So, it’s time you face the dreaded “M” word, is it? We know it can seem like a horrible time. After all, every single woman on the planet 50 and older will probably start to experience it owing to natural hormonal changes that occur at this time, and sometimes even sooner if as a result of a medical complication.
Numerous adverse changes may pop up at this time, including but not limited to difficulty sleeping, weight gain, notorious mood swings, hot flashes, and visible changes to the quality of hair and skin. The bad news is that to an extent, these are all unavoidable.
However, that being said, there is no reason to torture yourself into going through this without support, since there are many supplements that can be used to alleviate your suffering.
Let’s explore what you’re the best options to help you include.
SUMMARY AND DOSAGES OF THE 5 BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR MENOPAUSE
- Black Cohosh: 20-120mg
- Soy Isoflavones: 40-120mg
- Red Clover: 40-80mg
- Ashwagandha: 250mg-5g
- Maca: 1.5-5g
WHAT IS BLACK COHOSH/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Black cohosh supplements made primarily from the roots (and to a lesser extent, flowers) are one of the most popularly used for managing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and difficulty sleeping.
This is largely thanks to the presence of a compound known as fukinolic acid which possesses phytoestrogenic activity.
WHO SHOULD TAKE BLACK COHOSH?
Black Cohosh can be taken by virtually all women experiencing symptoms of menopause or perimenopause owing to its multi-pronged benefits on many associated symptoms.
HOW MUCH BLACK COHOSH SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Precise dosage guidelines for Black Cohosh vary widely, but many converge in the 20-120mg range of the extract daily. (up to 200mg has been reported). Amounts exceeding 900mg daily are associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing side effects.
Effects may start to manifest in as little as two weeks, but supplementation is usually discontinued following 6-12 months of daily use.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON BLACK COHOSH SHOW?
In March 2018, a study was published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion which investigated the effect of black cohosh on hot flashes. The report highlighted that menopausal women who took the supplement for a period of 8 weeks were able to experience fewer and less severe hot flash episodes than placebo.
BLACK COHOSH SIDE EFFECTS
Black cohosh is tolerated well by the general population but has potential adverse effects especially when taken longer than recommended. Mild side effects may include diarrhea and nausea, while more noteworthy effects include breast pain, menstrual spotting, or liver damage in people with pre-existing liver issues.
WHAT ARE SOY ISOFLAVONES/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Soy isoflavones are amongst the most popular supplements for dealing with menopause, as these polyphenols can help reduce the intensity of hot flashes, improve symptoms of vaginal dryness and also boost cognitive function.
WHO SHOULD TAKE SOY ISOFLAVONES?
Soy isoflavones are beneficial to a wide cross-section of menopausal and pre-menopausal women who are grappling with mood disorders, confusion, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes.
HOW MUCH SOY ISOFLAVONES SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The daily recommended dosage of soy isoflavones consumption stands between 40-120mg daily, which is a measure of the isoflavone content. Consuming soy protein powder will require you to know the standardized dose of extract per serving to be effective.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON SOY ISOFLAVONES SHOW?
An analysis of 19 studies published in the Journal Menopause in 2012 shows that soy isoflavone supplements helped to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes by an average of 26 percent.
SOY ISOFLAVONES SIDE EFFECTS
Soy isoflavones are very well tolerated, and only occasionally cause adverse effects such as gastric upset. Soy-based formula is also considered safe for babies, and consuming natural amounts of the isoflavones in pregnancy (such as from protein powders or food) is also not dangerous.
However, women with estrogen dependent cancers may need to be careful as the estrogen like effect of the isoflavones may be detrimental to one’s health.
WHAT IS RED CLOVER/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Red clover is a wild flowering plant that is rich in isoflavones; compounds which may help with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and helping prevent osteoporosis.
WHO SHOULD TAKE RED CLOVER?
Red clover can be of great benefit to women that are looking for a remedy for hot flashes, uncomfortable vaginal dryness, and those predisposed to low bone density issues.
HOW MUCH RED CLOVER SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The usual recommended daily dose of red clover is between 40-80mg. dosages beyond this range have not been found to be any more beneficial and may lead to an increased likelihood of side effects occurring.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON RED CLOVER SHOW?
A study published in the Journal Maturitas in 2010 found that 80mg of red clover administered over the course of 90 days was effective in mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Another study published in the Journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the year 2016 found that 80mg of red clover given daily was effective at ameliorating vaginal atrophy, and may relieve associated hot flash frequency, especially if symptoms are severe.
RED CLOVER SIDE EFFECTS
Adverse effects associated with red clover supplementation may include abnormal menstrual bleeding/ breakthrough bleeding, headaches, and nausea. The supplement is also not advised for use by women dealing with estrogen dependent cancers.
WHAT IS ASHWAGANDHA/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Ashwagandha is an ancient ayurvedic herb that can help to reduce the impact of stress on the body during menopause, supporting normal adrenal production of estrogen. It may also alleviate symptoms of anxiety and overwhelm experienced by peri-menopausal women.
WHO SHOULD TAKE ASHWAGANDHA?
Ashwagandha can be a great help for women dealing with insomnia, feelings of anxiety, or general high stress loads. Ashwagandha may also help facilitate a speedy transition into a post-menopausal state.
HOW MUCH ASHWAGANDHA SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The possible daily dosage range for ashwagandha varies between 250mg-5g, depending on your goals and individual sensitivity. For most people, 500mg daily is a decent dose to start seeing benefit in as little as two weeks.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON ASHWAGANDHA SHOW?
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Medicine (Baltimore) found that as little as 240mg ashwagandha was able to reduce feelings of stress and cortisol levels when compared with a placebo. This implication is significant for menopausal women as the adrenal glands are capable of producing a small amount of estrogen even when the ovaries have stopped doing so.
Cortisol competes with sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, with the hormones said to share a negatively inverse relationship (as one goes up, the other goes down).
ASHWAGANDHA SIDE EFFECTS
Ashwagandha is capable of causing a feeling of drowsiness at higher doses, but besides this is well tolerated. It is to be used cautiously in conjunction with several classes of medications such as sedatives, thyroid hormones, or immune modulation agents as it may have a potent synergistic effect that increases the likelihood of adverse effects occurring.
WHAT IS MACA/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Maca, sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, is actually a cruciferous vegetable that looks like a cross between a potato and a radish. It grows in the cold parts of the Andes mountains and may be confused with a carrot growing underground at first glance.
Maca may help menopausal women with vaginal dryness, and maybe particularly helping in dealing with the psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, and reduced sex drive.
WHO SHOULD TAKE MACA?
Maca may be of benefit to women of any age, but in particular, it may help menopausal-aged women deal with the loss of libido, mood swings, and uncomfortable vaginal dryness.
HOW MUCH MACA SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Exact dosage guidelines for Maca have not been determined, but most commonly range from 1.5-5g daily. Total daily consumption of up to 9g daily has also been recorded.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON MACA SHOW?
A Randomized controlled trial published in the Journal Menopause in 2008 found that women given 3.5g of Maca daily over the course of 12 weeks experienced significant improvement in psychological symptoms associated with menopause, without a link to estrogen-like effect.
MACA SIDE EFFECTS
Maca is generally considered safe when taken at recommended dosages. At high doses, disruptions to the menstrual cycle or even liver damage is possible. Interestingly, side effects are most likely when the raw root is consumed.