Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

How cute is this?!

If you are like me, caffeine is a daily part of your life in some way or another. You may not be able to imagine a life totally without it.

If you are like me, you also may have women’s/non-binary’s health related issues. Could caffeine be making these issues even worse or actually causing them? Those are two questions I was interested in having answered.

So to answer them, I did some research and decided to put up a post about what I learned!

A little bit about caffeine

Caffeine is actually considered a drug but it is accepted and used by many in various forms. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

It was first isolated in 1819 from mocha (coffee) beans. From there, the usage of caffeine really exploded (it had been gaining popularity since the 1600s). Coffee beans aren’t the only things that it is found in as things like tea, cocoa, Yerba Mate (plant), guarana (plant) and more have it too.

Some things that don’t have caffeine naturally in them, have the extraction added to them. This is the case for energy drinks, energy patches, pre-workout mixes, supplement/vitamin blends. There are also caffeine pills that just have it as the active ingredient.

Caffeine content is generally reported in milligrams. The following is a list of the amounts of caffeine in various commonly consumed things-

  • Kola nuts: 10-50 mg per serving (2-3 nuts).
  • Coffee: 80-130 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Energy drinks: 80-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Soda: 30-58 mg per 12 ounces (Pepsi One has the highest amount).
  • Puerh tea: 60-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Black tea: 40-50 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Yerba Mate: 85 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Oolong tea: 35-75 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Green tea: 20-70 mg per 8 ounces.
  • White tea: 10-60 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Hot chocolate: 5-18 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Chocolate candy: 0-60 mg per serving.
  • Caffeine pills: 100-200 mg per pill.
  • Pre-workout mixes: 150-375 mg per serving.

These numbers are just estimates. There are different variables and factors that go into the actual amount of caffeine that something contains.

Positives and negatives of caffeine

Consuming caffeine can have good and bad effects. The effects that one gets depends on how much they takes of it and how their individual body responds to it.

Here are some of the pleasant as well as uncomfortable things one may experience when putting caffeine in their body:

Positive-

  • May wake you up to be less groggy in the morning.
  • May increase strength for weightlifting workouts.
  • Increase in cardiovascular performance: You may be able to go for longer and/or push harder during cardiovascular work.
  • Fat burning: It may increase your fat burning ability.
  • Increase in memory and alertness: It may help your memory and the ability to be alert for work tasks and learning.
  • May prevent diabetes.
  • May provide a mood boost.
  • May treat headaches and migraines.
  • May decrease the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • May stimulate growth, stop loss and thicken hair.

Negative-

  • Causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce intake. These include GI issues, insomnia and headaches.
  • May make mental conditions worse.
  • May cause anxiety and nervousness.
  • May cause irregular heartbeats.
  • May have a laxative effect and/or cause urine frequency.
  • May change how fast your body breaks down medications.
  • May block the effects of medications.
  • May mess up blood sugar levels.
  • May cause dehydration in your body which in turn may give your skin an aged appearance.
  • May increase blood pressure.
  • May deplete necessary nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12.

Even though there are benefits to caffeine, taking a lot of it only increases the chances of experiencing the bad effects. Experts say it is best to not take more than 400 mg per day.

Caffeine and hormones

There is some evidence that caffeine can interact with our hormones in negative ways. Here are two hormones that caffeine can effect:

Cortisol-

One of the hormones it may have an effect on is cortisol which is a stress hormone. Caffeine has shown to increase the hormone which then causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can lead one to experience things like nausea, increased hunger, headaches and brain fog.

Estrogen-

One thing that has been seen with caffeine is that it can actually last longer in the body when one is taking estrogen treatments or birth control. This is not a good thing as it may be messing up one’s sleep cycle.

Another thing is that it can change estrogen levels especially if too much is taken. The direction that the estrogen level goes in, seems to be dependent on ones race. In Asians and blacks, a rise in estrogen has been seen. This is in contrast to whites in which a decrease in estrogen has been seen.

