Why not treat menopause in a natural way? Completely natural and effective products to treat and reduce its symptoms
- 1. What is the Menopause?
- 2. Menopause Symptoms
- 3. Side effects of the menopause in the long term
- 4. Benefits of using dietary supplements for menopause
- 5. Protein for the Menopause
- 6. Vitamin D
- 7. Vitamin K2 for the Menopause
- 8. Omega 3 for the Menopause
- 9. Vitamin B12
- 10. Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium for Menopause
- 11. Soy Isoflavones for Menopause
- 12. Black Cohosh for Menopause
- 13. Melatonin
- 14. Evening Primrose Oil for the Menopause
- 15. Red Clover for Menopause
- 16. Lignans for the menopause
- 17. Hop extract for the menopause
- 18. Tryptophan for the menopause
- 19. 5-HTP for the menopause
- 20. Who can benefit from taking dietary supplement for the menopause?
- 21. Interactions of dietary supplements for the menopause
- 22. Combinations of dietary supplements for the menopause
- 23. Why should you take dietary supplements during the menopause?
- 24. Other considerations
- 25. Conclusions
- 26. Sources
- 27. Related Entries
What is the Menopause?
The menopause is a biological period in women’s lives when they lose their fertility. One of the main symptoms is the loss of menstruation as well.
At the beginning, the menopause goes along with a strong drop in the estrogen, levels. Consequently, this results in an increase in visceral body fat and a loss of bone mineral density, muscle mass and strength.
Estrogens regulate important internal processes. That is why it is so necessary to go through this process until the body and mind adapt to this new situation.
In order to understand how the menopause works, we have to know that the estrogen is the female sex hormone. It starts to drop gradually from the age of 40 to 45 onward. During this time, the menstruation starts to disappear until it finally stops. When this happens, we can say that the menopause period has begun.
In general, the menopause starts around the age of 50. Although sometimes, it can happen a few years earlier or later.
This period tends to go with other important changes in women’s lives. They start to age, their children leave home, their parents may need more attention due to health problems… Moreover, at this period there can be changes in their career or profession too.
Many women experience a series of symptoms during the menopause and peri-menopause:
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Joint pain
During the menopause and previous or later stages, there are changes that can significantly affect the quality of life of women
Postmenopausal women (those who have spent 1 year without menstruating) have a higher risk of suffering osteoporosis and fractures, cardiovascular diseases as well as bladder and vagina problems
Side effects of the menopause in the long term
Osteoporosis is a bone diseases that deteriorates the bone density and structure. That is why bone fractures are more frequent, increasing the morbidity and mortality rates among women.
Osteoporosis is common among women over the age of 50 and it is due to the reduced estrogen levels.
The estrogen protects the bone tissues and regulates the osteoclasts, which are in charge of reabsorbing and eliminating the old or damaged bones. Without estrogens, these cells are more active, which triggers a quick loss of bone density resulting in osteoporosis.
Benefits of using dietary supplements for menopause
We can relieve the symptoms of menopause in different ways. Many women are prescribed a hormone replacement treatment (HRT). However, the HRT has side effects, such as nausea, breast sensitivity and a increased cardiovascular risk, which is why it is better to try other remedies.
Taking dietary supplements, eating products with a high estrogen content, as well as following a healthy lifestyle by doing relaxation exercise, mediation or yoga. These are some of the ways of relieving the symptoms of menopause while improve our quality of sleep and well being during such as hard period.
Other homemade remedies consists of taking distilled water or water with honey. Moreover, you can take evening primrose oil or apply massages with a lavender essential oil, chamomile oil or ylang-yland oil.
Physical exercise can also help during menopause due to its positive effects on the cardiovascular system, weight control and motility. If you do exercise regularly, you will see how you mood improves, you feel less stressed while your self-esteem increases.
Protein for the Menopause
A proper protein supply is crucial throughout all the stages of our lives. Menopause is no exception. As we mentioned previously, we are prone to lose muscle tissue as we age, regardless of our sex.
