Posted by PatchMD.com on 11/9/2018
Taking menopause supplements is an increasingly popular alternative to hormone therapy. For women who experience troublesome menopause symptoms, adjusting their nutrient intake may help to rebalance hormone levels naturally. Although you may not think that hot flashes and night sweats are related to nutrition, there’s an interesting link between the hormones that cause them and your diet. In this article, we look at some common menopause symptoms along with supplements that can treat them effectively.
Common Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is a perfectly natural stage in the aging process that typically occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. In industrialized countries such as the USA, the average age is 51 years. It’s often pre-empted by the onset of the perimenopause which usually happens around 47 years of age.
Menopause is actually caused by a decrease in estrogen production. This is a female sex hormone that controls the release of eggs from the ovaries on a monthly basis. As hormone levels are reduced, the egg release becomes less consistent which results in irregular periods. During this transition, the menstrual cycle becomes less predictable and eventually stops altogether.
As your estrogen level decreases, it has a number of other knock-on effects within your system. This leads to a range of changes occurring in the body, some of which can be uncomfortable. Although many women experience an easy transition into menopause, others suffer from issues that affect their quality of life for several years. Menopause symptoms include:
- hot flashes - sudden sensations of heat that last for a short time, often in the chest, neck and face, which can result in sweaty or red skin
- difficulty sleeping - which can lead to feeling tired or irritable the following day
- night sweats - experiencing hot flashes during the night
- a decrease in sexual function, drive, or discomfort during sex
- vaginal dryness, itching, or pain
- problems with concentration or memory
- mood swings or changes in mood, such as anxiety or depression
- a decrease in muscle mass
- joint aches, pains, or stiffness
- palpitations - noticeably feeling your heartbeat
- urinary tract infections (UTIs) that reoccur on a regular basis
Some menopausal women are also at an increased risk of developing other health issues, such as osteoporosis. Early menopause has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. If you’re concerned by any of the menopause symptoms you’re experiencing, then talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.
Best Menopause Supplements for Easing Symptoms
The best vitamins for menopause symptoms are the B-vitamins family along with vitamin D. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re consuming enough essential minerals such as calcium and selenium to aid natural hormone production. There are also other menopause supplements that can address specific symptoms such as trouble sleeping. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
Also known as Riboflavin, vitamin B2 supports the estrogen production and can therefore help stave off its natural decline. It’s a key component of important coenzymes that are involved in the production of energy, metabolism of fats, along with the development and function of cells. Without sufficient B2 levels, your body won’t be able to carry out many of the essential everyday processes it needs to function correctly.
For menopausal women, its hormonal effects and fat metabolizing properties may help to prevent unwanted weight gain. Riboflavin can also prevent and treat migraines so may be beneficial for those whose symptoms include headaches. It also has a bonus benefit of helping to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Milk and eggs are both good sources of vitamin B2.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) also plays a crucial role in the production of estrogen along with other hormones. Supplementing your intake to ensure you consume sufficient amounts may help to slow the decrease in your estrogen so that symptoms are milder than they would be otherwise. It is also known to decrease cholesterol levels in the blood which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke. Niacin is also associated with greater bone mineral content in post-menopausal women which indicates that it may help prevent osteoporosis.
Another important function of vitamin B3 is in the brain. Not only is it prescribed to prevent premenstrual headaches but it may also improve menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, memory problems, and trouble sleeping. This is because hormonal changes can affect neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin. These influence how we think, feel, and even our ability to fall asleep easily. So, it's important that any menopause supplements you choose will support the mental-health symptoms that many women experience.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
Most people know that folic acid is vital for a healthy pregnancy but few realize its importance during menopause. This vitamin manufactures the estrogen hormone so, like the other B vitamins, it can help to make your menopause much easier. In fact, research by Bani et al (2013) found that folic acid was an affordable and accessible method for treating hot flashes in menopausal women. The study shows that taking 1mg per day reduced the frequency, severity, and duration in women. It’s also been linked to reducing mental health-related menopause symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, folic acid is one of the menopause supplements that most women should consider.