Variations in estrogen level can lead to things like hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Putting it all together

As you can see, caffeine can have negative effects in regards to women’s/non-binary people’s health. It can:

  • Make anxiety and irritability that is experienced with PMS/PMDD, worse.
  • Mess with one’s sleep cycle which can worsen mood issues (among other things).
  • Raise blood sugar which in turn adds to and/or makes PMS/PMDD symptoms worse.
  • Cause a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause worse PMS/PMDD, lower sex drive, irregular periods, worsening mental conditions, headaches/migraines, weight gain, hair loss, ovarian cysts, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and heavy bleeding.
  • Deplete B6 which helps regulate hormones.
  • Deplete B12 which can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and memory problems.

Not every woman/non-binary person will experience these things. If one is experiencing a lot of mental and physical discomfort during their cycles, it may be a good idea to look at how much caffeine is being consumed. Quitting or reducing it may be the answer to feeling better.

My caffeine consumption and hormonal issues

I am guilty of having a higher than recommended maximum dosage of caffeine. Each day, I take in around 450-480 mg of caffeine. Yikes right?

I used to get most of my caffeine in the form of coffee, special coffee drinks (caramel macchiato to be exact!) and tea. Now it is mainly just caffeine pills and tea. I typically take 200 mg from the pills in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and another 200 mg from the pills before working out in the evening.

Since upping my intake of caffeine, I believe that I have had worse PMS/PMDD symptoms. When I look back at my health tracking journals, I experienced a lot of severe symptoms up until starting Claritin. It was like I barely ever had a good day.

While things are better, I still have my bad days (bad moods and extreme GI distress) and I think that maybe reducing the amount of caffeine may help me. My plan is to try and get my intake down to 300 mg for a while and see how I do at that amount.

I know that there will be always be some discomfort I feel due to my hormones and life itself but if reducing caffeine can help me in any way- I am willing to take less.

It is your decision

It can be hard to break up with caffeine-either part of the way or all of the way. For some people though, it may be a good idea to be more mindful about how much is being consumed. In terms of women’s/nonbinary health issues, it may be making them worse or it could be the cause of them.

How much caffeine do you take in each day?

Thanks for reading!

#caffeine #caffeinemolecule #womenshealth #nonbinaryhealth #pms #pmddtreatment #hormones #coffee #tea

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

For the past six or so years, I have been continuously trying to figure out how to deal with hormonal issues. This has led me to read about many different supplements and medications that have helped other women who go through the same things as I do.

Vitex (a plant) is one of the things that some women swear by when it comes to dealing with their menstrual cycle issues. Upon learning about it, I decided to try it. Needless to say, my experience with it was not good.

In this post I will be talking all about vitex and specifically how it affected me.

Women’s hormonal discomforts

Many women and non-binary people experience varying levels of discomfort during their menstrual cycles. This can be due to their hormones being out of balance and/or because their bodies are sensitive to hormone shifts. Either way, it is very common.

Some of the things women deal with are as follows:

  • Physical PMS/PMDD symptoms: Acne, bloating, increased hunger, joint aches, headaches/migraines, lightheadedness, breast pain, insomnia and more.
  • Mental PMS symptoms: Sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability etc.
  • Mental PMDD symptoms (more extreme than PMS): Sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, mood swings etc.
  • PCOS: Acne, oily skin, hair loss/thinning, weight gain/difficulty losing, bloating, fertility issues and more.
  • Heavy periods.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Endometriosis flare ups- Abdominal pain, nausea, painful periods, pain during sex and more.
  • Infertility.
  • Menopause/perimenopause- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain and more.

There are some other things women and non-binary people go through but these are the most frequently talked about things. Not all women have it bad or experience much of anything though.