Our ability to develop new muscle fibers significantly drops with age, which is known as anabolic resistance. The result is a remarkable loss of strength, which is directly connected to a higher risk of falling and suffering fractures.
This process speeds up if we do not do strength exercise to stimulate the muscle tissue
That is why the daily protein requirements increase
An important aspect that can make matters worse is a loss of appetite, which tends to happen as we grow old. Foods rich inprotein such as meat, fish, eggs and legumes are more satiating. That is the reason why they tend to be removed from the diet.
If we take into account what we mentioned previously, we will notice has the protein requirements increase during this period. However, the protein supply from the daily diet tends to not be enough, which increases the chances of losing muscle mass.
Protein supplements can be very useful for menopausal women, even if they tend to be associated exclusively with athletes
They could be interesting when it comes to improving the diet. Make a shake, use them for your recipes or mix them with yogurt, so that you will increase the protein supply in a very simple way.
Almost everyone has heard about the importance of vitamin D in the calcium absorption, and how important this is for our bone health. Obviously, it is important to take vitamin D and calcium through the diet.
But sunbathing and doing physical exercise are fundamental to protect and improve the bone density.
Several studies conducted in different countries have proven that the population has low vitamin D levels
Apart from its importance for the bones, it has been proven that vitamin D plays a role in the muscle, both in its synthesis and its strength. Therefore, a deficiency will affect the functioning of the muscles. Several studies suggest that recharging the vitamin D levels could lower the risk of falling by improving the physical capacities.
However, this is something that has to be proven with controlled and long term studies
Vitamin K2 for the MenopauseVitamin K is an osteocalcin cofactor (a substance that allows its functioning by binding to an enzyme or protein). This changes its structure so that it becomes functional, performing the previously described function: binding calcium to the bone.
The Osteoblasts (which are in charge of the bone synthesis), release osteocalcin, which is a protein that binds calcium to the bone
Vitamin K can have 2 forms: K1 (phyloquinone) or K2 (menaquinone)
Even though both of them are important for the coagulation and blood homeostasis, vitamin K2 seems to be specially relevant for bone health and to inhibit arterial calcification. This problem makes the blood vessels more rigid, which can trigger circulatory problems.
Several studies have found a clear connection between taking vitamin K2 and a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease related to arterial calcification.
The most active form of vitamin K2 seems to be MK-7 (menaquinone 7). Several studies have proven its properties for the bones and cardiovascular health
Omega 3 for the Menopause
ALA is essential for human beings, while EPA and DHA can be synthesized endogenously from ALA. The problem is that we can produce very low amounts due to a low metabolic efficiency. That is why taking EPA and DHA through food is so important, even if they are not essential per se.
Omega-3 supplements include long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, generally EPA, DHA and ALA
These are very important elements for the body, since they are structural components of the cell membranes and precursors of eicosanoids. Moreover, they have anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant effects.
Some of its potential benefits are reducing the triglyceride levels, lowering the blood pressure or improving the endothelial function
According to what we have previously discussed, these nutrients could be specially beneficial for menopausal women.
A study (Tardivo et al., 2014) used 900mg of omega-3 daily on a group of post-menopausal women for 6 months. Moreover, the participants suffered at least 3 symptoms of the metabolic syndrome (excessive abdominal waist, high triglyceride levels, glycemia on an empty stomach and blood pressure, as well a low HDL levels).
Each capsule contained 180mg of EPA, 120mg of DHA and 2mg of vitamin E (antioxidant)
The group that was given the supplementation experienced a significant improvement in terms of triglyceride levels, insulin and insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, the group that only followed a specific diet only improved the triglyceride levels. The inflammatory markers and blood pressure also improved significantly.
Menopausal women seem to have more difficulties to absorb the vitamin B12 due to the following reasons:
- Gastric mucosal atrophy
- Less gastric acid secretion, which are necessary to extract the vitamin from the food
As a result, between a 10 and 30% of people over the age of 50 are unable to properly absorb the vitamin B12 which is naturally present in food
Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium for Menopause
Some studies (Ilich et al., 2003) have shown that there is a direct relation between a proper supply of calcium , magnesium and zinc and bone health in postmenopausal women.
