Menopause and the Importance of Nourishing your Neuroendocrine System

If you're anything like me you may find there are particular times when motherhood is more testing than others. Holidays can trigger a stress response in me, racing thoughts of one of the kids having an accident and the thought of the three of us being holed up in a hotel room for a week can invoke fear and anxiety.


Yet, this year I only snapped once and that was when we got my car back from the airport car parking and the exhaust sounded like I was driving a formula 1 car (haha I wish) and I then took the wrong exit....I momentarily lost my sh%t.

On reflection getting really good sleep lent itself to a stable mood (I just don't sleep as well at home.. I'm sat on the train to Birmingham as I write this and I woke last night literally on the hour) helped by long days spent in the healing prowess of the sunshine. 

Sunshine is our friend, it helps regulate our internal body clock, also known as our 'circadian rhythm'. It transpires that exposure to natural sunlight during the day helps increase the production of serotonin, the hormone that promotes feelings of well-being and relaxation; sunshine also helps to regulate the production of melatonin, the hormone that plays a crucial role in signaling to our body when it's time to sleep. By regulating our circadian rhythm and balancing hormone levels, exposure to sunshine can help improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Additionally, exposure to natural sunlight also bolsters mood and energy levels during the day, which can further enhance the quality of sleep at night. It was full sunlight in Morroco every day for a week which was total bliss to the senses.

I think the addition of taking antioxidant supplement L-Theanine (thanks to Davinia Taylor of Will Powders) an amino acid commonly found in tea leaves and some mushrooms, known for its ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve focus and mental clarity also REALLY helped. L-Theanine is often used as a supplement to help with anxiety, sleep problems, and cognitive function. What I hadn't realised, until on holiday whilst relaxing I caught a snippet of a podcast with a menopausal health specialist talking about the absolute importance of supporting the neuroendocrine system during menopause, was how L-Theanine must be supporting that system for me.

On further investigation, L-Theanine is considered a good neuroendocrine support because it has been shown to have calming effects on the brain and central nervous system. It is believed that it can increase levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, which all play a key role in regulating mood, behaviour, and stress response.

It has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect neurons and support overall brain health and has also been shown to improve cognitive function, focus, and attention.

Overall, L-Theanine is considered a safe and effective supplement for supporting neuroendocrine function and promoting a sense of calm and well-being.

So what actually is the neuroendocrine system?

The neuroendocrine system is responsible for regulating the release of hormones in the body and coordinating the communication between the brain and the endocrine glands.  It is responsible for regulating various physiological processes in the body, such as metabolism, growth, stress response, and reproduction. The neuroendocrine system is a system that involves the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system. It involves the release of hormones from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain, which then act on target organs to regulate their function. This system plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis and coordinating the body's responses to internal and external stimuli.


The importance of neuroendocrine health during menopause

Neuroendocrine health is important during menopause because this stage of life is characterised by significant hormonal changes that can impact both the nervous system and the endocrine system.  Anyone going through it will know that during menopause, hormone levels, specifically oestrogen and progesterone, begin to decline, leading to symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and cognitive changes. These hormonal fluctuations can also affect the functioning of the brain, leading to issues with memory, concentration, and mental clarity. Let me tell you I remember less and less and whilst on holiday with the kids, my friend and her son,  it became apparent what overwhelm also does to brain health. A study published in the journal Menopause in 2020 found that menopausal women experience changes in the neuroendocrine system, including alterations in stress responses and mood regulation. The researchers observed that declining oestrogen levels during menopause can impact the function of neurotransmitters and hormones involved in stress regulation, potentially leading to an increased risk of depression and anxiety in menopausal women. Another review article in the journal Endocrine Reviews in 2019, discussed the complex interplay between menopausal hormonal changes and the neuroendocrine system. The authors highlighted the importance of oestrogen in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which controls the body's stress response. They also pointed out that disruptions in this axis during menopause can contribute to mood disorders and cognitive impairment in menopausal women.

With the kids making friends and playing I spent much of the week in a silent retreat state needing to do nothing but rest and think about nothing. I could hardly recall a thing which made me realise the absolute need to properly switch off and take total rest.

In short a healthy neuroendocrine system can help regulate hormone production, improve mood and cognitive function, and support energy levels and overall vitality.

Eating a nutritious diet rich in foods that support brain health and hormone production,engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important factors in supporting neuroendocrine health. HRT also helps to balance hormonal levels and alleviate symptoms.

Food to support neuroendocrine health

Omega-3 fatty acids

Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and can help support the functioning of the neuroendocrine system.


Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help protect the brain and support neuroendocrine health.

Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in vitamins and minerals that support brain health and can help regulate hormone production.


Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help support brain health and reduce inflammation in the neuroendocrine system.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds like almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that support brain health and hormone production.


Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that can support brain health and hormone production.


Green tea

Green tea contains antioxidants and compounds that can help protect the brain and support neuroendocrine health.


Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids and antioxidants that can help protect the brain and support hormone production.


Probiotic-rich foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain probiotics that can support gut health, which is linked to brain health and hormone production.


Whole grains

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats provide complex carbohydrates that can help regulate blood sugar levels and support brain health.

I hope this read has been of some interest. 

The Skin Elixir blog is currently number 6 in the top 20 UK Skin Care Blogs