Proven Herbs, Supplements and Vitamins for the Menopause (Evidence Based)

Proven Herbs, Supplements and Vitamins for the Menopause

There are many herbs, supplements, and vitamins that can provide support during the menopause. As part of the menopause diet, you need to consume the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help your body and mind cope with changes the menopause brings. The menopause can trigger many emotional and physical symptoms due to lower estrogen levels. This can result in menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, and depression.

Some herbs and supplements for the menopause include calcium, iron, evening primrose oil, and spirulina. These remedies help keep your bones strong and give you energy. Other herbs for the menopause help to reduce other physical symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, brain fog, and anxiety that can cause distress for women in their late 40s and 50s.

In this article, you will find out the best natural remedies for the menopause and how to cope with menopausal symptoms. The supplements work for the menopause because they help to balance the nutrition content of your diet and relieve some of the symptoms associated with menopause.

What is the Menopause?

The menopause is the time in a woman’s life when estrogen levels drop and she stops having periods.

The publication Informed Health Online reports that the menopause may start around the time of mid-forties when the number of egg-producing follicles in the ovary start to decline. This process happens gradually over a number of years until it stop altogether. (1)

Doctors say that the average age of the menopause is 51, however, this age depends on various factors, and can be much earlier or a little later.

The drop in estrogen also results in a number of other physical changes. For example, bone density can reduce which increases in the risk of osteoporosis. Also, changes in the vagina can result in dryness and an increased risk of infection.

To cope with these changes, some women resort to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, because of risks associated with long-term HRT, many women look for natural supplements to help cope with post menopause symptoms. (2)

Symptoms of the Menopause

Natural remedies for the menopause can help to alleviate many of its associated symptoms.

Some of the common reasons for taking menopause supplements include lowering the frequency of hot flashes, improving symptoms of vaginal dryness, and getting a better sleep. However, hot flashes and night sweats are the most common menopause symptoms that greatly affect quality of life. (3, 2)

Doctors also say that postmenopausal women are also at more risk of depression, cognitive impairment, and brittle bones.

Other menopause symptoms can include less sexual desire, mood swings, insomnia, and weight gain. (1)

Best Supplements for the Menopause

Let’s look in more detail at some of the best supplements, herbs and vitamins for the menopause to help strengthen bones, prevent hot flashes, and treat vaginal dryness naturally.

Calcium Helps Prevent Osteoporosis in the Menopause

Because of the greater risk of brittle and weak bones during the menopause, calcium supplements are important for the menopause.

Many studies indicate that women in the menopause often have a calcium deficiency. (4)

The journal Menopause reports that doctors recommend taking between 1,200 mg and 2,500 mg a day of calcium for the menopause. Supplementing your diet with calcium can help to offset lower estrogen levels that affect bone health. Doctors say that calcium supplements can help to ensure proper calcium intake if you are in the perimenopausal or menopausal stage. (5)

As part of the menopause diet, consume rich sources of calcium such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. There are also traces of calcium in many vegetables, nuts, and fruits. (6)

It is also important to make sure you get enough vitamin D and magnesium in your diet to help with calcium absorption.

Learn about other natural remedies for osteoporosis and where you can find other sources of calcium if you can’t take dairy products.

Iron Helps Give You Energy During the Menopause

Another important menopause supplement is iron to help keep your blood healthy and improve your energy levels.

Iron is a mineral that is needed to make red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia can lead to fatigue, exhaustion, and stress.

According to researchers in 2015, women in the menopause often have lower than normal levels of iron. One of the reasons for this is malabsorption where the body can’t absorb enough iron from the diet. Doctors found that taking 200 mg of iron along with 500 mg of vitamin C helped to normalize iron levels. (7)

There are many dietary sources of iron that can help to increase your iron levels. There is a lot of iron in animal products such as red meat, turkey, heart, liver, and fish. You can also get some iron from plant-based products such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts. However iron from plants is not absorbed well in the body.

Learn about natural ways to help increase levels of iron in your blood to prevent iron deficiency anemia in the menopause and how to choose the best iron supplements.

Evening Primrose Oil Helps Relieve Menopausal Hot Flashes

Taking evening primrose oil supplements for the menopause can help to reduce the intensity of hot flashes.

One randomized clinical trial involving over 50 women aged between 45 and 59 found that evening primrose oil was good for the menopause. Women taking 500 mg evening primrose oil capsules twice a day reported a significant reduction in the number of hot flashes they experienced. (8)

Evening primrose oil is also good to take before you reach the menopause as it is a natural remedy for PMS.

You can find out about many other natural remedies for menopausal hot flashes.

Omega-3 Supplements for the Menopause

Omega-3 is a good menopause supplement because the healthy omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and benefit the cardiovascular system post menopause.

Doctors have found that omega-3 supplementation has a number of beneficial health benefits in general. Scientific research has also discovered that omega-3 capsules can provide relief from menopause problems, prevent osteoporosis after the menopause, and reduce the risk of breast cancer. (9)

There is also some evidence that omega-3 supplements can help to reduce some of the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, such as increase triglyceride levels. (9)

Make sure that your diet during the menopause include good sources of omega-3 rich oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines. Walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds are also non-meat sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are interested in how fish oil can improve your health, please read my article on the many benefits of taking omega-3.