In fact, another study (Mutlu et al., 2007) analyzed blood samples from postmenopausal women with normal bone density, osteopenia (low bone mineral density) and osteoporis (very low bone density).
The authors found out that the blood zinc and magnesium levels were lower in those who suffered osteopenia than those who had a normal bone density. They were even lower in those who suffer osteoporosis.
That is, a lower bone mineral density involved lower levels of zinc and magnesium
When it comes to calcium the actual evidence suggests that its intake with vitamin D can be good for certain groups of postmenopausal women.
Soy Isoflavones for Menopause
Possibly, isoflavones are the most well known supplement for menopause. They are substances present in plants which have the ability to bind to estrogen receptors.
They can perform an anti-estrogen effect because they compete against estrogens, or a estrogen effect when there is a deficit.
That is why they belong to the group known as phytoestrogens
Isoflavones emerged in the last decade as the alternative to hormone replacement therapy which tends to be used on menopausal women and which has certain side effects
Soy is the most known isoflavone source. There are 3 types of soy isoflavones: genistein (50%), daidzein (40%) and glycitein (10%), which are isomers (molecules with the same composition but different structure).
Soy isoflavones have many benefits for the cardiovascular system, such as lowering the blood pressure or improving the endothelial function.
They can even prevent the development of atherosclerosis
Black Cohosh for Menopause
It is a plant from North America whose root and rhizome have been traditionally used to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
In fact, even the WHO (World Health Organization) claims that it is an effective medicinal plant to treat the symptoms of menopause.
Moreover, it has been proven that it is capable of reducing the Kupperman Index parameters: hot flushes, sweating, sleep alterations, irritability, bad mood, dizziness, feeling of weakness, headaches, joint pain, palpitations and/or paresthesia.
In addition, black cohosh seems to be safe and it does not causes side effects. However, it could interfere with some anti-hypertensive agents
The sleep problems are one of the main factors affecting the quality of life of menopausal women. The hormone changes that are common at this stage affect the sleep and it is one of the reasons why the melatonin levels drop.
Aging is associated to changes in the circadian system and with a lower melatonin production
Some studies have proven that the melatonin treatment is effective when it comes to improving the mood swings and depression, while fixing sleep disorders.
In a study (Parandavar et al., 2014), they proved that a melatonin treatment for 3 months improves the psychological, somatic, vasomotor, and sexual symptoms associated with menopause when compared to the placebo.
Perhaps the main disadvantage of a melatonin treatment is its possible side effects. In fact, some participants complained about feeling somnolence, nausea or headaches.
This may have been due to the dose of 3mg of melatonin. Therefore, a lower dose could prevent this unwanted effects.
Evening Primrose Oil for the Menopause
It is one of the most popular supplement to treat the symptoms of menopause, specially the hot flushes.
In fact, there are studies that support the use of evening primrose oil supplementation
In one of them (Farzaneh et al., 2012), a supply of 500 mg/day decreased the severity of the hot flushes after 6 weeks of treatment
Red Clover for Menopause
This plant has isoflavones and, thanks to them, it could a remedy for the symptoms of menopause.
Some clinical trials have proven the effectiveness of red clover against hot flushes. In fact, it managed to reduce their frequency and intensity.
Lignans for the menopause
These elements are also another natural remedy for the menopause. Lignans are polyphenol compounds that are present in several plants, seeds, grains, vegetables and legumes. Linseed is the best dietary source of lignans, apart from providing fiber, protein and several trace elements. The companies often use linseed as a base to make dietary supplements that have lignans.
Lignans are also called phytoestrogens, but how do they help during the menopause? Lignans are precursor forms that imitate the estrogens from our body. The bacteria from our intestines transform these compounds in enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactone. All of them perform similar functions to those of estrogens in the human body.
Enterodiol and enterolignan have been studied in depth. In fact, it has been proven that they have a strong estrogen activity. This is due to the fact that they can bind to estrogen receptor and alter the estrogen levels.
