Best Supplements and Foods That Fight Hot Flashes in 2023

The quest for effective remedies against hot flashes – those sudden feelings of warmth often associated with menopause – remains a priority in 2023. Hot flashes can interrupt your daily routine, disrupt sleep, and lower your quality of life. The key to managing them could lie within our diet and supplement intake.

This article highlights some of the best foods and supplements to help combat menopause symptoms of hot flashes. We’ll delve into how making specific dietary adjustments could be your secret weapon in managing them, giving a sense of control over your body’s responses.

Understanding Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are sudden, brief periods of heat and sweating, most commonly affecting women during menopause due to hormonal changes. These episodes can occur anytime, lasting from a few seconds to several minutes.

The cause is linked to decreased estrogen levels that disrupt the body’s internal temperature control, leading to increased blood flow to the skin.

The Role of Diet in Managing Hot Flashes

A healthy diet plays a pivotal role in managing hot flashes. Certain stimulants like spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol can trigger hot flashes by raising body temperature. On the other hand, foods that fight hot flashes, like soy foods, and those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseeds and fatty fish, can alleviate symptoms. This is due to compounds like isoflavones in soy that mimic estrogen’s effects and omega-3s, which help regulate body temperature.

Top Foods That Help Combat Hot Flashes

Fruits, vegetables, and soy-based foods like tofu and edamame are beneficial due to their hormone-regulating properties. A plant-based diet of phytoestrogen-rich foods such as berries, apples, broccoli, carrots, rice, legumes, oranges, sesame seeds, barley, oats, lentils, and tea are also beneficial. Healthy fats, such as fatty fish, coconut & olive oil, chia seeds, ghee, and avocados, can also help control hot flashes.

Interestingly, a blend of plant phytoestrogens may alleviate intense hot flashes and improve skin health in postmenopausal women. [1] This is likely due to the estrogen-like effects of phytoestrogens that can compensate for the decreased estrogen levels during menopause.

It’s important to incorporate protein into your diet; consider cooling foods like cucumber and mint from traditional Chinese medicine, and remember to stay hydrated. Small changes like adding seeds to your smoothie or switching to soy milk could make a significant difference. However, always consult with a healthcare provider before making significant dietary changes.

Foods to Avoid When Experiencing Hot Flashes

Certain foods and drinks can trigger or worsen hot flashes, including spicy foods, caffeine/coffee, alcohol, and processed sugars and fats. These substances can stimulate the body’s heat response, causing a rise in body temperature and leading to hot flashes.

Spicy foods can trick your body into thinking it’s hot, while caffeine and alcohol can affect your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. Processed sugars and fats, on the other hand, can cause inflammation which may exacerbate hot flashes. Avoiding these triggers can help manage hot flash symptoms.

The Power of Supplements in Fighting Hot Flashes

Dietary supplements can play a significant role in managing hot flashes, offering concentrated doses of beneficial compounds in foods, and helping regulate hormonal imbalances and body temperature, relieving hot flashes.

Magnesium

In a pilot study, 38 women took 250mg of time-release Magnesium before their menstrual cycles. They found a significant reduction in general PMS symptoms when they assessed themselves (33.5%) and when the researchers assessed them (35.1%). On average, the women took the supplement for 27.9 days, starting one day before their first cycle and stopping when their second cycle began. [2]

Pueraria Mirifica

Pueraria Mirifica has powerful effects on menopausal symptoms, as shown by a study that suggests it may be just as effective as estrogen replacement therapy. [3][4]

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh, a North American supplement, is highly sought after for its effectiveness in treating the vasomotor symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes and night sweats. Numerous studies have shown a positive impact on these symptoms, although it is important to note that many of these studies are unblinded. [5]

Milk thistle

One study found that milk thistle can help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Over 12 weeks, silybum marianum extract improved the frequency of hot flashes from 4.3 per day to just 1.3 per day. Additionally, the severity of hot flashes decreased from 5.3 out of 10 to 1.6 out of 10. In comparison, the placebo did not significantly impact these outcomes. [6]

Maca

Several studies have noted reduced symptoms associated with menopause with Maca supplementation; libido was possibly independently increased, but anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, and depression appear also to be reduced. [7]

Dong quai

A combination supplement consisting of angelica gigas (dong quai), Cynanchum wilfordii, and Phlomis umbrosa, taken at 257.05mg twice daily for 12 weeks, significantly reduced menopausal symptoms in women. The symptoms decreased to 38% of their initial severity, compared to a decrease of 81% in the placebo group. These benefits were observed across all measured symptoms, including vaginal dryness. [8]

