Menopause and the associated hormonal changes may cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and side effects. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to alleviate them. In this article, we discuss what kind of menopause supplements and natural remedies may be effective at easing your symptoms. No matter which symptoms you’re experiencing or how severe they are, we hope you’ll find some useful tips to help you out!March 28, 2023 8:56 pm March 27, 2023 8:56 pm
What is menopause?
Menopause is the natural stage in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods come to an end. Officially, it occurs when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. However, the symptoms associated with menopause could last for several years. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can happen both earlier and later than this. Certain factors, such as smoking or having chemotherapy, may result in earlier menopause.
The driving factor behind menopause is a change in hormone levels, which is what many menopause supplements try to counteract. During the phase known as perimenopause, which happens before menopause, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body decline. Your periods tend to become irregular, and may be either lighter or heavier than usual. Finally, they will stop completely as ovulation ceases. After that, it is no longer possible to become pregnant naturally. The stage after menopause is known as post-menopause, during which your hormones will remain at this new low level.
Why do people take supplements for menopause?
Although menopause is an entirely natural process, it can bring with it some unpleasant side effects. This is because the affected hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – are involved in a wide variety of functions in the body. Taking certain kinds of menopause supplements may help to ease these symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flushes (or hot flashes)
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive
- A decrease in bone density
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Stiff or painful joints
- Dry skin, mouth, and eyes
- Mood swings
This is in addition to the changes in your menstrual cycle. Going through the menopause can also increase your risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Everyone’s experience of menopause is unique. Some people have lots of symptoms, others only a few. Likewise, they may vary in both severity and duration. The good news is that in many cases you can manage these symptoms through lifestyle changes, menopause supplements, and natural remedies.
What are the best supplements for menopause?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no simple answer to this question. This is partly because everyone goes through menopause differently. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. Similarly, the type and severity of symptoms you experience will influence how effective specific menopause supplements are for you. Moreover, the results from research into some popular menopause supplements – such as black cohosh and red clover – are still mixed.(1)
Having said that, there are certain nutrients that will be beneficial for almost everybody going through menopause. And as whole food advocates, we personally believe that the best technique is to include these in your diet. This is generally more effective than popping synthetic menopause supplements. That’s because consuming vitamins and minerals in food rather than isolated in a capsule allows all the micronutrients to work together synergistically. As such, they tend to be better at supporting your wellbeing.
With that in mind, let’s look at which particular nutrients are the best natural menopause supplements.
The best menopause supplements for bone health
One of the main concerns people have during menopause is the health of their bones. Oestrogen plays a key role in bone metabolism, helping to keep the skeleton strong and healthy.(2) The reduction in oestrogen during menopause can cause a decrease in bone density, making you more susceptible to fractures. It also raises the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle.(3)
This might sound intimidating, but you can help to protect your bones with natural menopause supplements and remedies. For example, calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone health. Some of the best sources include leafy green vegetables, nuts such as almonds, tofu, and beans.
Seeds are also high in calcium, and easy to add to your diet. For example, chia seeds contain over 600mg of calcium per 100g – significantly more than the equivalent amount of cow’s milk. Therefore, adding a sprinkle of chia seed powder to your meals could be a fantastic way to boost bone health.(4) Alternatively, tuck into our Greek olive crackers for a delicious mineral-rich snack!
Experts strongly recommend getting calcium from your diet rather than synthetic menopause supplements. This is because studies have found that taking calcium supplements may increase the risk of postmenopausal women developing cardiovascular disease.(5)
Vitamin D is another nutrient that’s vital for building and maintaining healthy bones. Sunlight is actually one of the best sources of the vitamin, so try to spend some time out in nature. However, for many menopausal women, relying on this method alone is insufficient – especially in the darker winter months. As such, it’s best to include vitamin D in your diet too. For example, mushrooms and hemp seed oil are both great plant-based sources of this key nutrient.
Figuring out phytoestrogens
Many of the symptoms that people experience during menopause are due to the decreasing levels of oestrogen in the body. One way to counter this is to take menopause supplements that contain synthetic oestrogen. However, a more natural alternative is eating foods which are high in phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds which mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body, helping to balance your hormones. Tofu, miso, tempeh, grapes, green tea, chickpeas, and seeds like flaxseeds and sesame seeds are all rich sources.(6) As an example, try drizzling pumpkin seed oil on top of dishes such as salad and risotto. This is a delicious and easy way to include phytoestrogens in your diet.
Studies have found that consuming phytoestrogens may work to reduce the frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women.(7) Research additionally shows that diets rich in soy can reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and the severity of menopausal symptoms.(8) This explains why soy isoflavones (a type of phytoestrogen) are a common ingredient in menopause supplements.
This finding is key, because it suggests eating soy could not only ease symptoms but also help counter the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with menopause. In fact, evidence indicates that phytoestrogens may additionally work to reduce atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) and related diseases.(9) Thus, these potent plant compounds can benefit cardiovascular health even further during menopause.
“It’s best to consume vitamins and minerals in food rather than taking synthetic menopause supplements. This enables the micronutrients to work together synergistically and boost your wellbeing more effectively.”
The best menopause supplements for heart health
Speaking of cardiovascular health, let’s discuss which menopause supplements best protect your heart. Once again, we recommend getting the nutrients you need from whole foods.
Most simply, eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables significantly reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.(10) Likewise, evidence suggests whole grains such as brown rice, amaranth, oats, buckwheat and quinoa could also lower the risk of heart disease.(11) Conversely, try to avoid consuming too much salt. This may raise your blood pressure, thereby increasing your risk of the condition.
Nuts and seeds are also beneficial for cardiovascular health in several ways. For example, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and could help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Moreover, studies link increased consumption of walnuts, almonds, and other nuts with a reduced risk of heart disease.(12)
One key nutrient to bear in mind when it comes to the health of your heart is potassium. This mineral works to support normal blood pressure, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.(13) Avocados, bananas, spinach, legumes, sweet potatoes and our crackers are all easy and delicious ways to acquire it.
Finally, tucking into foods bursting with antioxidants can be a great boost for heart health. Antioxidants help to protect cells against damage from free radicals, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic illness. Berries, dark chocolate, tomatoes, and green tea are all rich in wellness-enhancing antioxidant compounds that may protect your heart. You’ll find extracts of these sorts of ingredients in menopause supplements, however obtaining them from food is often more effective.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of the best strategies for protecting your cardiovascular health. Therefore, it’s preferable to focus on this rather than reaching for menopause supplements!
Hydrating supplements for menopause
Dryness is often an issue during