However, these bound phytoestrogens are weaker than the ones produced by human estrogens. Therefore, we can say that these compounds have a weak estrogen activity. This is important because this weak activity will lower the risk of suffering hormone cancers, like breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.
Moreover, a diet rich in lignans can also significantly lower the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases. But that is not all, it reduces the LDL cholesterol levels, which is why lignans are a cardioprotective element.
Hop extract for the menopause
This extract comes from the plant Humulus lupulus L. and it is another natural remedy for the menopause.
Hop extract is specially known for preserving the bitter flavor of beer during the manufacturing process. But also, people have been using hop for centuries as a medicinal plant.
Hop contains many flavonoids, terpenes and iso-alpha acids (bitter substances). In fact, it has many properties for our health and some of its flavonoid compounds seem to have an estrogen activity.
Particularly, this happens with hop extract 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN). Said extract relieves the symptoms of the menopause due to its estrogen capacity.
A group of researchers proved that 8-PN hop extract is a powerful phytoestrogen in a controlled and random study,. In fact, it can relieve the symptoms of menopause, mainly the temperature stabilization and hot flushes while improving the libido.
In another study about the effect of 8-PN, they found out that it helps to prevent bone loss by regenerating the bone mineral density. Osteoporosis is one of the main concerns of menopausal women and this supplement can lower the risk of suffering bone fractures.
Tryptophan for the menopauseL-tryptophan is a natural amino acid that we can find in some foods like meat, fish, egg, dairy, cereals and seeds. Tryptophan is a precursor form of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is why it is one of the best natural remedies for menopause.
Moreover, a diet rich in tryptophan can improve the mood and the quality of sleep.
The L-tryptophan levels are closely connected to the estrogens, which is why they are so important during the menopause.
Low tryptophan levels will hinder the serotonin production. In fact, increasing the L-tryptophan levels stimulates the synthesis and release of serotonin.
Moreover, tryptophan can increase the melatonin levels in the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates the circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep.
5-HTP for the menopause
The body synthesizes the compound 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) from the amino acid tryptophan. Said element is a precursor form of serotonin and melatonin, becoming one of the best remedies for the menopause.
The research has proven how 5-hydroxytryptophan, related to melatonin and serotonin, regulates the sleep patterns.
Even though it is not directly related to the biorhythms, the amino acid 5-HTP can improve our sleep because it affects the sleep-wake cycle. During said cycle, the body temperature changes, so that sleeping is easier.
Sudden changes in the estrogen levels are related to body temperature changes. This is a very important fact, since it can trigger hot flushes, a bad temperature regulation, sleep disorders and other health problems.
Who can benefit from taking dietary supplement for the menopause?
Those women who are in one of these stages of their lives:
Interactions of dietary supplements for the menopause
Most of the dietary supplement for the menopause are regarded as safe and non-toxic. However, 5-HTP can interact when combined with some medicines.
This is due to the fact that 5-HTP increases the serotonin levels, which may not be good in certain circumstances.
The following medications can interact with 5-HTP and can cause serious side effects:
- Anti-depressants such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, amytryptillin, sertraline and others
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) such as fenelzin and tranylcypromine
Combinations of dietary supplements for the menopause
For instance, people tend to combine hop extract and lignans.
On the other hand, you can combine calcium and vitamin D to protect the bones against osteoporosis during the menopause.
Why should you take dietary supplements during the menopause?
There can be sudden hormone changes during this period that can deeply affect our lives. If you want to relieve the symptoms, dietary supplements made from natural remedies have many benefits for our health, such as:
- Countering the intensity and frequency of the hot flushes
- Improving the quality of sleep
- Controlling the body weight
- Improving the libido
- Lowering the risk of suffering cancer due to low estrogen levels
The diet is an important tool that you can use to control the symptoms of menopause.
Products you should avoid
- Spicy food, caffeine and alcohol, because they can stimulate the hot flushes.
- Sparkling drinks, because they contain phosphorus that can increase the loss of bone mineral density.