DHEA

Decreases in menopausal symptoms have been noted with DHEA supplementation. There appears to be a notable increase in estrogen, with most research being conducted in menopausal women. [9]

Vitamin E

In one study, the use of vitamin E showed a significant reduction in hot flashes compared to the placebo. The first noticeable effect was observed after eight weeks of therapy. [10]

Saffron

Saffron shows promise in relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, inflammation and promoting better sleep, with one study showing a significant decrease in hot flashes. [11]

Astaxanthin

A study found that taking astaxanthin (0.27mg) in combination with other ingredients like lycopene, calcium, vitamin D, and citrus bioflavonoids (specifically hesperidin) reduced symptoms by 48% compared to a 10% increase seen in the placebo group. The symptoms that improved the most were hot flashes, libido, depression/anxiety, incontinence, and vaginal dryness. [12]

While these supplements can successfully fight menopausal hot flashes, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen for a personalized protocol.

Can a mindfulness practice reduce hot flashes?

Mindfulness can enhance overall well-being and lessen the occurrence of hot flashes in women with premature ovarian insufficiency who do not use hormone replacement therapy. A study showed that quality-of-life scores improved in the mindfulness group, decreasing from 95.6 at the start to 77.32 after eight weeks and 48.32 at the 3-month follow-up. Conversely, the control group experienced increased scores, from 99.5 initially to 100.2 after eight weeks and 102.6 after three months. [13]

Conclusion

In conclusion, treating hot flashes requires an all-encompassing strategy. Diet and dietary supplements can be powerful tools in this plan, relieving these common menopausal symptoms. Foods that help regulate hormones and body temperature, alongside beneficial supplements, can make a significant difference.

However, what works may vary from individual to individual. It’s encouraged to explore different dietary options and supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider to find what works best for you. Remember, a proactive approach to managing hot flashes can lead to a more comfortable and enjoyable life during and after menopause.

REFERENCES:

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] Virojchaiwong P, Suvithayasiri V, Itharat A. Comparison of Pueraria mirifica 25 and 50 mg for menopausal symptoms. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2011 Aug;284(2):411-9. doi: 10.1007/s00404-010-1689-5. Epub 2010 Sep 26. PMID: 20872225.

[4] 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.

[5] Bai W, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Wang S, Zheng S, Liu J, Zhang Z, Geng L, Hu L, Jiao C, Liske E. Efficacy and tolerability of a medicinal product containing an isopropanolic black cohosh extract in Chinese women with menopausal symptoms: a randomized, double blind, parallel-controlled study versus tibolone. Maturitas. 2007 Sep 20;58(1):31-41. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2007.04.009. Epub 2007 Jun 22. PMID: 17587516.

[6] Saberi Z, Gorji N, Memariani Z, Moeini R, Shirafkan H, Amiri M. Evaluation of the effect of Silybum marianum extract on menopausal symptoms: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2020 Dec;34(12):3359-3366. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6789. Epub 2020 Aug 6. PMID: 32762030.

[7] Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia I. 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. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Dec;2(4):375-94. PMID: 23675006; PMCID: PMC3614644.

[8] Chang A, Kwak BY, Yi K, Kim JS. The effect of herbal extract (EstroG-100) on pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):510-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3597. Epub 2011 Sep 2. PMID: 21887807.

[9] 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.

[10] Ataei-Almanghadim K, Farshbaf-Khalili A, Ostadrahimi AR, Shaseb E, Mirghafourvand M. The effect of oral capsule of curcumin and vitamin E on the hot flashes and anxiety in postmenopausal women: A triple blind randomised controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan;48:102267. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102267. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31987231.

[11] 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.

[12] Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Cornelli U, Dugall M. MF Afragil® in the treatment of 34 menopause symptoms: a pilot study. Panminerva Med. 2010 Jun;52(2 Suppl 1):49-54. PMID: 20657535.

[13] Pyri F, Abedi P, Maraghi E, Jefreh MG. The Effect of Mindfulness on Quality of Life among Women with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Midlife Health. 2021 Apr-Jun;12(2):116-121. doi: 10.4103/jmh.JMH_66_20. Epub 2021 Jul 27. Erratum in: J Midlife Health. 2021 Jul-Sep;12(3):250. PMID: 34526745; PMCID: PMC8409706.

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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.