To combat these ailments, supplements and vitamins can be taken, but the process of deciding which ones to take can be overwhelming. Jacqui Justice, a clinical nutritionist at the NY Health & Wellness Center, says that “when it comes to supplements for menopause, there isn’t just one pill. It’s a process. It’s a complex system.”
You need to keep in mind that supplements are not regulated or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, but you’ll often get a better-quality supplement with fewer fillers and more of the key ingredients when you purchase them through a certified practitioner.
Here are three important categories of menopausal supplements to consider:
Build a Foundation
Before you decide to start popping a bunch of supplements, it’s very important to make sure your body is primed to process them. This means a healthy gut, a well-working liver, and balanced adrenal glands. You can take as many supplements and vitamins as you like, but they won’t have a positive effect if your gut and liver aren’t functioning properly.
You can ensure a healthy gut by taking a probiotic. Your gut bacteria can be affected by stress, a poor diet, antibiotics, and hormonal fluctuations due to menopause. This imbalance not only prevents your body from absorbing supplements properly, but it can also lead to symptoms such as gas and bloating, digestive issues, belly fat, and constipation. Probiotics can help improve your bowel function, assist with weight loss, and stabilize your hormones. You should aim for supplements that have at least 10 billion CFUs and at least five different strains of bacteria.
Next up is your liver. The liver synthesizes hormones and tells them where to go in the body. Therefore, if it’s not doing its job properly, you’re going to have a hormonal buildup. One great detoxifying ingredient is milk thistle. This helps to eliminate toxins and nourish the organ.
You also need to think about your adrenal glands. These glands sit above the kidneys and pump out estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. However, when they’re fatigued, like they may be when you’re depressed, anxious, stressed or angry, your body decides that it’s more important to make cortisol instead of sex hormones. Ashwagandha, a herb designed to help with adrenal fatigue, hormone balancing, and improving a range of menopausal symptoms, is the fix here.
Get the Basics
If you’re a woman over the age of 50, then you need to be proactive regarding which vitamin and mineral supplements you should take.
This is vital for bone health and is very important during menopause when the decrease in estrogen makes women more prone to osteoporosis. While the best source of calcium is food, if you’re not meeting your daily quota of 1,000 to 1,200 mg through your diet, calcium supplements are a wise choice.
Not only is vitamin D great for bone health, but it’s also helps to decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, asthma, allergies, high blood pressure and breast cancer. It’s difficult to get vitamin D from foods and the sun, and since 75% of people are deficient in Vitamin D, it’s often advised to take vitamin D supplements. The daily recommended intake of 600 IUs is debatable since studies show that higher amounts of vitamin D are necessary for disease prevention.
The best way you can get all the necessary antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins is through a well-balanced diet. However, the problem is the average diet leaves holes in your daily nutritional requirements, which means you’re missing on vital elements that your body needs to function properly.
Improve Your Symptoms
If you’re still suffering from the symptoms of menopause, you might want to try one of the following supplements, which will help lessen or alleviate everything from mood swings to hot flashes, and protect against cardiovascular and mental declines.
Black Cohosh has been found to decrease hot flashes, sweating, depression, and insomnia. Black cohosh is commonly available in capsule form, as a tincture, and dried as a tea. The recommended dose ranges from 20-80mg per day, and should be taken under a doctor’s care in order to avoid drug interactions.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can provide you with anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antidepressant, and antioxidative benefits. It has been found to have very few side effects, but it can also be tricky for the body to absorb. When deciding which curcumin supplements to take, be sure to choose one with black pepper extract or piperine, as these have been shown to aid in absorption.
Coenzyme Q (10)
This antioxidant helps convert food into energy and is needed for basic cell functioning. While it is made within the body, production decreases rapidly with age. Studies have also suggested that COQ10 may lessen cognitive decline in postmenopausal women and can be important for women taking hormone replacement therapy, blood pressure or thyroid medication – all of which can deplete COQ10 levels further.