Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, but it’s one that can come with symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, brain fog and mood swings which vary at lot from woman to woman.
HRT is the most effective therapy for the management of menopausal symptoms but they have fallen into disrepute following Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002 highlighting side effect risks. Women are now more hesitant to take hormonal treatment out of fear of side effects and even gynaecologists are more reluctant in prescribing HRT.
For many women, the transition through perimenopause and menopause is no walk in the park, especially when symptoms are severe or show up all at once. But there’s some good new in all of this, and it’s that nature provides a wide array of vitamins, nutrients and medicinal plants and herbs that help to significantly to relieve menopause symptoms.
Natural supplements for menopause symptoms
The “natural approach” to menopause symptom relief works in a completely different way than many conventional medical solutions like synthetic hormone replacement (HRT). Because vitamins and herbs work with your body to rebalance your hormones and support your overall health, natural supplements for perimenopause and menopause can actually prevent or reduce the severity of many of the symptoms rather than just masking them temporarily.
Certain plants and herbs can adapt to the needs of your body because they share specific molecular features with your own hormones. This can encourage hormone production, slow it down, or even mimic your own hormones depending on your body’s unique needs.
Herbs and other natural supplements work best when you take them regularly over time. Most herbs work by nourishing and rebuilding, which means they need some time to work their magic, below is a selection of natural supplements along with information on how they are believed to work.
Red Clover Isoflavones
Red clover is a natural hormone replacement that acts like weak estrogens in your body. Because they complement your own, more potent, estrogens, they can help even out both erratic levels of both highs and low estrogen. According to a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology International, red clover also helps with other menopause-related symptoms like low libido, anxiety/depression, sleep troubles and fatigue. And there’s more scientific good news: red clover’s compounds relieve PMS and improve both women’s heart health and the appearance of skin and hair as we age.
A 2005 study The effect of red clover isoflavones on menopausal symptoms found that compared with the placebo group, red clover isoflavone supplementation in postmenopausal women significantly decreased menopausal symptoms. 60 post menopausal women over 40 years old were double-blindly randomised to receive either a readily available red clover isoflavone supplement (80 mg/day) or placebo for 90 days. Subsequently, after a 7-day washout period, subjects switched to receive the opposite treatment for a further 90 days.
Isoflavones are part of a group of plant-based chemicals called phytoestrogens. These chemicals act like a weaker form of estrogen in the body. The main isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein.
When you eat soy, bacteria in your intestines break it down into its more active forms. Once in your body, soy isoflavones bind to the same receptors as estrogen. Receptors are like docking stations on the surface of cells. When isoflavones bind to some receptors, they mimic the effects of estrogen. When they bind to other receptors, they block estrogen’s effects.
When isoflavones mimic estrogen, they might help reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
A 2015 study called Quantitative efficacy of soy isoflavones on menopausal hot flashes found that soy isoflavones can reduce the severity of hot flashes. However, the authors note that it took an average of 13.4 weeks for people to notice the effect. These results suggest that treatment intervals of 12 weeks are too short for soy isoflavones, which require at least 48 weeks to achieve 80% of their maximum effects.
Of all the symptoms a woman experiences throughout her peri-menopause – and sometimes beyond – hot flashes (or flushes) rank right up there as among the most bothersome. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of intense heat or warmth that seems to come from nowhere, and quickly spreads throughout the body, in particular the face, neck and chest.
The common sage plant (Salvia officinalis), is native to Mediterranean Europe, has a long history of traditional use in supporting a reduction in hot flashes, night sweats and associated climacteric complaints in menopausal women.
In 2019, an interventional clinical trial was published in the International Journal of Reproduction BioMedicine involving 30 women aged between 44–58 experiencing various degrees of menopausal symptoms, recorded by a Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). Participants received a 100mg capsule of sage extract daily for 4 weeks and the severity of symptoms were compared before and after the 4-week supplementation period. Results showed significant differences in the severity of hot flashes, night sweats, panic, fatigue and concentration following supplementation with sage extract.
The authors concluded that Sage was effective for changing the severity of some menopausal symptoms.
- Provides 40mg Isoflavones in each capsule
- Identical strength to the 'well known brands'
- For during and after the Menopause
- Vegetarian, soya free capsule
- Best source of plant oestrogen
- 40% isoflavone content per tablet
- Guaranteed strength and quality
- Popular with those experiencing the menopause
- Guaranteed 12.5mg Rosmarinic Acid
- A natural source of phytoestrogen
- Thujone and soya free supplement
- May help to relieve hot flushes & night sweats
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.