Women who want to treat these issues usually end up taking/doing the following things:

  • Birth control: May balance hormones.
  • Diet and exercise: May help to balance hormones and is goes toward an all-around healthy life.
  • HRT: Replaces hormones during menopause.
  • Spironolactone: Blocks androgens and reduces blood pressure.
  • Pain relievers: Tylenol, Advil, Naproxen etc. for aches and pains.
  • Antidepressants: These may help the mood issues some women get during their cycles.
  • Acne products: These can include creams, antibiotics, gels etc.
  • Hair growth products: These can include serums, oils and shampoos/conditioners.
  • Fertility medication and IVF
  • Alternative/Traditional medicine: Some examples include herbal teas, plant extracts in capsules, vitamins etc.

These treatments effect each person differently so it is best to look into them as much as you can and consult with your doctor.

Vitex as a women’s health supplement

Vitex is the name of a plant that is used for women’s health purposes. It is also known as chasteberry and vitex agnus castus. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region which includes Italy, Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Syria, Monaco and Libya.

Vitex needs to be grown in hot and dry conditions with full sun. The tree can grow to be about 10 feet tall and looks great in one’s yard/garden. It is very pretty with violet flowers and berries. Just like most other plants, it contains flavonoids, essential oils and fatty oils.

In traditional medicine starting in the 14th century, the leaves were used for suppression of the libido in men and women. It was eventually found that the leaves and fruit possibly provide hormonal benefits for women. Since this finding, it has been marketed for this purpose.

Its use for women’s hormonal health is due to how it can alter hormone levels. Vitex has been shown in some studies to increase progesterone levels, regulate prolactin levels, increase estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels.

Because of the effects on hormones, some studies and anecdotes claim that it treats the following ailments:

  • Breast pain/tenderness: This is something that commonly occurs around ovulation and shortly before one’s period starts.
  • Bloating: This is something that commonly occurs before one’s period starts and sometimes lasts throughout it. For some women it also occurs during ovulation day.
  • Mood issues: Women who experience PMS or PMDD tend have mood related problems. With PMDD, the mood problems are more severe.
  • Hot flashes: This is commonly seen in menopause but some women also experience it shortly before their periods.
  • Insomnia: This is something that happens shortly before one’s period starts and during menopause.
  • Acne: Some people are plagued with acne before their periods start or the whole month due to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Infertility: Some people have a hard time getting and/or staying pregnant. This can be due to not ovulating frequently and/or progesterone levels being off. Infertility is commonly seen in people with PCOS and endometriosis.
  • Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia): Some people have periods that include a lot of bleeding. This involves needing to change a pad/tampon every hour and passing large clots. These types of periods may even last longer than the usual range of days (2-7 days).
  • Headaches/migraines: These commonly occur shortly before one’s period and during menopause.

Even though the medical research done on vitex isn’t considered as providing the strongest evidence of efficacy, there were some positive results for these issues shown in them. Also, if you take a look at reviews and women’s health forums, you will see that many people have been happy with the supplementation of it.

Despite some people getting good results, there are also many people who have gotten bad results from it. Because of this, it has been found that vitex can cause the following undesirable effects:

  • Worsening headaches/migraines
  • Mood issues
  • Bad acne
  • GI issues
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia

As you can see, taking vitex may lead to uncomfortable side effects. It can potentially add new symptoms or make current ones worse.

Another thing to be aware of is that vitex can interact negatively with certain medication and conditions. Below are some precautions that comes with vitex supplementation:

  • May interact with birth control.
  • May interact with antipsychotics.
  • May interact with Parkinson’s medications.
  • Should not be taken if you have breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.
  • Women with PCOS and endometriosis should think twice about taking it.
  • Should not be taken if you are receiving fertility treatment.
  • Should not be taken by someone with Parkinson’s even if they are not on medication for it.

If one does decide they are going to take vitex, there are quite a few brands that sell it as a supplement. You can find it in capsules, liquid drops and teas. There are even some women’s health related supplement blends that contain it.

