Ultimate Guide to the Best Supplements for Menopause in 2023

As women transition into the menopausal stage, finding effective ways to manage and alleviate their symptoms becomes a priority. Menopause, while a natural part of aging, can bring about various physical and emotional challenges that impact daily life. This article examines the top supplements designed to help women navigate this significant life event more easily and confidently.

By understanding the importance of addressing these symptoms and exploring the wide range of dietary supplements available, women can take an active role in maintaining their overall health during this transformative period.

Understanding Menopause

Menopause is a natural biological process that defines the end of reproductive years for women, typically occurring after age 45. This phase is characterized by the cessation of menstruation due to the ovaries ceasing production of progesterone and estrogen. Factors such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or primary ovarian insufficiency can sometimes lead to early menopause. The transition into menopause, known as perimenopause, can last four to eight years. [1]

Common symptoms experienced during this transitional period include: 

  • insomnia
  • night sweats
  • hot flashes
  • vaginal dryness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • mood swings
  • weight gain

These symptoms result from a decline in ovarian follicles and granulosa cells, which are responsible for producing estradiol and inhibin. [2]

As these cells decrease, hormonal imbalances arise, leading to lower estrogen and progesterone levels and increased follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormone levels. This altered hormonal profile gives rise to irregular menstrual cycles that eventually cease altogether, and hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed.

Menopause symptoms can negatively impact a woman’s quality of life, causing discomfort, sleep disruption, and fatigue. Intimate relationships may suffer due to vaginal dryness and urinary issues, while mood swings and concentration difficulties can strain personal and professional connections. Changes in body composition can also affect self-esteem and overall wellness. Addressing these challenges is crucial for maintaining a satisfying life during menopause.

Role of Nutrition in Menopause

Nutrition is crucial during menopause, as a balanced diet can help mitigate symptoms. Hormonal changes affect glucose and lipid metabolism, making nutrient intake vital. Women should consume high-fiber whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and oily fish while reducing cholesterol, processed fats and sugars, and alcohol. A healthy diet supports weight management, lowers cardiovascular disease risk, and maintains energy levels, ensuring a smoother menopause experience.

How to Relieve Menopause Symptoms with Supplements

Relieving menopause symptoms through natural means, such as physical activity and supplements, is a viable option for many women. Activities like yoga can be particularly beneficial for managing psychological & vasomotor symptoms [3], while strength and resistance training, combined with high-impact exercises like skipping, jumping, and jogging, are crucial for maintaining muscle mass, bone mineral density, and optimal bone health. [4]

Various supplements have been explored for their potential to alleviate menopausal symptoms and reduce the severity of menopause-related discomforts. However, consulting with healthcare providers before starting any menopause supplement regimen is essential, as individual needs and medical conditions may vary. A professional can guide you in selecting the most appropriate supplements and ensuring their safe and effective use in managing menopause symptoms.

Best Supplements for Menopause in 2023

Below are some of the best menopause supplements that are backed by research:

Magnesium

A pilot study with 38 women showed that taking 250mg of time-release Magnesium before menstrual cycles significantly reduced general PMS symptoms, confirmed by self-assessment (33.5%) and investigator assessment (35.1%). The supplement was taken for an average of 27.9 days. [5] Another study found that 200mg of Magnesium relieved premenopausal symptoms, and combining it with 50mg of Pyridoxine (B6) slightly reduced anxiety-related symptoms. [6]

Red Clover Extract

As a treatment for menopause, red clover seems to provide modest and inconsistent advantages in enhancing health and decreasing hot flashes. A slight decrease in menopause-related anxiety has been observed in one independent study. [7] Additionally, postmenopausal women reported a significant improvement in sleep quality, with a 70-73 point increase on a 0-100 rating scale (compared to a 10-16 point increase for the placebo group). [8]

Black Cohosh

Studies suggest that Black Cohosh may positively affect hot flashes and night sweats. While numerous studies support this claim, some are unblinded and may be subject to the placebo effect. Additionally, in double-blind studies, the benefits of Black Cohosh may be difficult to isolate due to the presence of other supplements. [9][10]

DHEA

DHEA is a hormone made by the adrenal glands that helps produce estrogen and testosterone. It’s commonly used as a supplement for bone and cardiovascular health, depression, healthy aging, longevity, and sexual dysfunction. Research shows it can significantly increase estrogen levels, particularly in menopausal women. [11]