During the menopause, it’s common for women to experience a decrease in vitamin B12. This can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as mood swings. In fact, the Office on Women's Health recommends that women aged over 50 years should consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 daily.
It’s therefore important to supplement daily with vitamin B12 so that your levels don’t decrease. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then you are more likely to be deficient, since meat, eggs, and milk are the main sources. However, you can also consume seaweed, sauerkraut, and soy-products to increase your intake.
Vitamin D & Calcium
Having low levels of vitamin D or calcium can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. This can result in brittle bones that are more prone to fracture and breakage. The last thing anyone wants in the years after the menopause is a broken hip or replacement procedure.
While it’s crucial to maintain healthy vitamin D and calcium levels throughout the lifespan, it becomes even more important during the menopause. This is because bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt to maintain their strength. However, these processes can get messed up during the menopause which leads to more bone being broken down than rebuilt. This makes them weaker and more likely to break but consuming sufficient vitamin D and calcium can help to prevent this.
Research suggests that the estrogen decrease associated with the menopause may cause a decrease in selenium. This can accelerate the process of aging and increase the risk of other diseases such as cancer. The reason for this is that selenium is an important part of our antioxidant system which protects against damaging free radicals that are caused by the aging process.
Increasing your selenium intake can therefore help your cells and tissues to stay healthy. Skin cells can become damaged as we age which can contribute to both wrinkles and vaginal dryness. By ensuring you consume sufficient selenium, you give your cells the best chance of repairing themselves and maintaining their health for longer.
Low selenium levels are associated with higher LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, both of which can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. It’s therefore thought that maintaining healthy levels of selenium can help to protect against high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks.
Curcumin is what gives turmeric its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. The compound has been shown to be beneficial for combatting several symptoms of the menopause as it’s a phytoestrogen. This is basically a plant form of estrogen which means it can mimic many of the functions of the hormone. Consuming curcumin can help to regulate estrogen levels so that symptoms such as hot flashes and UTIs are less severe.
Curcumin can also combat unwanted weight gain during the menopause. The change in hormone levels can disrupt normal fat storage processes and lead to excess weight around the stomach. However, curcumin can help to regulate fat metabolism and stop new fat cells from being formed. It can also inhibit the inflammatory effects of fat cells which have recently been linked to cancer. Curcumin is one of the best all-round menopause supplements for tackling multiple symptoms.
Black Cohosh Root Extract
Extensive scientific research has shown that black cohosh root extract can ease some symptoms of menopause. It’s been linked to a reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes, as well as more general menopausal symptoms. One study compared its effects with a pharmaceutical equivalent and found that the natural supplement produced the same beneficial effects. Even more promising was the fact that there were fewer side effects associated with it, suggesting it may be a safer alternative.
Many women have problems sleeping during the menopause. This is because a decrease in estrogen affects the production of neurotransmitters that trigger sleep. The release of melatonin in the brain is what tells your body it’s time to shut down and relax, but this can be affected during menopause. This makes it harder for women to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, something that can be compounded by night time hot flashes.
Taking a melatonin supplement before bed can help to trigger the body’s natural sleep cycle. It’s a non-drowsy alternative to sleeping pills that won’t leave you feeling tired the next day. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms that affect your sleep, then this can be a simple way to get the rest you need.
Menopause Supplements for Treating Symptoms
Taking menopause supplements can help you to address your symptoms and ensure a smoother transition. Increasing your intake of B-vitamins can mitigate against the decrease in estrogen which contributes to many symptoms. Taking vitamin D and calcium can help to protect against the increased osteoporosis risk associated with menopause. Maintaining your selenium levels can boost your antioxidant status while melatonin can aid sleep so you feel well-rested and have more energy.
Shop Our Menopause Patches
We offer high-quality menopause supplements in patch form which means you don’t’ need to worry about the digestibility of tablets or gastrointestinal side-effects. They are available as a day or night patch and specifically designed to address the most common menopause symptoms. Both patches contain D, calcium, selenium, and a range of B's, plus our unique PMD complexes that include curcumin and melatonin in the night patch.
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