Dosages of up to 40 mg of the concentrated fruit extract and up to 1000 mg of the dried fruit are recommended. It is said that supplementing with vitex may take three months of consistent use to start working.

My experience with vitex

I had read about vitex helping some women on a reddit forum. It sounded like it was worth a shot at the time.

Instead of doing research into it, I decided to just buy some right away (not a good idea!). I went with capsules that contained 400 mg of the dried fruit in each one and planned on taking two of them a day as the label stated to do.

I was hoping for the vitex to help me with the bloating, acne, headaches and low moods that I get before my periods. Balancing my hormones with birth control was not something I have ever been excited about so I thought that this could possibly be a good alternative.

Unfortunately, vitex was not a good alternative for me. Yikes!

Every possible negative side effect that one could have from it- I experienced. This meant that the issues I was trying to fix got worse! The nausea, horrific rashes on my back, ice pick headaches etc. were unpleasant to say the least.

The silly thing is that I took vitex for a few weeks because I thought things would get better. Of course they never did so I have no one else to blame but myself for feeling miserable. I should have stopped taking it after a couple days.

Clearly, vitex was and is not for me. You live and you learn I guess. I am really glad that it works for other people though!

In conclusion

Vitex is a hormonal health supplement option for those that are into plant based treatments. There are some benefits that have been seen from it as well as some risks. As with everything, it is best to do some research on it before trying it.

It was disappointing that it didn’t work for me. Since then I have continued to search for ways to make my menstrual cycles go better. All I can do is keep reading and trying things out.

Have you tried taking vitex? If so, what was your experience with it?

If you are interested you can check out my other post about a women’s health supplement (evening primrose oil).

Thanks for reading!

#womenshealth #menstrualcycles #nonbinary #supplements #chasteberrysupplement #vitexsupplement #menstrualcup #periods #pms #pmdd #hormones

Two New PMS/PMDD Symptoms: Misophonia and Hyperacusis

Two New PMS/PMDD Symptoms: Misophonia and Hyperacusis

Things have gotten worse over the past few years when it comes to my menstrual cycle symptoms. Some go away for a while then resurface again, some lessen in severity and some increase in severity.

Unfortunately, the past few cycles have yielded new symptoms for me- misophonia and hyperacusis. I know that some other women experience them during their cycles too.

In this post I will talk more about these two annoying symptoms!

What misophonia and hyperacusis are

These two disorders are slightly similar in that certain sounds pose an issue to one’s body and mind. Here is some information about each of them:

Misophonia

This is a relatively new term that was coined in 2001. It involves experiencing negative feelings/thoughts and physical reactions (not pain) to common sounds. These sounds that can trigger bad reactions include slurping, chewing, crunching, lip smacking and joints cracking.

To many, these common sounds are no big deal. For people with misophonia, they are awful and sound louder than they actually are. Some reactions to the sounds are as follows:

  • Panic-One may feel an overwhelming amount of fear all of a sudden after hearing the sound. The feeling of panic can also bring on uncomfortable physical sensations. They also may try to run away from the sound.
  • Irritability/annoyance- The trigger sounds may cause one to feel this way which in turn could make them seem grumpy to whoever is around them (or whoever is making the sound).
  • Anger/rage- The sound (s) may make one have a more extreme response such as yelling, screaming, throwing/kicking things and possibly hurting others.

Misophonia may range from mild to severe. If it is bad enough it may disrupt one’s life due to these trigger sounds being an ordinary part of life.

This disorder is not very well known in the medical community and there are some uncertainties about it. Because of this, the official diagnosis of it may be hard to get. It usually involves a full physical and mental workup to rule out other issues first.

The cause of it is one of the things that the medical community is not totally certain of. The main theory is that it possibly is a dysfunction of the central auditory system. Some people may just hear certain sounds and have them create an overexaggerated response in the part of our brains that control emotions (anterior insular cortex).

