Approximately two-thirds of women develop symptoms related to the menopausal transition. It can bring hot flashes, trouble sleeping, moodiness, irritability, pain during sex, or depression. Declining estrogen levels during this time negatively impacts your metabolism, potentially leading to weight gain and hormone changes can lead to lower bone density and an increase risk of fractures.
However, this doesn’t have to be a period when you feel in decline as many symptoms can be mitigated by diet and maintaining a positive attitude.
In this article, we share great food you can enjoy as well as botanicals and dietary supplements to help reduce negative symptoms and we also share food and drink you should avoid that might otherwise increase symptoms.
Great Botanicals and Dietary Supplements to Take
Botanicals and dietary supplements (BDS) products can also help to relieve symptoms. Many women who are reluctant to undergo hormone replacement therapies find these BDS products to relief the symptoms.
1. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a perennial plant found mostly in North America. Black cohosh contains triterpene glycosides, aromatic acids and flavonoids, which can help balance the hormones, reduce hot flashes and improve mood and depression. However, it is important to note that there are mild side effects of consuming black cohosh, such as gastric complaints, headaches, vomiting and dizziness.
2. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is widely used by women who are suffering from insomnia, minor depression, mood disorder, memory loss and hot flashes. The product is often combined with black cohosh as a treatment for women who have menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, minor depression, mood swings, and insomnia.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is generally nicknamed as the “Sunshine Vitamin”. There are many benefits of Vitamin D including muscle movement, fighting against bacteria and viruses, reducing inflammation, helping in calcium absorption and improving depression. Obviously, Vitamin D is important for everyone at any age. However, for women over 40, Vitamin D is considered very as it is often deficient in the body. Every woman with menopause symptoms should have enough Vitamin D as it can help moderate symptoms. It is important to note that Vitamin D is not normally found in the food that we eat. We have to either be under the sunlight or consume vitamin D supplements. For women who are younger than 40 years old, it is recommended that they should take 200 IU of vitamin D per day. For women who are older, they should consume 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Or go out in the sun for 20 mins a day.
A plant native to South America, Maca is used as a treatment for anemia, infertility and female hormone balance. A recent small systemic review indicated favorable effects on menopausal symptoms. Some women have adverse effects from Maca so a small quantity should be used at first to see how well the body tolerates it.
5. Wild Yam (Diascorea) or Chinese Yam (Shan Yao)
Wild Yam (Diascorea) or Chinese Yam (Shan Yao) has been historically used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat multiple symptoms, including symptoms of menopause, as it is rich in diosgenin content which aids the production of hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and steroids.
6. Angelica Root or Dang Qui
For Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, Dang Qui or Angelica Root can maintain hormonal balance as it has a unique ability to regulate estrogen levels within the body. It can also improve estrogen hormone profile and make all body systems work normally. Dang Qui, therefore, is often used as an herb for menstrual and menopausal problems in women. It has antispasmodic properties that will reduce cramps, mood changes, and discomfort during menstruation. It is best to have your Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor recommend this as it may only be effective with other herbs and caution needs to be used if you are taking other medications.
7. Evening Primrose Oil & Vitamin E
8. American Ginseng
9. White Peony Roots
The oil from the seed of the evening primrose plant contains essential omega-6 fatty acids and has been used to treat multiple inflammatory diseases and women’s health conditions.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin thought to act as an antioxidant in the body. At this time there is an insufficient amount of empirical evidence to conclude the effectiveness of vitamin E supplementation or Primrose Oil for menopausal symptoms however anecdotally some women find these supplements help
American ginseng helps to reduce dizziness, headaches, menopausal symptoms, nervous exhaustion, and fatigue as it promotes blood circulation to the body. We recommend American Ginseng over other ginsengs as they often have a side effect of raising the body temperature which we wish to avoid during menopause.
White Peony Roots are used to regulate menstruation and the female hormonal cycle. In Traditional Chinese medicine, this herb can help women who have hormones imbalance and also reduce muscle cramps, fatigue, and upset stomach.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you would like additional support or would like to know more about your own hormonal levels please visit us at Body Conscious. We have comprehensive laboratory testing for hormone levels and our Anti-Aging doctors and naturopaths offer advise on how to naturally adjust your lifestyle to support any inbalances.