Interview with Dr Vera Martins, MPowder’s lead nutritional consultant.
When we started MPowder we set ourselves three goals:
Make products that do good. Our powders can’t fix every symptom the menopause may bring. But we can help you build the best nutritional foundation. We make sure that the dosages of our ingredients match those used in the most promising trials. Our recipes are then refined using the experience of nutritionists and naturopaths working directly with women experiencing the menopause every day.
Make products that taste good. Women can take 8-10 years to transition through the menopause. We don’t want to be a daily chore (frankly, we’ve enough of those in our lives already!). We want to deliver a tiny bit of joy in our blends. We hope our powders enhance your morning routine. Stir into yoghurt. Mix into your smoothie. Or go naked and blend with a good handful of ice and water.
Make products that are honest. Knowledge is power. We promise to share the insights and research that drive our business with you; from shining a spotlight on our core ingredients or other products and brands we love, to sharing the scientific papers driving medical guidelines. Our monthly subscription packs will be full of tips, stories and insights from our community. You can also follow us on Instagram or sign up to The Powder Room newsletter for regular updates.
Thank you to the expert team that work with dedication and determination to bring our range to life. As we prepare for launch in 2020, we wanted to celebrate their input.
First up in our interview series is Dr Vera Martins, MPowder’s lead nutritional consultant and a specialist in gut health, stress management and food inflammation. Vera provides rigour around our recipe blends as well as on-the-ground insights based on her experience supporting women through the menopause at both the Marion Gluck Clinic and her own private practice.
Vera is a naturopath and herbalist with a PhD in Biology. She is a member of the Association of Master Herbalists (AMH), the General Naturopathic Council (GNC) and the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (ANP). We asked her a little about her philosophy and approach to MPowder.
How has your training as a scientist influenced your approach as a naturopath and herbalist?
As a result of my scientific training, my naturopathic practice is very much influenced by implementing traditional therapies that have been validated by scientific evidence.
I turned to science to better understand nature and health; but studying naturopathy and herbal medicine gives me a much deeper and holistic understanding of health and the human being. Although the development of pharmacology has been an undoubted achievement, I think it has also distanced us from learning from and using the natural resources available to us. My experience taught me that the best approach to health and wellbeing combines the latest scientific developments with the healing power of nature - promoting the use of food, herbs and lifestyle changes, alongside conventional medicine.
What led you to focus on menopausal health in your practice?
I always had an interest in women’s health so it was only natural to become more and more curious about hormones and their role in a woman’s life. And working as the resident naturopath at the Marion Gluck Clinic has given me the opportunity to work with women on their menopause journey.
It is incredible how much naturopathic support through nutrition, herbs, supplements and lifestyle can help women addressing their menopausal symptoms. I’ve learned first hand that the menopause is a unique process of transformation that, when embraced allows for so much growth and personal development. It is nature giving woman a chance to reevaluate what does not serve her, learning more about boundaries, and prioritising nourishment and self-care.
What, in your view, are the most critical steps every women should take to nourish themselves through the menopause?
The best advice I can give women going through menopause is to look after the health of their digestive system and adrenal glands as much as possible. Although this is important at any age, there is no other time in a woman’s life where it becomes more critical. Digestive capacity starts to decrease during menopause affecting optimal nutrient absorption, increasing food intolerances and upsetting the balance of good bacteria in the gut (which have a key role in hormone metabolism and balance in the body). They should adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, eat probiotic foods, consider supplements such as digestive enzymes, ginger, turmeric and slippery elm.
The adrenal glands are a ‘saviour’ during menopause as they take charge of sex hormone production when the ovaries start to slow down. However, they are also responsible for the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Hectic lives and chronic stress can really take a toll on your adrenal glands, promoting cortisol at the expense of sex hormones. The best way to support your adrenal glands is to implement a good self-care routine by incorporating stress-management techniques into your daily life such as yoga, meditation, and make time for yourself. The earlier you start the better.
What, in your view, makes MPowder different from other menopausal supplements?
All the products are plant and food-based, with every ingredient carefully selected for its key properties and purity. What makes MPowder stand out even more from other menopausal supplements, is that we’ve been able to focus on 3 different formulas specifically addressing the 3 stages of menopause. Each formula was created with the purpose of balancing the right body requirements and the right stage.
How did you verify the ingredients used in the MPowder range?
I went through an extensive analysis of scientific evidence in the literature, then selected and researched in detail key clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals. My experience in clinical practice has also helped and inspired me.
Several of our ingredients also have been used successfully for centuries. It is so amazing to see science backing up what has been carried as knowledge by communities forever.
The Peri-Boost powder will launch first. What is your favourite ingredient in the powder - and why?
It is difficult to choose but I will celebrate the cinnamon! Peri-menopause symptoms can be quite similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms as a result of high hormone fluctuations. A very common symptom is sugar cravings - and when it comes to supporting sugar balance there is no better herb that cinnamon. Cinnamon regulates not only blood sugar but is also an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and a cholesterol-lowering agent. In tastes delicious too. What’s not to like?
The MPowder range is a foundation to a nourished body, not a silver bullet. What else would you recommend peri-menopausal women adding to their daily routine and why?
From a nutritional point of view women should not neglect good fats and protein in their diet. Healthy fats (look to oily fish, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds amongst others) should be consumed regularly as they are critical for hormone production and regulation. They are usually high in Omega-3, which can play an important role in cardiovascular health, brain health, mood, and skin amongst other health benefits. Become good friends with fat! - I promise it makes the transition through menopause so much smoother.
Note: Whenever considering supplements, make sure you talk to a doctor before incorporating into your diet, particularly if you’re about to have surgery, have an existing health condition, or are on blood thinners.