It also may be a genetic thing. 23andMe has actually identified genes that could cause the disorder and will tell you on your DNA profile what your odds are of having it.

Misophonia can occur with other mental conditions (i.e. anxiety) and on its own.

Hyperacusis

This disorder is when one is sensitive to ranges of sounds. They will seem a lot louder to the person with the disorder then they do to others. The difference between this and misophonia is that there will be pain involved when the sound is heard.

The pain that people with hyperacusis feel is in addition to the negative mental reactions that they may also feel (the same ones felt with misophonia). When one is exposed to sounds that trigger their hyperacusis, their pain is usually in their inner. They may also experience a headache with the sound and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

There are multiple causes of hyperacusis. These include brain injuries, MS, migraines, inner ear damage, chronic ear infections and prolonged exposure to loud sounds. It also tends to occur along with anxiety, autism and ADHD.

Hyperacusis is diagnosed by audiograms with the discomfort levels being noted as the test is done.

Both misophonia and hyperacusis are hard to treat. Things that have had some success in people include therapy for changing the way one reacts to the sounds, therapy for helping one be less aware of the sounds and using noise cancellation products.

Hormones causing misophonia and hyperacusis

Now that we know what these disorders are, there are a few reasons as to why they may show up during parts of your cycle. They are as follows:

  1. Your estrogen is high- According to Gabrielle Lichterman of Hormonology, your hearing is more sensitive when your estrogen is high (week two of your cycle). This means that you may have issues with certain sounds and ranges of sounds during this time.
  2. Migraines- If you are prone to experiencing migraines during your cycle, you may experience hyperacusis because of it.
  3. Just plain sensitive- Before your period, you may be very sensitive in general-mentally and physically. Because of this you may have issues with sounds.

What to do about these disorders

As stated before, treatment for both of the disorders is limited. Here are some things that you can do if you have issues with them on certain days of your cycle:

  • Be prepared-If you know when in your cycle the issues with sounds happen, you should take note of that on your calendar so you are aware of what you may experience each day.
  • Let others know- If you are having a hard time with sounds, tell your family and friends (if you are going to be around them) so that they can try to not make them in your presence if possible.
  • Get and wear noise cancelling headphones- There are headphones that you can get that cancel out environmental noises. These can be worn in situations in public where there are noises that bother you or at home.
  • Get and wear ear plugs- There are some good noise cancelling ear plugs on the market. This can be another option if you don’t like the look of headphones on yourself. The ear plugs and/or headphones could be kept in your PMS/PMDD toolbox if you made yourself one.
  • Try meditation- There are some great meditation videos on YouTube that can help relax you when you are experiencing difficulty with sounds.
  • Use a heated blanket- These can be comforting and stress relieving in general which in turn may help you deal with trigger sounds.
  • Do some room soundproofing- You can put things like fans, air purifiers and white noise machines in your room (s). This can reduce the trigger sounds.

You may not get total relief of misophonia or hyperacusis but these ideas may help take the edge off during certain times of the month.

What I experience

As stated before, I have been experiencing both of the disorders. They come on a week or so before my period starts. Here is what I go through with each of them:

  • Misophonia- I get extremely triggered by slurping and chewing noises. This has caused me to have outbursts of anger.
  • Hyperacusis- I can’t handle things falling on the floor in my office the week before my period. It actually makes me cry due to the pain.

As a solution to these, I will be getting noise cancelling ear plugs and doing some meditation. I find this sensitivity very uncomfortable so I really need to do something to make things better.

In conclusion

It is amazing all of the things that hormones can cause. Some things they cause are good and some are bad- as is the case regarding these two disorders.

Dealing with misophonia and hyperacusis can be really hard. If you find it gets worse at certain times, there is some evidence that it could be a hormonal thing. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas as to how you can treat it.

Do you have any issues with sound at certain parts of your menstrual cycle?

Thanks for reading!