Maca

Maca supplementation has been found to decrease symptoms related to menopause. Along with a possible increase in libido, it has also been shown to reduce anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, and depression. [12]

Valerian

Valerian is known for its calming effects and can help with anxiety and menstrual pain. Studies show that valerian extract may also effectively reduce hot flashes and insomnia in menopausal women. [13]

Panax Ginseng

Panax Ginseng appears to be effective for immunity, mood, and cognition. It may alleviate certain menopause-related symptoms, specifically those related to libido. [14]

Pueraria Mirifica

Research has shown that Pueraria Mirifica can be highly effective in reducing menopausal symptoms, with one study finding that it performs similarly to estrogen replacement therapy. [15]

Vitamin K

Vitamin K, like Vitamin D, is fat-soluble and essential to calcium metabolism. Vitamin K supplementation can slow down bone loss in older postmenopausal women, leading to a noticeable improvement in bone mineral density. [16]

Curcumin

Postmenopausal women may benefit from the combination of curcumin and physical activity, as it has shown to decrease blood pressure and improve vascular endothelial function. [17]

Omega 3s

Fish oil’s fatty acids impact neurotransmitter production, influencing the hypothalamus and menopausal symptoms. Studies indicate soybean and fish oil improve menopausal symptoms without affecting triglycerides, cholesterol, or TSH [18]

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane has been shown to alleviate menopausal symptoms, primarily because of its well-documented antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. [19]

Saffron

Research indicates that Saffron may alleviate symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and inflammation and improve sleep quality. One study found that it led to a significant decrease in hot flashes. [20]

Phytoestrogens

Plant estrogens known as phytoestrogens are fundamentally the same as those produced naturally in the human body. These estrogens can be found in various superfoods such as soy, broccoli, legumes, oranges, and tea. Recent studies suggest that plant phytoestrogens show potential in improving skin health, and could be a viable treatment for postmenopausal women. [21]

How to Choose and Use Supplements Safely

To safely use menopause supplements, choose high-quality products from reputable manufacturers with third-party testing. Consult your healthcare provider for appropriate supplements and dosages. Follow their recommendations and disclose all medications to avoid harmful interactions. These precautions ensure safe and effective supplement use during menopause.

Conclusion

In conclusion, supplements can play a significant role in managing menopause symptoms and improving overall health during this transitional phase. By selecting high-quality products and following professional guidance for appropriate use, women can safely incorporate supplements into their menopause management plan.

It is essential to seek personalized advice from healthcare providers to determine the most suitable supplement regimen tailored to individual needs. Taking control of menopause symptoms through informed choices and expert consultation can lead to a smoother, more comfortable experience during this crucial life stage.

References:

[1] Peacock K, Ketvertis KM. Menopause. 2022 Aug 11. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29939603.

[2] Burger HG, Hale GE, Dennerstein L, Robertson DM. Cycle and hormone changes during perimenopause: the key role of ovarian function. Menopause. 2008 Jul-Aug;15(4 Pt 1):603-12. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318174ea4d. PMID: 18574431.

[3] Shepherd-Banigan M, Goldstein KM, Coeytaux RR, McDuffie JR, Goode AP, Kosinski AS, Van Noord MG, Befus D, Adam S, Masilamani V, Nagi A, Williams JW Jr. Improving vasomotor symptoms; psychological symptoms; and health-related quality of life in peri- or post-menopausal women through yoga: An umbrella systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Oct;34:156-164. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.08.011. Epub 2017 Aug 24. PMID: 28917368; PMCID: PMC6980280.

[4] Martyn-St James M, Carroll S. A meta-analysis of impact exercise on postmenopausal bone loss: the case for mixed loading exercise programmes. Br J Sports Med. 2009 Dec;43(12):898-908. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.052704. Epub 2008 Nov 3. PMID: 18981037.

[5] Quaranta S, Buscaglia MA, Meroni MG, Colombo E, Cella S. Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of a modified-release magnesium 250 mg tablet (Sincromag) for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. Clin Drug Investig. 2007;27(1):51-8. doi: 10.2165/00044011-200727010-00004. PMID: 17177579.

