Mini Mikkipedia - Alcohol in perimenopause

Hey team, Milki here. You're listening to Mini-Mikkipedia on a Monday. And today I wanna chat about alcohol and perimenopause and why your tolerance for alcohol diminishes over time and potentially what you can do about it. So first up, I will say this isn't going to be a lecture on alcohol as a toxin because I think we all know that it is. It particularly...

It's really been highlighted probably for anyone that follows Huberman and people like that, that he's really sort of drilled home, you know, no, there's no safe amount of alcohol, which of course, Cliff and I and Darren discussed in a recent podcast and around the fact that actually with any kind of toxin, the dose makes the poison. And it's not true to say that no amount of alcohol is safe. However, please don't take that as.

us advocating for large amounts of alcohol. And actually, to be fair, as you age, you're probably less likely to want to drink a ton of alcohol because it just makes you feel so much worse than it used to. And this is just a conversation that I have time and again with clients. Sometimes, you know, when people come to me and they've got symptoms in and around perimenopause, like weight gain, migraines, tender breasts,

low mood, itchy skin, hives, unable to sleep. A large part of those symptoms can be mitigated by dropping alcohol. And it's not a conversation that people wanna be on the end of, you know, like having someone say, you know, you really should consider sort of giving up alcohol. But it is a reality that in our perimenopause age, we just can't tolerate it to the same extent.

It's a bit sad though too, right? Because not everyone drinks to excess at all. And the types of and amounts of alcohol I'm talking about isn't even in excess. It might even be just one or two glasses of wine and you feel terrible the next day. You've got that low mood. You feel hungover. It's partly due to the lack of sleep that you got the night before because of the effect that alcohol has on sleep architecture. So you are unable to get the same.

quality of sleep and you skip certain phases of sleep that help restore and make you feel refreshed and you sort of feel a bit ripped off really because it was only one or two glasses of wine and this is how you feel. Whereas you know back in the day 10-15 years ago you could not back half a bottle and I'm not saying this is a good thing but you could to a bottle and I know people who would do that and they'd be fine, absolutely fine.

But unfortunately, with the changing hormones, that's not the reality for a lot of us now. And I will say it's not everyone. Like there are women who are completely impervious to the impact of alcohol on their sleep and on their sort of subsequent mood and symptoms, which is awesome because they may not even be that symptomatic in and around perimenopause. And around 10% of women aren't. But for those of us who may experience

the sort of negative impact, it can be a little bit disheartening. It's kind of like, does this mean I can't drink my wine anymore? And it might be for some women that that is actually the reality, that overall, a lot of their symptoms would be largely resolved if making alcohol a special occasion treat rather than something you do weekly was the change that you made. But you would actually see

a lot of improvement. So I already mentioned a lot of the symptoms that people can experience with alcohol and two potential mechanisms for why we can't tolerate alcohol to the same extent. The first one is that we lose some of the enzymes that are responsible for the metabolism of alcohol. So particularly there is an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase and this lowers.

as we go through the hormonal changes of perimenopause. And this enzyme, which is lower to begin with in women, it isn't available to break down alcohol, then the effects of alcohol are gonna be far worse in the system. So that is gonna change, and that does change through perimenopause. The other thing is, is that estrogen clearance can be an issue when you drink alcohol, because everything goes through the liver to be metabolized and dealt with.

that because your body will prioritize alcohol over and above metabolizing other things, if you experience bad fluctuations with your estrogen levels, and in perimenopause, your estrogen levels can be three times higher than what they would be normally across your reproductive years, then this is going to have consequences for the symptoms that you experience across perimenopause time.

because what happens is because your liver deals with the alcohol first, it means that estrogen clearance isn't a priority. So we can have higher amounts of estrogen in the blood and a large part of the symptoms that occur is the fact that there is high estrogen levels around. So that is another way whereby alcohol worsens the symptoms associated with perimenopause. And of course, the third way is histamine.

Wine as a fermented beverage can contain more sort of histamine and we can get much more of a histamine reaction from wine because of the interrelationship between histamine and estrogen. And the thing is with histamine is that histamine creates mast cell activation and this can occur with these histamine containing foods and drinks like wine as I mentioned.

And whilst histamine is essential for the body, supporting your immune system, getting rid of allergens, it can lead to an allergic response, such as the itching, redness, swelling, or sneezing. And estrogen stimulates that mast cell activation, and it can actually decrease an enzyme called the DAO enzyme, which is responsible for clearing histamine.

And then subsequently histamine stimulates the ovaries to make more estrogen. So it's sort of like this cycle. If you're consuming wine, particularly red wine containing histamine, and this is leading to less clearance of estrogen in the system that will stimulate that mast cell activation, reduce the DAO enzyme, and then the DAO enzyme is unable to clear out the histamine and that stimulates further estrogen. So it is this super.

frustrating cycle that can occur and it's worsened by alcohol. And that's the other mechanism that's suggested plays into this unfortunate reality that we just can't tolerate alcohol to the same extent. So of course the big question is, you know, does this mean that you can't drink wine or can't have any alcohol? Which is a really good question. And I think ultimately it comes down to knowing.

knowing the basis and the mechanisms with which alcohol can impact you. And then you just make your decisions right, because we are all adults. However, there can be some workarounds, which I'm not going to say this is a magic bullet, and it's certainly not a get out of jail free card. But you know, if you do have occasions whereby you really want to enjoy a glass of wine, but you want to minimize some of those symptoms that might occur with it, then there are some things that you can do.