Here are some resources:

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/hyperacusis/treatment

https://www.neurologylive.com/view/misophonia-triggers-management

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00036/full

#pmstreatment #pmddtreatment #noisereduction #misophonia #hyperacusis #centralauditorysystem #womenshealth #menstrualcycles #periods

Dragging During Your Workouts? Blame Your Hormones!

Dragging During Your Workouts? Blame Your Hormones!

As most people know, consistent exercise is important for a healthy life. There are just so many benefits that it gives us.

Even if we are really into exercising (some might call that being a fitness freak), there are days where we may have a harder time getting through our workout sessions. There are also days where we may have an easier time and can push harder. Our hormones can have something to do with both of these kinds of days.

For this post, how our menstrual cycles can affect our workouts will be discussed as well as what to do about it.

Ups and downs in our workout routines

Everyone has good, bad, “just whatever” and regular workout sessions. Here are some examples of what these sessions may look like:

  • A good one- You are running hill intervals on a treadmill and you find that you are able to handle a more intense level. You feel motivated and physically capable of pushing yourself more than you have some other times.
  • A bad one- You are lifting weights and hating it. Your muscles feel weak, you are irritated, you are saying “screw this” after every set (maybe even rep) and you want to quit.
  • A “just whatever” one- You are getting your weightlifting done but are very distracted and uninspired. After every set, you scroll through your phone and get a little lost looking at threads on a gossip site. You complete your workout but it took an hour longer than usual.
  • A regular one- You are feeling good doing your supersets, you have the mental/physical energy to complete the cardio circuits and you finish the workout in the usual time.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

Just like the rest of our days, how we feel (mentally and physically) during our workouts can differ. There are many reasons as to why this happens and it is all totally normal.

Hormones and our menstrual cycles

We have around 50 different types of hormones in our bodies. There are three of them that play a huge role in our menstrual cycles. They are estrogen, testosterone and progesterone.

Here is some quick information about these hormones:

  • Estrogen- This hormone comes from our ovaries. It is involved in regulating our periods, moods, bone health, regulation of appetite (decreases it) and creating the physical features that are commonly associated with women (i.e. breasts and wider hips than men). It also can help in increasing energy levels.
  • Testosterone- This hormone comes from our ovaries. It is involved in our sex drives, energy levels, muscle mass/strength, bone health, appetite (can increase it) and body fat.
  • Progesterone- This hormone is produced in an endocrine gland in our ovaries after ovulation. It can be calming to the body/mind, help us burn fat, aid in fertility, prevent certain types of cancer and increase sex drive.

While we do need them-having too much or too little of them can cause some issues. Here are some symptoms that can arise when our levels of the hormones are off:

  • Too high/low of estrogen- Mood swings, headaches, fatigue, irregular periods, hot flashes and weight gain.
  • Too high of testosterone- Hair loss, acne, excess facial hair and deepening of the voice.
  • Too low of testosterone- Hair loss, fatigue, fat gain, mood swings, muscle weakness and low sex drive.
  • Too high of progesterone- PMS symptoms.
  • Too low of progesterone- Fertility issues, low moods, headaches, irregular periods, weight gain and hot flashes.

As you can see from all of this, a good balance of hormones is necessary to feel well.

Menstrual cycles and our workouts

Before we talk about how our hormones may influence our workout performance- a brief idea of what they are doing during our cycles is important. The following are days of a 28 day cycle and what the three hormones are doing on them:

  • Days 1-7: This is the menstruation phase (and also follicular) of the cycle-when most women bleed. Estrogen and progesterone are low at this time.
  • Days 8-14: This is the follicular phase of the cycle. Estrogen and testosterone are high at this time.
  • Days 15-22: This is the luteal phase of the cycle. Estrogen and testosterone levels get lower as progesterone rises. Estrogen rises a bit again during these days and then falls.
  • Days 23-28: This is also the luteal phase of the cycle. Estrogen and progesterone drop to low levels at this time.

