Belly fat and menopause are an unfortunate and frequently distressing combination that affects millions of women who want to know not only why it happens, but what they can do about it.
Women tend to carry excess fat in their hips and thighs prior to menopause, but after menopause this changes. They store fat in the stomach area rather than in their hips and thighs. Women complain that fat around the midsection is stubborn fat….it is hard to lose it.
According to census data, there are more than 50 million women who are age 50 or older in America. Virtually all of them are postmenopausal; those few who are not yet postmenopausal will soon be. Most — if not all — of them will have to confront the accumulation of menopause belly fat.
Now scientists offer some new information about why menopause belly fat happens, which may lead to ways to help women do something about it. A recent study has found that it is caused by protein and enzyme changes in a woman’s body after menopause. Here is an excerpt from an article about it
New research conducted by Sylvia Santosa, assistant professor in Concordia University’s Department of Exercise Science and Canada Research Chair in Clinical Nutrition, gives us a new look at the connection between fat storage and estrogen. By examining the fat storage process at a cellular level, Santosa and co-author Michael D. Jensen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, reveal that certain proteins and enzymes are more active in post-menopausal women.
Later it says
Santosa’s research compared fat storage in pre- and post-menopausal women. The 23 women who participated in the study were in the same age range, and had similar Body Mass Indices and body fat composition. These similarities allowed Santosa to isolate the effects of estrogen on fat absorption and storage.
She and Jensen were able to examine the activity of certain enzymes and proteins that regulate fat storage in post-menopausal women’s abdomens and thighs. By considering these factors together rather than in isolation, the researchers determined conclusively that the overall fat storage “machinery” is more active in post-menopausal women. In other words, these cells now store more fat than they did before menopause.
In addition, post-menopausal women burned less fat than their pre-menopausal colleagues. These changes mean that their cells are not only storing more fat, but are also less willing to part with it. This combination is a recipe for rapid weight gain.
Scientists have long known that lower estrogen levels after menopause causes fat storage to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdomen, but they didnt know why it happens. While this study does not offer any solutions for menopause belly fat, it does answer the question of why it happens. Knowing why it happens, opens the door to finding a solution.
Even women who have been thin all their lives experience the accumulation of menopause belly fat. This is distressing not only because it alters a woman’s body image and her sense of well-being, but also because belly fat can dramatically increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. A recent study found that women who are of normal weight but have menopause belly fat, have a higher death risk than those who are obese.
Until researchers find the solution for the enzyme and protein change that causes menopause belly fat, it is advisable to follow the most healthy diet regimen, to reduce the amount of food that you consume and to do at least 3o minutes of aerobic activity every day.