Best Menopause Supplements and Vitamins in 2023
Are you navigating through the wave of hot flashes and unpredictable mood swings, not to mention the sleepless nights? If these symptoms of menopause are making you feel miserable, it’s time to chart a course toward relief.
Menopause, an inevitable phase in every woman’s life, brings its share of discomfort and challenges. However, the right tools can make this journey smoother, and that’s exactly where menopause supplements and vitamins come in.
The goal of this blog is to empower you by unveiling the best supplements for menopause. These natural solutions have the potential to alleviate your symptoms and enhance your health. Let’s delve into this enlightening journey of exploration, understanding, and empowerment, all aimed at helping you sail through menopause with grace and vitality.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause, often referred to as “the change of life,” is a natural biological process marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It’s not a disease or a disorder but rather a significant phase in every woman’s life cycle.
Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, when a woman’s ovaries gradually reduce the production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which regulate menstruation. The transition is officially recognized when a woman has not had a menstrual period for twelve consecutive months.
The primary trigger of menopause is the natural aging process. As a woman ages, her ovaries age too, reducing their function over time. This natural decline in ovarian function and hormone production triggers the onset of menopause.
Some women may undergo menopause earlier due to certain medical interventions such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hysterectomy. It’s also worth noting that smoking and certain genetic factors can contribute to earlier onset of menopause.
Understanding menopause and its implications is crucial for women’s health. Menopause is associated with various physiological changes and symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. Additionally, the decreased levels of estrogen that come with menopause can increase the risk of certain conditions, including heart disease and osteoporosis.
Thus, menopause is more than merely the end of fertility. It’s a complex process that affects many aspects of a woman’s health and well-being, and understanding it forms the basis of effective management.
What Are The Main Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause?
Menopause may present with a variety of signs and symptoms. These symptoms can greatly vary among women and significantly impact their quality of life. Some of them include:
- Irregular Periods: Often the first noticeable sign of approaching menopause is the change in menstrual cycle frequency until it eventually ceases.
- Hot Flashes: Sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the upper body, often accompanied by redness and sweating.
- Night Sweats: These can lead to sleep disturbances, causing frequent awakenings and overall poor sleep quality.
- Vaginal Dryness: This symptom can lead to discomfort during sexual intercourse and a possible decreased libido and general disinterest in sex.
- Physical Changes: These may include weight gain, thinning hair, dry skin, and loss of breast fullness.
- Emotional Distress: The physical symptoms can lead to emotional distress and interfere with daily activities.
- Sleep Disturbances: Long-term sleep interruptions can lead to chronic fatigue, impacting concentration and productivity.
- Mood Changes: These can potentially strain personal relationships and affect overall emotional health.
What Are Some Of The Main Medical Treatments For Menopause?
There are several medical treatments available to help manage the symptoms of menopause. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is often the first line of treatment, which involves supplementing the body’s declining estrogen levels. HRT can effectively relieve hot flashes and night sweats, and prevent bone loss.
Non-hormonal medications, like certain antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and anti-seizure medications, can also alleviate hot flashes. For vaginal dryness, topical estrogen creams, tablets, or rings can be applied locally.
Additionally, medications known as bisphosphonates and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) can help prevent or treat osteoporosis associated with menopause.
The Best Menopause Supplements in 2023
Owing to the possibility of adverse effects occurring from the use of prescription HRT or other therapy, supplements are highly sought after. The best supplements include:
Magnesium is an essential mineral vital for numerous biological functions. For menopausal women, it becomes particularly important as it aids in preserving bone health and preventing osteoporosis(1), a common issue in this phase. Additionally, it helps manage mood fluctuations, reduce depressive symptoms, and improve sleep quality, frequently disturbed during menopause. Recent research also suggests that magnesium may alleviate hot flashes, one of the most prevalent menopause symptoms, offering a significant relief option for many women.
Red Clover Extract
Red clover, a plant brimming with isoflavones – estrogen-like plant-based compounds – is commonly used to alleviate menopause symptoms. The isoflavones help balance hormone levels, reducing the intensity of hot flashes, and night sweats, and is especially good for reducing anxiety symptoms(2) and mood swings.
Although scientific results have been mixed, a significant number of women report considerable relief from uncomfortable symptoms with red clover usage.
Black Cohosh is a North American herb traditionally used for various menstrual and menopause symptoms. Several studies suggest that it can help mitigate hot flashes, elevate mood, and improve sleep patterns during menopause(3), providing a natural relief option. However, caution is recommended for long-term use, as it can potentially lead to liver issues. Regular monitoring of liver function is advised when taking black cohosh.