Not everyone has a 28 day cycle but it is considered to be the average length of one.

So let’s take a look at how our hormones on certain days may dictate how well our workouts may go. We can do this by looking back at the effects each hormone can have on us and our levels of them during our cycles.

After analyzing some things, it becomes clear to see how our hormones can help or interfere with our workouts. The following is what the exercise sessions may be like:

  • Days 1-7: Since this is the time that most women bleed, low energy may be a problem. This is due to estrogen being low and/or heavy bleeding. You might also experience aches and just be uncomfortable in general due to the bleeding that is happening. These things may make a quality workout hard to get in as putting in effort could be a struggle.
  • Days 8-14: With estrogen and testosterone being high on these days, energy (physical and mental) goes way up. You also are probably in a better mood than you had been in the days prior. All of this means that workouts will probably go very well for you during this time.
  • Days 15-17: On these days, progesterone is rising with testosterone and estrogen dropping. During this time, energy levels go down. This is due to the progesterone having somewhat of a “sleepy” effect. You also may lose the confidence and good attitude that you had in prior days. These things may cause you to have workouts that you feel are tougher to get through. Although they may be hard, progesterone is rising so you will actually be burning more fat completing them than other times.
  • Days 18-19: Estrogen bumps up a bit meaning you may have a little more energy with a better mood. This means that workouts on these two days can be better than it was the three days prior.
  • Days 20-25: Progesterone is getting higher as estrogen falls again. This means that you may be experiencing quite a bit of fatigue and mental fogginess if you are sensitive to this shift in hormones. You also may be pretty bloated which would make you feel even more uncomfortable.
  • Day 26-28: If you weren’t feeling fatigued the prior few days, there is a good chance you might on these ones. This is due to your hormones being at their lowest. You might be super foggy too which could impair your ability to learn moves to a dance workout (if you are doing one) or another new kind of workout.

These are all just possible things that you might experience. Not all women have a rough time with symptoms during their menstrual cycles. Some lucky ones don’t notice anything!

What to do about high and low energy workout sessions

If you are experiencing an increased or a very low amount of energy when you go to do a workout, there are some modifications you can make. Here are some ideas:

High energy days-

  • Increase the distance (if you are running, walking, biking etc.).
  • Change up the moves to be harder (i.e. add a push up onto your burpee).
  • Go faster through the workout (sprint, move through lifts faster etc.).
  • Lift heavier weights than usual.

Low energy days-

  • Have a backup workout that is easier for you to do.
  • Decrease the distance.
  • Change up the moves to be easier.
  • Nix the cardio portions altogether (if you have added cardio in to your strength training days).
  • Do two sets instead of three.
  • Do less reps.
  • Lift lighter weights than usual.
  • Simply don’t workout that day. Missing one workout won’t hurt you.

In conclusion

Our hormone levels during our menstrual cycles can lead us to feeling certain ways which in turn can affect our workouts-positively and negatively. The next time you are having a workout session, look up what day you are on in your cycle afterwards and compare it to how your workout went. You might find it pretty interesting!

Thanks for reading!

#homeworkout #homegym #menstrualcycles #periods #periodproblems #periodcup #hormones #fitness #strengthtraining #hitt #womenwholift

What’s the Deal With Calcium?!

What’s the Deal With Calcium?!

I love to read about all things health-especially women’s health. One of my favorite past times is scouring articles/books for new information or just rereading information I already know.

Lately, I have stumbled upon multiple resources talking about calcium. After reading about it more, I found that there are some clear benefits for it when it comes to women’s health. In this post I will be discussing those benefits and just calcium in general.

What calcium is and where to find it

Calcium is a mineral. It is essential for our bones, heart, muscles and nerves to work.

In short, we need it!

