Menopause-Associated Lipid Metabolic Disorders and Foods Beneficial for Postmenopausal Women.

Nutrients. 2020;12(1)
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Menopause is the absence of menstruation due to the loss of ovarian activity with ageing. During this transition period, changes in hormones, primarily the decline in the oestrogen estradiol, give rise to altered lipid metabolism. An unfavourable lipid profile presents a risk for metabolic disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Post-menopausal changes also lead to shifts in body fat and fat distribution, resulting in an increased tendency for central fat accumulation and obesity. Obesity is associated with insulin resistance. This susceptibility for weight accumulation is possibly also driven by the age-associated decline in skeletal muscle, which reduces metabolic energy expenditure. This review summarizes the physiology of menopause and postmenopause and the consequential impact on lipid metabolism. In addition, there is a discussion of dietary recommendations, nutritional and plant-derived compounds that could support the management of menopause associated changes in lipid levels, metabolic risk factors and obesity. The recommendations discussed include traditional healthy diets and low-calorie diets, with attention drawn to adequate protein intake. Furthermore, the role of probiotics, nutritional and plant-sourced constituents are considered, including Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants like Vitamin A, β-carotene, Vitamin C and E, genistein, resveratrol, flavonoids, indoles and capsaicin. The authors advocate sourcing these compounds from a varied whole-foods diet, which would minimize nutrient interactions and absorption issues that can occur with supplementation. This review may be of interest to those supporting the nutritional needs of menopausal and post-menopausal women, that are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing metabolic disorders.


Menopause is clinically diagnosed as a condition when a woman has not menstruated for one year. During the menopausal transition period, there is an emergence of various lipid metabolic disorders due to hormonal changes, such as decreased levels of estrogens and increased levels of circulating androgens; these may lead to the development of metabolic syndromes including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Dysregulation of lipid metabolism affects the body fat mass, fat-free mass, fatty acid metabolism, and various aspects of energy metabolism, such as basal metabolic ratio, adiposity, and obesity. Moreover, menopause is also associated with alterations in the levels of various lipids circulating in the blood, such as lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triacylglycerol (TG). Alterations in lipid metabolism and excessive adipose tissue play a key role in the synthesis of excess fatty acids, adipocytokines, proinflammatory cytokines, and reactive oxygen species, which cause lipid peroxidation and result in the development of insulin resistance, abdominal adiposity, and dyslipidemia. This review discusses dietary recommendations and beneficial compounds, such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, phytochemicals-and their food sources-to aid the management of abnormal lipid metabolism in postmenopausal women.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Menopause
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Exercise and movement
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Review