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Feb 28, 2019 Diet & Nutrition Samantha Mainland 6,086 views

For most, menopause is a huge deal. It’s often a time of unwanted or unexpected and sneaky changes to your confidence, temperature, mood, sleep, relationships, body shape and/or food cravings, to name a few. Menopause can be a tough time already, but with all this in mind, should you consider intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting can be done at any life stage, but no matter what stage you’re in, it can be quite challenging.

But what if intermittent fasting reduced your menopause symptoms? Improved your brain function? Helped you age? Gave you your body shape back?

Would it be worth it then?

A 2013 study[1] examined the hypothesis that intermittent fasting delays normal-aging and genetically-linked peripheral nerve damage. Animal studies have suggested a significantly positive impact on the notably vulnerable nervous system. Human research[2] has confirmed this by suggesting a food fasting technique (16hr fasting every other day) has the strong potential to protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. In fact, recent studies[3],[4] have led researchers to conclude that by improving your glucose disposal (via intermittent fasting) you are helping to avoid 60% of the cognitive decline that occurs when we age.

Impressive, right?

Similarly, intermittent fasting is believed to optimise fat development and distribution[5], optimise energy metabolism and expenditure [5], and improve body fat, without decreasing calorie intake[7]. In fact, a 2012 animal study[8] showed that the timing of food intake was the key. Those subjects that were exposed to time-restricted feeding (a form of intermittent fasting) were protected against the excessive body weight that the subjects eating freely developed. Both groups ate the same amount of food, just the timing was different (spread out throughout the day or limited to a ‘feeding window’). This suggests that time restricted feeding can reprogram energy metabolism and body weight regulation. Is it time to consider shortening your food window to a 6hr block in the daylight hours? No need to reduce your intake, just the timing.

Not convinced you can lose weight?

A review and collaboration of human studies[9] has found that fasting (eating no more than 800cals/day for 1-6 days/wk) resulted in an average 7kg weight loss over a 3-12mth period. If that doesn’t sound fast enough or big enough for you, don’t forget that a 5% reduction in body fat can significantly improve your insulin response[10], body shape and very potentially your menopause symptoms.

Interested in seeing what you can do?

Speak with the team at the Australian Menopause Centre to see what is right for you.


[1] Lee S, Notterpek L. Dietary restriction supports peripheral nerve health by enhancing endogenous protein quality control mechanisms. Exp Gerontol. 2012;48(10):1085-90.

[2] Raefsky SM, Mattson MP. Adaptive responses of neuronal mitochondria to bioenergetic challenges: Roles in neuroplasticity and disease resistance. Free radical biology & medicine. 2017;102:203-16.

[3] Zheng F, Yan L, Yang Z, Zhong B, Xie W. HbA1c, diabetes and cognitive decline: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Diabetologia. 2018;61(4):839-48.

[4] Schilling MA. Unraveling Alzheimer’s: Making Sense of the Relationship between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease1. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD. 2016;51(4):961-77.

[5] Li G, Xie C, Lu S, et al. Intermittent Fasting Promotes White Adipose Browning and Decreases Obesity by Shaping the Gut Microbiota. Cell Metab. 2017;26(4):672-685.e4.[6]

[7] Hatori M, Vollmers C, Zarrinpar A, DiTacchio L, Bushong EA, Gill S, et al. Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell metabolism. 2012;15(6):848-60.

[8] Hatori M, Vollmers C, Zarrinpar A, DiTacchio L, Bushong EA, Gill S, et al. Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell metabolism. 2012;15(6):848-60.

[9] Harris L, Hamilton S, Azevedo LB, Olajide J, De Brun C, Waller G, et al. Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports. 2018;16(2):507-47.

[10] Clamp LD, Hume DJ, Lambert EV, Kroff J. Enhanced insulin sensitivity in successful, long-term weight loss maintainers compared with matched controls with no weight loss history. Nutr Diabetes. 2017;7(6):e282. Published 2017 Jun 19. doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.31

About The Author - Samantha Mainland

Samantha is a highly educated Naturopath having graduated from both Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Naturopathy, and University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Medicine Management with Professional Honours in Complementary Medicine.

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