potentially. The first one is choosing an organic or biodynamic wine, rather than a wine that has a lot of other pesticides that might be used in it, or other constituents that can cause sensitivities. So that is one of the recommendations for drinking alcohol. But of course, you can omit wine entirely and drink

clear spirits with mineral water, mineral water containing some electrolytes that just might help with the hydration piece. I mean, first and foremost, I would say limit the amount that you drink when you drink. I mean, I think that hopefully that just goes without saying anyway. But if you do drink, these are some of the things that you could possibly consider. Hydration is key because obviously alcohol is dehydrating and that dehydration leads to a stress response in the body.

that can lead to that sort of like increased anxiety at night when you wake up and you feel super stressed and you're not able to sleep properly. So staying hydrated is key. So making sure you're getting in before you go to bed and particularly throughout the day when you are planning on having a drink, you're not only having water, but you're also having electrolytes like the MNRL product or like Elite Hydration or Element. So you're getting the sodium that you need to...

cold water into the cells. They can go a large way towards mitigating some of these symptoms. Now alcohol is really depleting of B vitamins. And in fact, taking B vitamins before you drink can help mitigate some of that depletion that occurs. And low B vitamins can lead to lower mood and lower neurotransmitter production. So ensuring adequate B vitamins could be a good idea.

And this would be as simple as taking a good quality B complex. And it might be like the Thorn Stress B, or it might be Go Healthy, their professional series, they've got an active B supplement. Also, Jarrow and Now, these are two brands that you find on iHerb, and they also have Methyl B options. And...

you do want to be mindful with your B complex to get a form that your body can just use straight away and it doesn't have to sort of go through hoops to convert it into different forms of your B vitamins. And I've talked about it before actually in the B12 episode but you want to steer clear of a B12 form that is a Cynacobalamin and that is spelled C-Y-N-A Cynacobalamin C-O-B-A-L-I-M. So

you want a methyl cobalamin or you want a hydroxocobalamin. Those are two different forms of the B vitamins. The ones that I suggested you purchase would do the job. So you'd want to take a couple of them a couple of hours before you have a drink. Something else is the DAO enzyme. I mentioned that histamine response can occur because your body's unable to break down histamine. So taking a DAO enzyme,

before you drink as well can help provide additional support with that. And then of course, having something sort of prophylactically if you like to help support your liver. So a liver support sort of supplements like a milk thistle or burdock extract might have some chicory root. Like there are plenty of these type of liver support supplements on the market. So I would definitely consider something like that as well just to help.

protect your liver because that's the thing that's doing the work. Of course, the other thing that which I hear recommended quite a bit is activated charcoal and this does actually bind toxins and it isn't a bad idea to consider taking activated charcoal but you really want to be mindful that it actually binds everything. So if you're having a drink or a night where you're going to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine over dinner but you know that it really does impact you then.

I would take those supplements I mentioned, the B vitamins, the DAO, and the liver support supplements before having a drink. Then I would take the activated charcoal afterwards. The information that I've heard, it doesn't really matter whether you take it before or after. You just want to separate the supplements that you're taking to help support your body from the thing that you're taking that will bind everything up.

you do want that space between the activated charcoal and the other vitamins. And worst case scenario, you forget everything and you come home and you want to try and fit everything in, then you would take the B vitamins, the DAO, and the liver support, and then you'd wait about 45 to 60 minutes, and then you'd take the activated charcoal, albeit that might make for a late night.

And what I would also say is that some people really get quite revved up with B vitamins. So this is another reason why taking them earlier rather than later is a better idea because they can help keep you alert and awake. And that's not necessarily what you want when you're about to go to sleep. I would also add, you know, timing is really important. Like a lot of the symptoms associated with alcohol do come from that knock on effect on our sleep. So the earlier you drink, the better.

Now, I'm not necessarily advocating day drinking, but what I am suggesting is potentially enjoying a wine before dinner rather than after dinner will just give you a couple of extra hours of having it being cleared from your system as well. So don't forget that, you know, timing is really important with this. Ultimately though, these are just little strategies that you can do and it's certainly not a band-aid approach for anyone who really

significantly suffers when they drink alcohol. And in fact, if this is you, then ultimately, your best approach would be to avoid it. And look, for what it's worth, as I understand, the worst of the symptoms occur during perimenopause. So this is not a forever strategy for you necessarily. You know, you might find that you can come back and enjoy a glass of wine with very little negative impact.

once you are through menopause. But you've got to get everything else, I think, all your ducks in a row, if you want to enjoy a drink. So make sure you're hydrated, make sure you've got those nutrients, and potentially look at that activated charcoal as a bit of a backup. I think these are all absolutely fine to do. But again, if alcohol really impacts you quite negatively, then I think your best approach is probably to avoid whilst you're going through the worst of your symptoms. And then of course,

There are so many other symptoms or strategies that can help support your hormones, which is obviously why I did my webinar yesterday. It might be that if you work on a lot of those other areas, then enjoying the odd glass of wine is not going to be this huge deal for you. It's just weighing up, I guess, everything. That's just some...

strategies that I've been thinking about and chatting about with regards to alcohol and perimenopause. And I hope it at least gives you some strategies that you could try. Let me know if you do. Or a little bit of hope that, you know, just because you're experiencing this now doesn't mean it's going to be forever. And I will end on this though, is that I talk to a lot of women who have excessive alcohol intake.

and it's just been normalized over a decade or longer. And it's what they do is they have two to three big glasses of wine a night. And if that is you, then that is not a healthy thing to do. And I would highly recommend, my best recommendation is to make moves to reduce. I would be remiss if I didn't add that. All right, team. So you can catch me over on threads, Instagram,

Twitter @mikkiwilliden, Facebook @MikkiWillidenNutrition, head to my website, and you can catch the recording of the Masterclass. This will be going up in a week or so, so you can catch it after the fact. It will be on sale then. Or book a call with me if you want to talk more individual approaches to your perimenopausal journey. All right, team, have the best week. See you later.