- Sugar in excess, since it also limits our liver ability to metabolize estrogen. Consequently, it damages the immune system and can be easily stored as body fat.
- Saturated fats, try to eat less in order to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and the storage of fat
Products you should include
- First of all, a good dose of calcium and vitamin D in order to keep the bones strong. Eat dairy products low in fats. For example, you can eat sardines, almonds, orange juice and some minerals. Overall, we should take 1200mg of calcium daily, including supplements and food sources. Yogurts also contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus (“good” bacteria”) strains. These elements are important for menopausal women because they help to regulate the metabolism and the utilization of estrogens.
- Add fiber to your diet as whole grains, oats, wheat, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, this will help you lower the blood glucose and cholesterol levels while preventing constipation. Take 21g of fiber daily in order to keep your digestive system on point.
- Fruits and vegetables are one of the healthiest foods for menopausal women. They are low in sodium and calories and mostly fat-free. Moreover, they provide an optimal dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The best products are: tomato, apple, grapefruit, orange, strawberry, carrot, pepper, beetroot, radish, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic and onion.
- Water is fundamental for menopausal women. Above all, it helps to clean the toxins of the body, avoiding fluid retention and hydrating the skin. In fact, you should drink 1.5-2L of water every day.
- Moreover, eat products rich in Omega fatty acids to regulate the hormone balance as well as the sugar and cholesterol levels. For instance, eat fatty fish, olive oil, linseed, walnuts, almonds.
- Soy contains phytoestrogens, which can relieve the symptoms of menopause. Apart from the these estrogens from the plant itself, soy isoflavones also help to produce more equol – an estrogen produced by the bowel. All these elements will help to naturally treat hot flushes and other symptoms.
- Finally, plant extract and supplements are very effective remedies for the menopause.
Menopausal women have to do exercise every day, at least between 30 and 45 minutes. Above all, menopausal women can benefit from three types of exercise. First, strength exercise with resistance bands and weights will increase the lean muscle mass and the metabolism while strengthening the bones. Second, aerobic exercises like walking, cycling and swimming help to burn calories and strengthen the heart. Finally, stretching, like Pilates or yoga, will help us gain flexibility and tone our muscles.
Doing physical exercise during the menopause has another important function. Apart from preserving our weight, it helps to build bone density and lower the risk of diseases like osteoporosis. Combining resistance, aerobic and flexibility exercises will strengthen the bones and keep the joints and cartilage flexible.
In addition, it helps to deal with anxiety and depression, helping to release some tension and to sleep better. Moreover, it increases the oxygen supply to the brain, improving our learning abilities, focus, memory and alertness. To top it all, it stimulates the release of endorphins, which are hormones that produce a feeling of well being so that we can enjoy ourselves and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Women tend to lose hair as they grow old. This is due to the growing DHT levels, a low thyroid function, as well as low estrogen levels. DHT puts the follicles in a state of rest (telogen), so the new hair is thinner until the follicles completely close. This type of hair loss is called female pattern baldness.
The hormone imbalance tends to be the most common cause of a low libido. Peri-menopausal women experience this change because the ovaries produce different amounts of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
The natural loss of progesterone during the peri-menopause can affect the libido. The low estrogen levels can trigger physical changes like vaginal dryness and thinning vaginal walls. Both can make sex uncomfortable and even painful. Testosterone is vital for a healthy female sexual response and for the orgasm.
There are remedies for the menopause that stimulate the female libido. Sexialis Woman is a formula containing a blend of plants like MAca, Tribulus and Ginseng that work in synergy to retrieve the female libido.
Lubricants can also help to stimulate the clitoris area, avoiding vaginal dryness and enhancing the pleasure considerably. Revit-Up Woman is a stimulating gel that produces a feeling similar to natural lubrication.
- The menopause is, for sure, one of the stages in the life of a woman when they experience more changes. A lower estrogen production and other hormone alterations can trigger a series of symptoms that can hinder their quality of life.
- We know how important it is to follow a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid any complication during this period.
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