DHEA is a hormone naturally produced by our adrenal glands. It acts as a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. As DHEA levels decline with age, supplementation can be beneficial, improving sexual function, skin health, and bone density, and decreasing vaginal dryness during menopause. It’s a vital consideration for those seeking to manage menopausal symptoms effectively.
Maca, a plant native to Peru, has a rich history in traditional medicine. Its root is utilized to balance hormone levels(4), enhance libido, elevate mood, boost energy levels, and reduce anxiety and depression. Limited research exists on Maca’s effects on menopausal symptoms, but early results and meta-analyses suggest potential benefits, making it a promising natural solution.
Valerian root, renowned for its calming properties, is widely used to promote sleep and relaxation. For women struggling with sleep disturbances and anxiety during menopause, Valerian can offer significant relief(5). Preliminary research also indicates a potential reduction in hot flashes with Valerian use, positioning it as a valuable natural option for managing menopausal symptoms.
Panax Ginseng, also known as Korean Ginseng, is a staple in traditional medicine. It is celebrated for its capacity to reduce fatigue, enhance physical activity, and improve cognition. Some studies indicate its potential in reducing menopausal symptoms, particularly in relation to mood and sleep, making it a favorable natural supplement for women in this phase.
A herb indigenous to Thailand and Burma, Pueraria Mirifica is packed with potent phytoestrogens, especially miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol. It’s believed these phytoestrogens outperform others in efficacy. Some research suggests Pueraria Mirifica can effectively alleviate menopause symptoms(6), particularly hot flashes and night sweats, providing women with a potent natural treatment alternative.
Vitamin K is central to maintaining bone health and proper blood clotting. During menopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases, which makes Vitamin K an essential nutrient for postmenopausal women. Ensuring adequate Vitamin K intake can help protect bone health, contributing significantly to overall well-being during and after menopause.
Curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For menopausal women, curcumin can aid in managing joint pain and stiffness, common issues during this phase. Furthermore, its potential role in mood regulation can help ease depression and anxiety symptoms frequently experienced during menopause.
Omega-3 fatty acids, typically found in fatty fish, are essential fats crucial for overall brain health. They may help alleviate depression and mood swings during menopause, providing psychological relief. Moreover, Omega-3s can improve bone density and reduce heart disease risk, both key considerations for postmenopausal women.
Lion’s Mane, a type of mushroom, is revered for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s believed to boost cognitive function, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression(7), and support heart health. While research is still in the early stages, these potential benefits could be beneficial for women undergoing menopause.
Saffron, a valuable spice, offers various health benefits. It can potentially enhance mood and reduce depression symptoms, common issues during menopause. Some research also suggests saffron may help mitigate hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms(8), providing a natural solution for women.
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen in the body. They can be found in various foods, including soy, flaxseeds, and whole grains. By mimicking estrogen, phytoestrogens can help alleviate a variety of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and bone density loss. Phytoestrogens present a plant-based approach to managing menopause symptoms.
How to Choose the Right Menopause Supplement For Me
Choosing the right menopause supplement for you can feel overwhelming, given the multitude of options available. Consider the following factors to help you can find a suitable supplement.
- Your unique symptoms: Menopause affects every woman differently; while some may experience severe hot flashes, others might be dealing with insomnia or mood swings. Understanding your symptoms will guide your choice towards supplements known to alleviate those particular issues.
- Overall health status and any pre-existing medical conditions: Certain supplements may interact with medications or exacerbate medical conditions. For instance, if you have a history of liver issues, you might need to avoid supplements like Black Cohosh, which can potentially affect liver function.
- Professional guidance: This consultation is crucial because they can provide expert advice based on a comprehensive understanding of your health history, current medications, and specific symptoms. They can also monitor your response to the supplement and make necessary adjustments.
Choosing the right menopause supplement is a very personalized process. What works for one woman might not work for another. Remember, supplements are meant to support your health, not cause additional stress or complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Menopause Supplements Really Work?
The effectiveness of menopause supplements can vary greatly among individuals. Some women find significant relief from their symptoms with certain supplements, while others may not notice a difference. Several factors, including your individual body chemistry, the severity of your symptoms, and the quality of the supplement, can influence their effectiveness. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.
What Are The Best Menopause Supplements For Hot Flashes?
Some of the best menopause supplements for hot flashes include Black Cohosh, Red Clover, and Pueraria Mirifica, which contain phytoestrogens, substances that mimic the function of estrogen in the body. Additionally, other supplements like Magnesium and Vitamin E have been found to help reduce hot flashes in some women.
