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Top 3 Supplements to Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms

Approximately 65-75% percent of women will experience symptoms during their peri-menopausal years as they transition into full menopause(1), and report suffering from things like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep and mood disturbances. Hormone replacement

2021-04-08 20:48:36

Red CloverEPOProbioticsperi-menopausemenopause


Menopause is defined as having no menstrual flow for at least 12 months. In the years prior to achieving full menopause, women will go through peri-menopause where they will begin to experience irregular menstrual periods and fluctuating hormone levels. Approximately 65-75% percent of women will experience symptoms during their peri-menopausal years as they transition into full menopause(1), and report suffering from things like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep and mood disturbances. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an option to help alleviate some of these symptoms but many women are not keen on this option as there are some risks associated with these therapies that can lead to weight gain and potentially increased risks of breast cancer and other estrogen associated cancers. HRT can be very effective and if carefully monitored and prescribed a safe option for younger perimenopausal women and when treatment is needed for less than a few years. However 25% women will remain symptomatic for more than five years and 10-15% will continue to experience symptoms into their 60’s and 70’s, for which HRT should not be recommended (2). So for these reasons many women turn to lifestyle and nutritional options as well as neutraceuticals or herbs. 

Here are some options that you may want to consider if you find yourself entering into this new chapter of your life and are experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms.

Red Clover

Pytoestrogens are compounds in several plants that have estrogen like effects. They are currently the most popular alternative form of therapy for menopausal support(2). Isoflavones are one class of phytoestrogens and Red Clover is known as a good source of isoflavones. While soy is a more commonly known source of isoflavones, the form of isoflavones found in is harder for the body to absorb then the form that is found in greater amounts in red clover. A systematic review of red clover showed significant reductions in both hot flash and night sweat frequency(3). Studies have also shown improvements in bone mineral density and feelings of depression and anxiety, which are both significant symptoms that can occur in women transitioning to their menopausal years. Studies have also looked into safety and red clover dose not appear to increase breast density (a risk of developing breast cancer) or increase endometrial thickness, indicating that it appears to be a safe option for those who may be concerned about hormonally related cancers(3). 

 

Probiotics

Many chronic diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis all increase with the onset of menopause due to decreasing levels of estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in regulating fat deposition, blood vessel health and bone health among other things. Certain gut bacteria help regulate levels of circulating estrogen in the body and thus keeping get bacteria in balance can help keep estrogen levels balanced(4). By keeping more estrogen recirculating in the body during menopause, there can be a decrease in menopausal symptoms but also better protection against these chronic conditions. Certain healthy gut bacteria also help breakdown soy isoflavones to allow the body to absorb them. As mentioned above isoflavones appear to be helpful for menopausal complaints, so increasing their absorption is another way that probiotics may also help menopausal women(5).

 

Evening Primrose Oil

Cognitive and mood disorders are often a symptom that women experience as they enter menopause due to declining estrogen levels. Evening primrose oil (EPO) from the seeds of the Evening Primrose plant, is rich in omega-3 which has shown to be effective in improving psychological symptoms such as depressive mood, anxiety and irritability(6). A randomized placebo controlled study, had women receive 1000mg of EPO or placebo for 8 weeks. At the end of the study psychological scores for depression, anxiety, irritability and mental exhaustion, significantly improved in the group receiving EPO(6). There are also studies to show that EPO may also decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats(7). 

 

 

 1.        Geller SE, Studee L. Botanical and Dietary Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms: What                    Works, What Doesn’t. J Womens Health 2002. 2005 Sep;14(7):634–49. 

2.         De Franciscis P, Colacurci N, Riemma G, Conte A, Pittana E, Guida M, et al. A Nutraceutical Approach to Menopausal Complaints. Medicina (Mex) [Internet]. 2019 Aug 28 [cited 2021 Mar 28];55(9). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780855/

3.         Pitkin J. Alternative and complementary therapies for the menopause. Menopause Int. 2012 Mar 1;18(1):20–7.

4.         Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45–53. 

5.         Vieira AT, Castelo PM, Ribeiro DA, Ferreira CM. Influence of Oral and Gut Microbiota in the Health of Menopausal Women. Front Microbiol [Internet]. 2017 Sep 28 [cited 2021 Mar 30];8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5625026/

6.         Sharif SN, Darsareh F. Impact of evening primrose oil consumption on psychological symptoms of postmenopausal women: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Menopause. 2020 Feb;27(2):194–8. 

7.         Farzaneh F, Fatehi S, Sohrabi M-R, Alizadeh K. The effect of oral evening primrose oil on menopausal hot flashes: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 Nov;288(5):1075–9. 


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