Spirulina to Relieve Menopause Symptoms

Extracts from green algae have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can help to reduce symptoms associated with the menopause.

Although there are no direct studies showing how spirulina can treat menopause symptoms, there is evidence that it can help promote good health in the menopause.

For example, weight gain is often a complication after the menopause. According to research from 2017, taking 500 mg of spirulina daily helped obese individuals lose weight. Taking this dose of spirulina for 12 weeks resulted in lower body mass index (BMI) and a slimmer waistline. (10)

Other studies have shown that spirulina herbal supplements can also reduce some of the complications associated with obesity. (11)

Spirulina is also nutrient dense food and contains good amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. Dried spirulina contains about 60% protein, and it is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids.

Amino Acids Promote Good Health During Menopause

In order to help keep bones strong and give you plenty of energy in the menopause, it is important to eat protein-rich foods.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential for a healthy metabolism and proper hormone regulation. Many studies have shown that consuming foods rich in amino acids helps to improve bone density in postmenopausal women.

For example, one study showed that increasing animal protein by 15 g per day resulted in an increase in bone density. This helped to reduce the risk of hip fractures in women after the menopause. (12)

Other studies have shown that essential amino acids such as leucine and lysine as well as the nonessential amino acids help to increase overall bone density. (12)

Some studies have shown that supplements containing high levels of amino acids can help to relieve hot flashes in the menopause. (13)

Learn how to get all of your amino acids from plant-based sources. Cutting down on red meat and saturated fats will also help you to lose weight in the menopause.

The Best Vitamins for the Menopause

As well as taking herbal supplements during the menopause, you can also relieve many of your menopausal symptoms by taking vitamins.

Vitamin E for Menopause

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and one of the vitamins that promote good health, prevents dry skin, reduces hot flashes, and treats vaginal dryness during the menopause.

There are a number of ways how vitamin E is beneficial to take while going through the menopause and after it.

One study found that taking vitamin E supplements for the menopause helps to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes. Women noticed a reduction in the number of hot flashes when taking 400 IU of vitamin E daily. (14)

Also, vitamin E suppositories can help to improve vaginal health in the menopause. Scientists said that using vitamin E to lubricate the vagina is a good natural option to taking hormone replacement therapy for vaginal atrophy. (15)

Foods that contain good levels of vitamin E to include in your menopause diet are seeds, nuts, avocados, dark leafy green vegetables, and most healthy fats.

Learn more about the benefits of taking vitamin E and how it can keep your skin elastic and looking good if you are over 50 years old.

Vitamin C to Relieve Many Menopausal Symptoms

Getting enough vitamin C in your diet is essential during and after the menopause to help reduce the effects of hot flashes.

The Journal of Mid-Life Health reports that taking vitamin C during the menopause helps the body to release more estrogen and increases levels of antioxidants. This has a protective effect on bone health and can help prevent osteoporosis. (16)

Another study also found that postmenopausal women taking 1,500 mg vitamin C daily can also lower their risk of cardiovascular disease as well as balancing their hormones. (17)

Vitamin C is also essential for skin elasticity which can help to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in later life. (18)

Vitamin C rich foods to include in your menopause diet are citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and kiwifruit.

Vitamin D is Essential for Good Bone Health

During the menopause, it is essential to make sure that you don’t have a vitamin D deficiency, as low vitamin D levels affect your estrogen levels.

One study found that vitamin D deficiencies and menopause symptoms are quite similar. Both are associated with osteoporosis risk, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease. The study recommended that perimenopausal and postmenopausal women monitor their vitamin D levels. (19)

The British Heart Foundation says that adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for calcium absorption and to keep your heart healthy. (20)

Learn more about complications associated with a vitamin D deficiency and how to make sure you get enough vitamin D.

B-Group Vitamins to Help Alleviate Menopause Symptoms

As part of your menopause diet, it is essential to make sure you get enough B-group vitamins from your food or supplements.

Vitamin B12 is a good supplement to take in the menopause because it can help to boost your energy levels. Vitamin B12 supports the formation of red blood cells and also helps to keep your nervous system working efficiently. (21)

One study found that taking 6 mg of vitamin B12 daily helps to support female health during the menopause. B12 helped to increase levels of cobalamin which are necessary for DNA synthesis and healthy nerve function. (22)

Folic acid is another B-group vitamin that helps to keep your body functioning well during the menopause. Scientists found in one clinical trial that taking 1 mg folic acid daily helped to reduce the number of hot flashes in menopausal women. (23)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a vitamin supplement for the menopause as it helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. (24) Other studies have found that vitamin B6 increases levels of serotonin in the brain that can help to prevent anxiety, mood swings, and depression. (25)

Find out how deficiencies in vitamins B and D could also be a reason for headaches and why vitamin B12 is essential for everyone’s health.

Best Herbs for the Menopause

There are a number of herbal supplements for the menopause that can help to prevent vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and balance your hormones.

