Fasting has its challenges despite the numerous benefits it offers our health. Do you know that these challenges affect men and women differently? Some evidence suggests that women might be more susceptible to the negative effects of fasting. Mind you; no one is saying women are fragile – and all other whatnots.
Funnily enough, women (mothers especially) love fasting while men dislike it. How come women are the susceptible ones?
Why is fasting challenging for women?
According to research, most of the challenges women encounter on fasting are primarily hormonal. How so?
Generally, both sexes have a hormone called Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GRH). This GRH regulates the activities of our reproductive organs. In women, GRH’s regulation functions are coordinated – and for good reasons. They decide the cycles and schedules of women’s ovulation.
Here’s the real thing:
At the slightest altercation to a woman’s routine, GRH is affected. In other words, fasting destabilizes GRH, and that is why it is more discomforting for women than men.
Again, there is a protein called Kisspeptin. This protein is higher in women, and it is very sensitive to fasting. So, fasting doesn’t only affect women’s GRH but their metabolism too.
Additionally, some other studies on the nervous system reveal some interesting findings of how fasting affects men and women. The findings are:
- Men become calm when they fast (parasympathetic response)
- On the other hand, women become stressed when they fast (sympathetic response)
Should women fast, even in the face of all these research findings?
Yes, women can still fast. However, they need to do it under the guidance of a physician. Luckily, this article has a summary of the necessary steps they need to take.
How women should fast differently?
Generally, women need estrogen and progesterone (women’s sex hormones) irrespective of their cycles. Remember, GRH stimulates the production of women’s sex hormones.
Mind you, GRH needs insulin and glucose to fuel the process. Now, the problem is that fasting depletes the body’s insulin and glucose reserves.
Common symptoms of low sex hormones as a woman
- Hot flashes
- Hair fall-out
- Belly weight
If you notice such symptoms, there is a way out: fast around your menstrual cycle as a woman.
How to fast around your menstrual cycle?
Fundamentally, there are three variations to women’s menstrual cycle. Here is how to fast around these variations:
Regular menstrual cycle
A woman in this category experiences the normal 28-day cycle. For her, she can fast as she pleases between day 1 and day 12.
At day 12 – 14, estrogen production is at its peak. It is best not to fast. If you must fast, maintain 13-15hours fasting. On day 21 – 28, progesterone production is at its peak. The side effect of fasting in this timeline includes anxiety and shut down all other hormones in a woman’s body.
Also, increasing your carb intake will improve the production of progesterone in your body. Hurray! No shutdown.
For a peri-menopausal woman, stop ketosis and fasting (at least for seven days). Next, increase your carb intake.
If after that, you don’t observe your cycle, try this hormone reset formula:
- 1 to 12 days – fast
- 12 to 14 days – hormone building
- 14 to 21 days – fasting
- Day 28 – hormone building
After menopause, ovaries in women shut down. At this stage, sex hormones are usually low. Therefore, fasting should be kept at a minimum. For a menopausal woman, intermittent fasting is the best.
Summarily, women should fast differently than men. The reason is not that they are fragile, but because they have strict bodily cycles and schedules.