Many foods contain calcium and some have a lot more per serving than others. Below is a list of food that have the highest amount of calcium in their food groups:

  • Fruits: Tangerines, oranges and kiwi.
  • Vegetables: Collard greens, spinach and kale.
  • Dairy: All milk, part-skim ricotta and plain yogurt.
  • Fish: Canned salmon and canned sardines.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds and sesame seeds.
  • Protein: Whey protein powder, tofu, soybeans.
  • Beans and legumes: White beans and edamame.
  • Grains: Fortified grains.

It is also sold as a supplement by a variety of brands. You can find it in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid and powders. Some of these supplements only have calcium in them and others combine it with other things (usually Vitamin D and/or magnesium).

You also need to be wary of interactions between calcium supplements and other medications. There have been shown to be possible bad ones when taking diuretics, thyroid medication and antibiotics at the same time.

The recommended daily intake of calcium is no more than 1300 mg. Going over this amount may cause things like excess calcium in the blood, kidney stones, bowel problems and heart issues.

Conversely, extremely low levels of calcium in the body can cause problems too. These include tingling, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, wheezing, seizures, confusion and vomiting.

Calcium for women’s health

So now that we got the general stuff about calcium out of the way, let’s talk about how it can help us women (and nonbinary people of course)!

Our menstrual cycles-

Calcium has been found by multiple studies to reduce the PMS symptoms that many women experience during their menstrual cycles. Here is a list of some things the studies concluded:

  • Just 500 mg of calcium reduces brain fog and mood issues.
  • 1000-1200 mg of calcium reduces brain fog, mood issues, muscle/joint pain, fatigue and food cravings.
  • 500 mg of calcium with 200 mg of Vitamin D reduce mood issues, fatigue and bloating.
  • 500 mg of calcium with 40 mg of Vitamin B6 reduces mood issues, breast pain and bloating.
  • 500 mg of calcium may reduce PMS symptoms just as well as a higher dose.

There was also one study that stated that calcium intake can help menstrual cramps and bloating during a woman’s period.

Our bones-

As mentioned before (and as most people know!), calcium is extremely important for our bones. When people get older, the risk for osteoporosis (weak bones) increases. Unfortunately for women, our risk is even higher than men’s risk due to our estrogen falling.

This is where calcium comes in.

It is important that women get enough calcium as we age to help prevent the weakening of bones from happening. Studies suggest that getting in around 1,000 mg of calcium per day (before and after the age of 50) can do this.

Pregnancy-

Proper intake of calcium is definitely important before, during and after pregnancy. Studies have shown that it may help prevent postpartum depression and help reduce the incidence of leg cramps. There is currently being more research done on both of these things.

Medical professionals state that 1,000 mg of calcium is the best amount to get in while pregnant. Since a lot of prenatal supplements either don’t have calcium in them or only a little- it is best to either get it through your diet or take a stand-alone supplement of it.

Mood issues in general-

There have been a few studies showing that women who have mood issues (such as depression) also have a low dietary intake of calcium. This has made researchers suggest that there is a correlation between calcium and our moods.

Will I supplement with calcium?

Not too long ago I did a post on using Claritin for PMS/PMDD and how it was working well for me. On top of still taking that everyday, I will now start upping my calcium intake a little.

I currently get 150 mg of it a day through the Vitamin B supplements I take. My plan is to boost that amount up to 500 mg a day to see what if anything happens to my PMS symptoms. While things have gotten better with them due to the Claritin, I still experience some discomfort.

If I can make things even easier before my period, that would be awesome!

In conclusion

Calcium may do wonders for women/non-binary people for a few reasons. If you are able to, it can be something you get from food or you can use supplements to get your intake up.

It is important to remember that too much of it is not a good thing so stick within the 500-1300 mg range.

Have you noticed if your calcium intake makes your PMS/PMDD better? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#calciumtablets #calciumcitrate #pmssupplements #pmddtreatment #calcium #womenshealth #menstrualcycle #menopause #bones #osteoporosis #pregnancy