21 MENOPAUSE SUPPLEMENTS

You’d think that, by now, someone would have written the conclusive manual on how to handle menopause. I mean, women around the world have experienced it for millenia, right? Some people have tried, like Dr. Christiane Northrup with her Wisdom of Menopause book. In fact, there are a lot of books on menopause. But no book exists that has all the answers for every woman. That’s because–you guessed it–-every woman is different, and so is the way they experience menopause and the way they handle it. For those who choose to supplement or even replace HRT with botanicals, they have plenty to choose from, like black cohosh and ginseng. But the combination you choose depends a lot on your particular “medley” of symptoms. And some might be more effective for you than they are for others. Finding the menopause supplements that work for you might take time, money, and experimentation, but they can help relieve your symptoms. Get the information you need so you can make your best choice!

First, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to supplements:

  • In general, the greater your intake of an herb or supplement, the higher the chance of druglike effects. In other words, some menopause supplements can cause side effects, particularly when dosage recommendations are exceeded. Some herbs, in fact, can interact with some drugs in a way that decreases their effectiveness. Your best bet is to at least stick to the dosing recommended on the bottle, if not also inform your doctor of what you’re taking. 
  • Most of the herbs listed here have been used for centuries. However, very few of them have been studied extensively and little is usually known about how exactly they do what they do. Some of the studies that have been done on these herbs show little to no effect when compared to placebo.
  • Although advances have been made in the standardization of herbal supplement production, the consistency of quality and potency of any supplement can still vary widely between manufacturers and even between batches. Your best bet to ensure the supplement you take isn’t diluted with fillers and doesn’t contain any harmful substances is to look for third-party quality control, such as that offered by U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF.
  • Some of these menopause supplements contain phytonutrients, which means they act like a weaker version of the natural estrogen your body might be making less of. As such, they might only have been studied in the context of general symptom relief. Nothing can be said for sure about whether they’ll take away your hot flashes.
  • Most importantly, if you’re looking for that one perfect menopause supplement that does everything for you and has no side effects, chances are you won’t find it. If you do, it might lack potency. Although investigating supplements may take time, finding the right combination for you will be worth it.

21 Menopause Supplements

Ashwaganda

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Winter cherry
Indian ginseng
Withania somnifera
Reduces stress and anxietyLarge doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur. It is LIKELY UNSAFE to use ashwagandha when pregnant. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. There isn’t enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions.. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.

Relevant sources:

Black Cohosh

a.k.aWhat it can doThings to keep in mind
Bugbane
Rattleweed
Remifemin
decreases hot flashes and helps with mood swingsDr. Stephanie Faubion reports that it may interfere with effectiveness of tamoxifen; mild side effects, such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain. Cases of liver damage—some very serious—have been reported in people taking commercial black cohosh products. These problems are rare, and it is uncertain whether black cohosh was responsible for them. Nevertheless, people with liver disorders should consult a healthcare provider before taking black cohosh products, and anyone who develops symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal swelling, dark urine, or jaundice, while taking black cohosh should stop using it and consult a health care provider.

Not all studies demonstrate efficacy.

Relevant sources:

  • https://www.webmd.com/menopause/ss/slideshow-menopause
  • Faubion, S., Mayo Clinic The Menopause Solution: A doctor’s guide to relieving hot flashes, enjoying better sex, sleeping well, controlling your weight, and being happy! Time Inc. Books (2016).
  • Somers, S. I’m Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause. Harmony (2013).

Chasteberry

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Vitex agnus-castusgeneral menopause symptom reliefMay affect sexual desire, which is why it’s called chasteberry

Relevant sources:

Dong Quai

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Angelica sinensisRelieves hot flashesEvidence for its effectiveness is weak but there are no reported side effects.

Relevant sources:

Evening Primrose

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Suncups
Sundrops
Oenothera
Relieves hot flashesLimited evidence of its efficacy

Relevant sources:

Fennel

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Foeniculum vulgareRelieves general menopausal symptomsn/a

Relevant sources:

Flax Seed Oil

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Flax oil
Linseed oil
Relieves hot flashesn/a

Relevant sources:

GABA

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aRelieves stressn/a

Relevant sources:

Gingko biloba

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aimprove mood and memoryThe British Columbia Medical Journal reports that none of the studies that have been done on gingko biloba have shown any effectiveness in the relief of menopausal symptoms.

Relevant sources:

Ginseng

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aGeneral symptom reliefEvidence for its effectiveness is weak.

Relevant sources:

Glycine

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aHelps provide deeper sleepSome supplements useful during menopause may not provide symptom relief so much as protection against the deleterious effects of menopause on the bones, heart, and brain. This is one of those.

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Kava Kava

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aLowers anxiety

Relevant sources:

Lemon Balm

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
valerianHelps with stress, sleep, and anxietyTaking valerian is not recommended if you’re on any medications for sleep, pain, or anxiety, as it may have a compounding effect. It may also negatively interact with supplements like kava, melatonin, and St. John’s wort 

Relevant sources:

L-theanine

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aRelieves stressn/a

Relevant sources:

  • Snyder, M. The Essential Oils Menopause Solution: Alleviate Your Symptoms and Reclaim Your Energy, Sleep, Sex Drive, and Metabolism. Rodale Books (2021).
  • Somers, S. I’m Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause. Harmony (2013).

MACA

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Lepidium meyenii
Peruvian ginseng
Helps with sex drive issues

Relevant sources:

Melatonin

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aHelp with sleep issuesn/a

Relevant sources:

  • Allmen, T. Menopause Confidential: A Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Thriving Through Midlife. HarperOne (2016).
  • Faubion, S., Mayo Clinic The Menopause Solution: A doctor’s guide to relieving hot flashes, enjoying better sex, sleeping well, controlling your weight, and being happy! Time Inc. Books (2016).
  • Snyder, M. The Essential Oils Menopause Solution: Alleviate Your Symptoms and Reclaim Your Energy, Sleep, Sex Drive, and Metabolism. Rodale Books (2021).

Nigella Sativa

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Black cumin
Nigella
Kalonji
Regregulates hormonesWhole nigella seeds, which have an herby aroma, can be added to breads, salads, and other dishes for flavor, but they don’t offer the same benefits of supplements. 
Most studies done on nigella seeds and hormones were done on animals.

Relevant sources:

Puerara Mirifica

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Kwao KruaProvides protective effects

Relevant sources:

Red Clover

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Trifolium pratensegeneral symptom reliefEfficacy evidence is weak but it has no side effects.

Relevant sources:

Soy isoflavones

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
n/aProtects heart and bonesEfficacy evidence is weak.

Relevant sources:

St. John’s Wort

a.k.a.What it can doThings to keep in mind
Hypericum perforatumLowers anxiety and improves moodn/a

Relevant sources:

  • https://www.webmd.com/menopause/ss/slideshow-menopause
  • Faubion, S., Mayo Clinic The Menopause Solution: A doctor’s guide to relieving hot flashes, enjoying better sex, sleeping well, controlling your weight, and being happy! Time Inc. Books (2016).
  • Snyder, M. The Essential Oils Menopause Solution: Alleviate Your Symptoms and Reclaim Your Energy, Sleep, Sex Drive, and Metabolism. Rodale Books (2021).

1 Comment

  1. NATURAL ANXIETY REMEDIES - Smith Rexall on June 13, 2022 at 11:03 am

    […] As we’ve mentioned before, please keep some things in mind with any supplement you take: […]

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