Which Supplements Are Best For Menopause-Induced Insomnia?
Supplements like Valerian root and Magnesium are often used to aid sleep disturbances, including those induced by menopause. They have calming properties and can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
What Are The Best Supplements For Mood Swings During Menopause?
For mood swings, supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Saffron, and St. John’s Wort can be beneficial. These supplements can help enhance mood and alleviate symptoms of depression, which can contribute to mood swings.
How Long Do I Need To Take Menopause Supplements For Them To Be Effective?
The length of time needed for a menopause supplement to become effective can depend on several factors, including the type of supplement, the severity of your symptoms, and your individual body chemistry. Generally, it may take a few weeks to a few months to start noticing a difference.
Are Menopause Supplements Safe To Take With Other Medications?
While many menopause supplements are generally safe, there is the possibility that they may interact with other medications. It’s essential to discuss any new supplements with your healthcare provider before starting them, especially if you’re already taking other medications.
Helpful Tips to Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Menopause can come with a myriad of symptoms, but implementing specific lifestyle changes can significantly help manage these and improve your overall well-being:
- Balanced Diet: Your food choices can influence how you navigate menopause. Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Foods high in phytoestrogens, like soy and flaxseeds, may help balance hormone levels. Additionally, ensure sufficient intake of calcium and Vitamin D to support bone health, as the risk of osteoporosis increases during menopause.
- Regular Movement: Exercise is crucial for overall health and especially beneficial during menopause. Regular physical activity can help manage weight gain, improve mood, promote better sleep, and maintain bone strength. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. This could be a brisk walk, swimming, cycling, or any physical activity you enjoy.
- Good Sleep Hygiene: Many women experience sleep disturbances during menopause. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene can greatly improve sleep quality. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a tranquil sleep environment, and develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine. Limit exposure to electronic devices before bedtime and avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime as they can disrupt sleep.
- Stress Management: Chronic stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep-breathing exercises, or any activity that relaxes and rejuvenates you.
- Avoid Triggers: Certain triggers can worsen symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Common triggers include hot weather, spicy foods, alcohol, and stress. While triggers vary among women, identifying and avoiding your personal triggers can make a big difference.
- Regular Health Check-ups: Regular health screenings can help detect changes early and address any health concerns promptly. Regular consultation with your healthcare provider can ensure that you are on the right track.
While menopause can be challenging, there are effective interventional steps that you can take to mitigate the severity of symptoms and discomfort felt. Among these, the use of well-timed supplements can make a huge difference, as can lifestyle changes that contribute to a more holistic health plan.
Just remember that you aren’t alone in this; support can come in the form of the smallest interventions that you make.
(1) Aydin, H., Deyneli, O., Yavuz, D., Gözü, H., Mutlu, N., Kaygusuz, I., & Akalin, S. (2010). Short-term oral magnesium supplementation suppresses bone turnover in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. Biological trace element research, 133(2), 136–143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-009-8416-8
(2)Lipovac, M., Chedraui, P., Gruenhut, C., Gocan, A., Stammler, M., & Imhof, M. (2010). Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts. Maturitas, 65(3), 258–261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.10.014
(3)Shams, T., Setia, M. S., Hemmings, R., McCusker, J., Sewitch, M., & Ciampi, A. (2010). Efficacy of black cohosh-containing preparations on menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 16(1), 36–44.
(4)Meissner, H. O., Mscisz, A., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mrozikiewicz, P., Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, T., Kedzia, B., Lowicka, A., & Barchia, I. (2006). Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS, 2(4), 375–394.
(5)Taavoni, S., Ekbatani, N., Kashaniyan, M., & Haghani, H. (2011). Effect of valerian on sleep quality in postmenopausal women: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 18(9), 951–955. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0b013e31820e9acf
(6)Virojchaiwong, P., Suvithayasiri, V., & Itharat, A. (2011). Comparison of Pueraria mirifica 25 and 50 mg for menopausal symptoms. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 284(2), 411–419. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-010-1689-5
(7)Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan), 31(4), 231–237. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231
(8)Kashani, L., Esalatmanesh, S., Eftekhari, F., Salimi, S., Foroughifar, T., Etesam, F., Safiaghdam, H., Moazen-Zadeh, E., & Akhondzadeh, S. (2018). Efficacy of Crocus sativus (saffron) in treatment of major depressive disorder associated with post-menopausal hot flashes: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 297(3), 717–724. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-018-4655-2
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Dr. Linnea Passaler
Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.