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Old 05-09-2013, 03:13 AM   #1
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Menopausal weight gain and thickening mid-sections: Mayo study

I read this some time last week and initially found it so dispiriting that I couldn't bear to discuss it. However, others may find it useful, particularly those who are peri-menopausal and might have an opportunity to get into fighting trim for their menopause.

I will say up-front that it's a small study and far from a mixed demographic and that it needs to be replicated elsewhere with a much larger study. I think a lot of us may feel that this is correct but we don't know it is until it's been tested more rigorously.

Scientists have long known that lower estrogen levels after menopause can cause fat storage to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. Now, a groundbreaking study, co-authored by the Mayo Clinic, has determined why: Proteins, revved up by the estrogen drop, cause fat cells to store more fat.

The study also revealed a double whammy: These cellular changes also slow down fat-burning by the body.

Even though the research doesn’t provide weight-loss solutions, it may bring a sense of relief to millions of middle-aged women who have been fighting an often losing battle against the dreaded “post-meno belly.”

“It doesn’t mean you’re absolutely doomed,” said Dr. Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and one of the study’s authors, “but it does mean it’s going to be harder, probably” to lose weight.
One of the observations that struck me was about the mid-section thickening.
Sylvia Santosa, an assistant professor of nutrition science at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, and the study’s co-author, added that while science doesn’t offer any fixes for the post-meno belly, the findings shed much-needed light on the issue. “It puts us one more step toward understanding how estrogen affects how and where we store fat,” she said.

Mary Rossi, 64, of Minneapolis, used to take pride in her “marked waist.”

Since menopause, she’s watched her midsection grow five inches, despite the fact that she now eats less and is still active. She’s healthy and her body is proportionate, but she says, “I’ve given up trying to go back to the waist I had when I was 50.”
I noticed this because although I'm nowhere near Rossi's age, I've noticed that I'm about 5inches broader in places now at this weight than I thought I would be (based on my memory of what size I was 4years ago, and the clothes I wore, when gaining the weight). I'd be downhearted to gain another 5inches (notionally, I only have another 5lbs to go to reach my target weight of 130lbs but I'm nothing like the size that I thought I would be - IYSWIM).

The paper is potentially interesting because [to me it is a sidelight] on some of the speculation around free fatty acid storage and mobilisation during the potato hack [because of the discussion in the paper about free fatty acid storage].

The paper is: Adipocyte fatty acid storage factors enhance subcut... [Diabetes. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI
Diabetes. 2013 Mar;62(3):775-82. doi: 10.2337/db12-0912. Epub 2012 Dec 3.
Adipocyte fatty acid storage factors enhance subcutaneous fat storage in postmenopausal women.
Santosa S, Jensen MD.

Last edited by SlowSure; 05-09-2013 at 03:52 AM.. Reason: clarity - I added material in []
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:41 AM   #2
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I couldn't get to the full article - I am curious what it was they said about the fatty acid storage and mobilisation related to the potato hack. I only did the hack for just over a day but I gained a couple of pounds so backed off. I was thinking more about a meat fast...

This article is a reminder for me to get back to a reasonable weight before I hit menopause. My mom is skinny-minny but she went through an illness and had to have surgery (whipple procedure in case anyone knows what that is) but it removed part of her pancreas and the bile duct and I always wondered how that was affecting her over all fat processing/storage. I also find it fascinating how the weight loss surgery (gastric bypass) that essentially cuts off part of the stomach is pretty much an immediate cure for insulin dependent diabetes. I suppose that is because you can't consume enough food to cause an insulin reaction? I don't know. I haven't found a good explanation for it (although admittedly did not do an exhaustive search).

The body is an amazing biologic machine. I am hoping IF is the 'hack' that works to get it, and keep it, skinny!!
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by phoenix17 View Post
I couldn't get to the full article - I am curious what it was they said about the fatty acid storage and mobilisation related to the potato hack.
I wrote that badly so I've edited it (new material in square brackets). The authors don't discuss the potato hack - they do discuss sex hormone changes and some particular proteins that seem to alter menopausal women's fat storage mechanisms and preferred places for depositing that fat.

I think that this might, at some point, offer an interesting sidelight on the potato hack, *if* it transpires that the hack is not just a hypocaloric way of eating, but that it is doing something to influence free fatty acid mobilisation from the body's fat stores.

Last edited by SlowSure; 05-09-2013 at 03:56 AM..
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:59 AM   #4
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This is very interesting reading and I have no doubt at all that its true. I have low estrogen levels -- in the past, when I supplement with synthetic estrogen (birth control pills) -- I immediately start losing inches around the waist and belly fat. Unfortunately, I can't tolerate the bcp side effects. So now, although I'm at a lower weight than I was this time last year, my waist is larger and I'm thicker around the middle. Grrrrrr.... I am going to try bioidentical hormone replacement, as I've heard it's particularly helpful for this issue.
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #5
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Awesome... I wonder at what was the caveman mechanism behind evolving that little gem. Hungry? No big deal. Once you eat though - if you're post menopausal you turn into a fat-storing machine!
Maybe, um, you're not fertile anymore so you're no longer useful to the tribe so you'd better store as much future energy from each meal you eat cuz someone might decide to cut you off if food stores get scarce?

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