seed with quark (cottage cheese may serve as a substitute).

Flax seed oil contains a high proportion of the vegetable omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Quark, on the other hand, is rich in sulfur-containing amino acids. Together these ingredients form a strong unit: the positively charged amino acids in the quark and the negatively charged fatty acids from flax seed are attracted to one another. In this combination, the quark acts as an "omega-3 protector." It shields the omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed oil from oxidation, whereby they are able to enter the human body- to a great extent unchanged. As a result, they are much more available for use by the cells and their membranes.

A breakfast containing high-quality flax seed oil compositions and quark provides the body with sufficient energy in the morning and provides the basis for vital cellular respiration processes. Oil compositions which contain ground red clover and lignans are particularly well suited for preparing savory variations or as dips or as supplements in juices.

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