Posted by on Sep 29, 2008 in weight gain | 2 comments


Midsection weight gain is a hard pill to swallow, especially when you’re doing all the things that experts keep telling you to do, like watching your diet, exercising and limiting indulgences. In fact, it’s been reported that women in their midlife years gain as much as 1.1 pounds yearly over a five-year period, which places the odds of gaining weight about twice the average rate.  So what gives?

Last week, I wrote a post on the importance of moving your body. Several experts chimed in and added that regular weight training and a change in how and what you eat might help to stave off those pounds. In the particular report cited above, researchers wrote that the one pound a year weight gain equated with only an extra 10 calories a day and suggested that small, sustained changes in daily physical activity and diet can prevent further weight gain. Okay, that sounds reasonable, right?

Another study, published last year in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, showed that weight gain and changes in waist circumference in midlife are associated with both regular aging and  changes in ovarian function.  The good news in this study was that while waist circumference increased over a 6-year period, the rate of increase slowed one year after the final menstrual period.

BTW, the reason for the buildup of fatty of tissue has to do with balance. That is, as estrogen production declines, the body starts to rely on secondary production sites, such as body fat and skin. So, fatty tissue starts function like an endocrine organ instead of simply a passive vessel for energy storage. The body also struggles to hold onto bone mass and may compensate for its loss by holding on to extra body fat longer.

The news isn’t all bad however.

That ‘Old Black Magic’ has struck again!

Results of an animal study in the journal Maturitas show that black cohosh extract attenuates body weight gain and accumulation of intrabdominal fat and also lowers glucose levels to the same extent as estrogen. The effect on blood fats in this study was a bit more complex; black cohosh extract was associated with higher LDL-cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride levels and estrogen, the exact opposite. The researchers remain uncertain how these effects ultimately influence weight gain as well as associated health risks, such as the metabolic syndrome.

These study results undoubtedly need to be replicated in humans. But they do suggest a potentially viable strategy to battle weight gain: black cohosh.

So, perhaps the trifecta in overcoming menopausal weight gain is diet, exercise and black cohosh. Only time will tell.


  1. 9-30-2008

    Keep us posted – that would be nice, huh?

  2. 9-30-2008

    Good information here!

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