[6] De Souza MC, Walker AF, Robinson PA, Bolland K. A synergistic effect of a daily supplement for 1 month of 200 mg magnesium plus 50 mg vitamin B6 for the relief of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Mar;9(2):131-9. doi: 10.1089/152460900318623. PMID: 10746516.

[7] Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, Gocan A, Stammler M, Imhof M. Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts. Maturitas. 2010 Mar;65(3):258-61. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.10.014. Epub 2009 Nov 30. PMID: 19948385.

[8] Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, Gocan A, Kurz C, Neuber B, Imhof M. Effect of Red Clover Isoflavones over Skin, Appendages, and Mucosal Status in Postmenopausal Women. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2011;2011:949302. doi: 10.1155/2011/949302. Epub 2011 Nov 1. PMID: 22135679; PMCID: PMC3206499.

[9] Philp HA. Hot flashes–a review of the literature on alternative and complementary treatment approaches. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Aug;8(3):284-302. PMID: 12946239.

[10] Osmers R, Friede M, Liske E, Schnitker J, Freudenstein J, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH. Efficacy and safety of isopropanolic black cohosh extract for climacteric symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2005 May;105(5 Pt 1):1074-83. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000158865.98070.89. Erratum in: Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Sep;106(3):644. PMID: 15863547.

[11] Genazzani AD, Stomati M, Bernardi F, Pieri M, Rovati L, Genazzani AR. Long-term low-dose dehydroepiandrosterone oral supplementation in early and late postmenopausal women modulates endocrine parameters and synthesis of neuroactive steroids. Fertil Steril. 2003 Dec;80(6):1495-501. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2003.06.005. PMID: 14667889.

[12] Meissner HO, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski J. Use of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun;1(1):33-45. PMID: 23674952; PMCID: PMC3614576.

[13] Taavoni S, Ekbatani N, Kashaniyan M, Haghani H. Effect of valerian on sleep quality in postmenopausal women: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Menopause. 2011 Sep;18(9):951-5. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31820e9acf. PMID: 21775910.

[14] Kim SY, Seo SK, Choi YM, Jeon YE, Lim KJ, Cho S, Choi YS, Lee BS. Effects of red ginseng supplementation on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2012 Apr;19(4):461-6. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3182325e4b. PMID: 22027944.

[15] Chandeying V, Sangthawan M. Efficacy comparison of Pueraria mirifica (PM) against conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) with/without medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) in the treatment of climacteric symptoms in perimenopausal women: phase III study. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007 Sep;90(9):1720-6. PMID: 17957910.

[16] Ushiroyama T, Ikeda A, Ueki M. Effect of continuous combined therapy with vitamin K(2) and vitamin D(3) on bone mineral density and coagulofibrinolysis function in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2002 Mar 25;41(3):211-21. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5122(01)00275-4. PMID: 11886767.

[17] Akazawa N, Choi Y, Miyaki A, Tanabe Y, Sugawara J, Ajisaka R, Maeda S. Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutr Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):795-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 15. PMID: 23146777.

[18] Purzand B, Rokhgireh S, Shabani Zanjani M, Eshraghi N, Mohamadianamiri M, Esmailzadeh A, Alkatout I, Gitas G, Allahqoli L. The comparison of the effect of soybean and fish oil on supplementation on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020 Nov;41:101239. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101239. Epub 2020 Sep 18. PMID: 32979708.

[19] Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231. PMID: 20834180.

[20] Kashani L, Esalatmanesh S, Eftekhari F, Salimi S, Foroughifar T, Etesam F, Safiaghdam H, Moazen-Zadeh E, Akhondzadeh S. Efficacy of Crocus sativus (saffron) in treatment of major depressive disorder associated with post-menopausal hot flashes: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Mar;297(3):717-724. doi: 10.1007/s00404-018-4655-2. Epub 2018 Jan 13. PMID: 29332222.

[21] Tumsutti P, Maiprasert M, Sugkraroek P, Wanitphakdeedecha R, Bumrungpert A. Effects of a combination of botanical actives on skin health and antioxidant status in post-menopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2022 May;21(5):2064-2072. doi: 10.1111/jocd.14345. Epub 2021 Jul 21. PMID: 34260808; PMCID: PMC9292526.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

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.