Ginkgo Biloba to Help Improve Sexual Health During Menopause

Ginkgo biloba is another natural supplement to take in the menopause as it can help to improve cognitive function and boost sexual health.

Researchers examined the effects of gingko biloba supplements on memory function in postmenopausal women. They found that taking 120 mg gingko biloba daily helped to improve cognitive function within 7 days. (27)

The drop in estrogen levels can affect sexual desire in women who are going through the menopause. Researchers have found that gingko biloba is a phytoestrogenic herb that mimics the effects of estrogen. Taking a dose of between 120 mg and 240 mg daily improved sexual function in postmenopausal women. (28)

Find out how taking ginkgo biloba can also help to increase dopamine levels during the menopause to help fight depressive thoughts.

Dong Quai Herbal Supplements for Menopause

The menopause supplement dong quai helps to reduce the number of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms to help you feel better.

Dietary supplements for the menopause are becoming more popular to avoid the risks associated with HRT. One study found that a combination of dong quai and chamomile helped to quickly reduce the menopausal symptoms of hot flashes. Taking 5 dong quai supplement pills daily was effective as a hormone-free remedy for hot flashes. (29)

However, some studies have reported on conflicting results when taking dong quai for the menopause. (30)

Ginseng for Improved Cognitive Function in Menopause

If you are looking for an herbal remedy to prevent menopause mood swings, hot flashes, and depression, then taking ginseng could provide you with needed menopause relief.

The results of a review of randomized controlled trials found that taking ginseng as herbal supplement can help treating menopausal issues. Researchers found that ginseng can help to address some symptoms of the menopause such as sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, depression, and mood swings. (31)

Licorice to Get Relief from Menopause Symptoms

You can take licorice herbal supplements for treating symptoms of the menopause as it helps to balance hormones during the menopause.

Research has found that taking licorice root supplements can help women post menopause. Licorice contains phytoestrogens that mimic the effect of estrogen. (32)

Some studies have shown that you can use licorice as a natural remedy for menopausal hot flashes. Taking 330 mg of licorice supplements 3 times a day helped to decrease the severity and frequency of menopausal flushing. (33)

Find out more about the amazing benefits of taking licorice root for your health. You will also learn many ways to take this herbal supplement if you are going through the menopause.

Other herbs for hot flashes during the menopause

Night sweats and hot flashes are some of the most common disturbances that affect quality of life in the menopause. Apart from the remedies mentioned in this article, there are also other natural herbal remedies for the menopause. These include:

Valerian. One study found that taking valerian supplements lowered the number of hot flashes and reduced their severity. The dose of valerian for menopause symptoms was 255 mg taken 3 times a day. (34)

Red clover. Taking 80 mg of red clover as a daily herbal treatment for menopause can prevent hot flashes and vaginal dryness. (35)

Passionflower. Sometimes called passiflora, this herbal menopause supplement may help to relieve hot flushes if you take it every day. (36)

Maca. Some studies show that maca root is also a natural remedy for the menopause as it can stop hot flushing and night sweats. You could try taking 500 mg of maca root twice a day for menopause relief. (37)

Black Cohosh. One of the most popular natural menopause treatments is black cohosh because it helps to lower the frequency of hot flashes. One study involving 80 postmenopausal women found that taking black cohosh improved life quality in the menopause because it reduced severe hot flashes. Over an 8-week period, women in their 50s reported significantly fewer hot flashes when taking black cohosh supplements. (26) However, some studies have reported on conflicting results when taking black cohosh for the menopause. (38, 39)

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus). One study found that chasteberry (vitex agnus castus) was just as effective as passionflower for hot flashes relief. (40) A review of studies carried out on chasteberry for helping to stop night sweats and hot flashes found that the natural supplement can treat many menopausal symptoms. (41)

Menopause and Weight Gain: How to Avoid It

There are a number of factors that can cause weight gain during the perimenopause stage and after the menopause. This can make losing weight an additional challenge while coping naturally with menopause symptoms.

For example, a slower metabolism, loss of muscle mass, hormonal fluctuations, and disrupted sleep can all increase body fat mass and lead to other complications. You can find more information about metabolism boosters in my article about foods, drinks and exercises that boost metabolism (Evidence Based).

One of the best and safest ways to lose weight during and after the menopause is to restrict your daily calorie intake. However, dietitians recommend “dietary restraint” as the best option to lose weight. This involves watching portion sizes to help manage weight more effectively. (38)

Some ways to “watch your eating” during the menopause include the following diets:

  • Low-carb diet to lose weight in the menopause. One study showed that a paleo diet helped to lower weight and reduce belly fat in postmenopausal women. (38)
  • Vegetarian diet for the menopause. Some studies show that switching to a vegetarian diet with getting protein from eggs or dairy can help address weight issues in the menopause. (39)
  • Mediterranean diet for the menopause. Increasing your vegetable intake, consuming healthy fats, and eating more fish can help to lose weight in the menopause. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can help menopausal women lose weight. (40)

Other ways to help boost the effectiveness of your menopause diet include regular aerobic training, getting enough sleep, and dealing with stress and anxiety naturally.

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