April 23

Menopause Supplements: Evidence-Based Options for Women

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menopause supplements

You may have noticed, there are a LOT of menopause supplements out there now, marketed at helping women through the menopause transition. But which ones are actually evidence-based and worth the money? That’s what we’ll take a look at in this article.

Perimenopause can be a tough time. As the transitional phase leading to menopause, it brings about a host of changes in a woman’s body. Hormonal fluctuations during this time can result in various symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, irregular periods, and disrupted sleep.

While these changes are, to a degree, a natural part of the transition, they can significantly impact our quality of life. And as a result, in recent years the market has exploded with various supplement options that can help manage symptoms.

You may also have noticed that they can end up costing you a small fortune. But do they actually work? Unfortunately, many supplements have very little research behind them to support the claims being made, and will only be impacting your bank balance.

But there are a few supplements that are worth taking a look at. So in this article, we’ll explore some evidence-based supplements that may offer some benefits for women navigating the challenging terrain of perimenopause.

First, let’s start with supplements that can help us at any stage of life, and potentially even more so around the age of menopause.

 

3 Key Nutrients We Benefit from at any Age (especially Menopause)

menopause food

Omega-3

Omega-3 is found in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and anchovies), flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. This is a powerful nutrient with anti-inflammatory properties and is essential for brain health. Studies have shown that supplementing with omega-3 can improve mood, reduce cognitive decline, and improve joint pain associated with perimenopause. Ideally, it’s best if we can get this from food – oily fish in particular. 2-3 servings of oily fish per week should provide what your body needs. But if you don’t eat fish, or consume less than this each week, an omega 3 supplement appears to be well worth taking.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in our bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. During perimenopause, hormonal changes can affect the way our body metabolises vitamin D, leading to a deficiency in many women. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, falls, muscle weakness, muscle pain, and mood disorders.

Again, using what’s available from the natural world – aka sunlight – is best if possible. Although even then, a supplement can still be needed, particularly in the winter months. 10-15 minutes of daily non-sunscreen sun exposure is ideal if you can get it. So with the infrequent appearance of the sun in places like the UK, a supplement is often still a helpful addition. The optimal dosage, and whether or not you need to supplement at all, depends on your current levels, which can be found out via a blood test. If this is difficult or you’re unsure, 1000-2000 IU is a standard dose that works well for many.

vitamin D

 

Magnesium

Magnesium has a host of important functions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, regulating blood sugar levels, and supporting bone health. Just as with the omega 3, it’s best if we can obtain most of this nutrient from our food. Below is a graphic of some of the best food sources.

Research suggests that supplementing magnesium can help reduce common perimenopause symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and muscle cramps. And one of it’s biggest potential benefits is it’s calming effect on the nervous system, which can promote better sleep. Try taking it around 30 minutes before bed if this is an advantage you’re looking for.

Somewhat confusingly, there are various types of magnesium in the supplement world. Magnesium oxide is commonly used, particularly in multvitamins, but it’s not well absorbed in the gut. For best results, magnesium glycinate is a good one to look for.

magnesium

 

‘Menopause Supplements’ that Can Help

You don’t need to take all of these. Have a read through of what they can help with, and if they sound useful I’d recommend picking just one to start with. Give it a few weeks to see if it helps, then either continue with it if it’s helping, or swap to a different option if it’s not doing much for you yet.

For up to date info on supplements and suggested dosages, head to Examine.com (an evidence-based website with lots of unbiased info on supplements and latest supplement studies) and search for any of these options.

 

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is derived from the roots of the plant Actaea racemosa. It has long been used in traditional medicine to alleviate menopausal symptoms, and several studies have investigated its efficacy in perimenopausal women. Research suggests that black cohosh may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flushes and night sweats. Additionally, it may have a mild antidepressant effect, and could help improve quality of sleep.

 

Soy Isoflavones

Soy isoflavones are compounds found in soybeans and soy products. They belong to a class of phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived compounds with oestrogen-like properties. Studies have shown that soy isoflavones may help alleviate menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes and vaginal dryness. These compounds bind to oestrogen receptors in the body, producing weak oestrogenic effects that can help balance hormone levels during perimenopause.

 

Ashwagandha

This is a supplement that’s native to India and North Africa, and has a growing body of research behind it, showing it’s benefits for reducing stress and anxiety. It may also lower cortisol levels, help reduce cholesterol levels, support thyroid and brain health, and improve quality of sleep. As an extra bonus, the anti-inflammatory properties of ashwaghanda could potentially help reduce inflammation and soreness, such as the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) experienced after a hard workout.

Ashwaghanda affects T3 and T4 thyroid hormones, so it may help with hypothyroidism. But if you’re on thyroid medications, don’t take this one.

 

My recent podcast episode with ‘Mrs Menopause’ Tanith Lee discusses some of these supplements, as well as many other useful tips:

Menopause Supplements for Women: Conclusion

Navigating menopause can be a challenging journey marked by hormonal fluctuations and uncomfortable symptoms.

As a nutritionist, personal trainer, and online coach, I will always advise focusing on the big rocks of food, exercise and lifestyle first, as they make by far the biggest impact. That includes quality nutrition, a balanced diet, regular activity, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, managing stress, connecting with others, resting, and having fun.

But there are supplements, such as those mentioned here, that can provide additional support and benefits at this time.

To be on the safe side, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. With the right approach, incorporating evidence-based supplements into your wellness routine can help ease the menopause transition, and improve overall quality of life.

 

To find out more about how I can help you, check out the link below:

Online Coaching for Health, Fitness and Weight Loss

 

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Tags

ashwaghanda, black cohosh, healthy habits, magnesium, menopause, menopause nutrition, menopause supplements, menopause support, omega 3, online coach for women, online nutrition coach, perimenopause, soy isoflavones, vitamin D, women's online coach


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