Updated Sept 14, 2017
Menopause can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms for women; one way to help alleviate some of these symptoms is to use menopause or perimenopause supplements. Supplements containing natural ingredients like DIM, DHEA or herbs like black cohosh, can be a great alternative to hormone replacement therapy. They can help provide relief from symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, depression, anxiety, low sex drive, insomnia, vaginal dryness, headaches and fatigue. Menopause supplements are most commonly made from vitamins and herbs with natural extracts and nutrients that can help to regulate hormone levels. Elevated hormone levels are often the main cause of most symptoms. We have analyzed all of the best natural menopause supplements and summarized what you need to look for to find the right products for you.
The main benefit of taking a menopausal supplement is to help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms that are associated with menopause. Many women use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to treat their different symptoms and while that is a very effective treatment, it does come with increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. HRT can also increase the risk of stroke, and heart disease. Due to the associated risks of HRT, many women are looking for alternatives and have found relief with natural supplements.
Ingredients to Look for
Choosing a supplement for menopause can be difficult, you may have to try out a number of different products to find one that is right for you. This trial and error process can be frustrating, so it is worth spending a bit of time learning about some of the more common ingredients in the most popular supplements.
There are a few power ingredients that show up again and again that are known to help reduce menopause symptoms. They are:
Black cohosh (Cumicifuga racemosa) – Black cohosh is one of the most studied traditional herbs for menopause; it can work well to help lessen the severity of hot flashes by maintaining hormone levels. It doesn’t work for everyone, but a lot of women report that it does work for them. In clinical testing it does not show any estrogenic activity, so it is believed to be safe for women who are high risk for breast cancer. You should NOT use black cohosh if you have liver problems. It can interact with other drugs so ensure you have checked with your doctor before using.
Soy Isoflavones- Soy isoflavones can provide mild estrogenic effects tohelp balance hormone levels. There has been quite a lot of research into soy isoflavones, some of it showing that it indeed can provide effective for relief from hot flashes. There hasn’t been a lot of research into the long term effect of taking a supplement containing soy isoflavones, but many experts recommend avoiding soy if you are high risk for breast cancer.
Red Clover: Red clover is a herb that has phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens). According to Danish researchers red clover can help stabilize hormone levels and reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
DHEA – DHEA is a hormone that is produced naturally by the adrenal glands. As we age the amount of the DHEA hormone that is produced drops significantly. DHEA has been added to some supplement to help reduce the symptoms of menopause.
DIM– DIM is a compound that is found only in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnip and leafy greens. DIM promotes the metabolism of excess estrogen to help restore a healthy hormonal balance.
Wild yam – Wild yam contains the chemical diosgenin that can be made in the lab into estrogen. Some people use it for estrogen replacement therapy, but experts believe that it while it does have some estrogen-like activity, according to clinical testing it doesn’t really get converted into estrogen in the body and does not help with menopause symptoms.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that can help with hormonal balancing, that will in turn help with symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. A study of 51 menopausal women taking ashwagandha had a reduction in hot flashes, anxiety, and mood.
Dong quai has been used in Chinese medicine as treatment for female health (menstrual cramps, PMS, anemia, and constipation) as well as to help maintain the natural balance of female hormones. There is some evidence that in combination with other herbs and nutrient it can reduce menopausal symptoms. Clinical studies have shown that if it is taken alone, it doesn’t significantly improve symptoms.
Flaxseed – The lignins in flaxseed can help modulate hormone metabolism.
Vitamin E –Some women have found that 400 IUs once a day of natural vitamin E can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes.
Evening primrose oil or black currant oil – These are sources gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an inflammation-fighting omega-6 fatty acid, that can influence prostaglandin synthesis and help moderate menopausal symptoms.
10 Best Supplements for Menopause
We have listed ten of the most popular bestselling menopause supplements and included a list of ingredients of each product.
Remifemin is a herbal supplement derived from the black cohosh plant. Remifemin has over 40 years of research behind it. It can help treat hot flashes, night sweats, related occasional sleeplessness, irritability and mood swings.
Ingredients: Black Cohosh Extract (Root and Rhizome) Lactose, Cellulose, Potato Starch, Magnesium Stearate, and Natural Peppermint Flavor.
Estrovera is an option that contains something called ERr 731®, a plant based extract of Siberian rhubarb. ERr 731 has been used in Germany and in other areas of Europe since 1993. Studies have shown that it can significantly reduce menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes, sleep disturbances depressive mood, irritability, and anxiety. It also works well for perimenopausal women.
Ingredients: Rhapontic Rhubarb Root (shortened ER r731), ammonium hydroxide, glycerol triacetate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, stearic acid, silica, deionized water, and polyethylene glycol.
Estroven Maximum Strength contains both black cohosh and soy isoflavones to help combat hot flashes and night sweats. Some of its other ingredients include magnolia bark to help irritability and mood swings, as well as green tea and yerba maté extracts to boost energy level and fight fatigue.
Ingredients: Black Cohosh, Soy Isoflavones, Magnolia Bark, Green Tea and Yerba Maté Extracts
4. Smoky Mountain Naturals DIM
Smoky Mountain Natural DIM is a wildly popular supplement that contains the newish wonder ingredient DIM. As mentioned above, DIM comes from cruciferous vegetables and it appears to be an easy and effective way to help balance your hormones. You only need to take one pill a day and it contains Bio-Perine, which is a black pepper extract that helps the body absorb the DIM. It is also soy-free, dairy-free, animal cruelty-free, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and made in a GMP facility. When first taking DIM many users get headaches and other detox-like feelings for around 3-4 days.
Main Active Ingredients:DIM, Bioperine
5. New Chapter Estrotone
Estrotone contains a combination of black cohosh, ginger, rosemary, and evening primrose. All of these ingredients work together as antioxidants as well as to help balance hormone and reduce menopausal symptoms. Estrotone contains no hormones or estrogen.
Ingredients: Evening Primrose Oil, Schizandra, Ginger, hydroethanolic extract, Black Cohosh
Chaste tree, Rosemary, phenolic antioxidants
Promensil is the top selling supplement that contains the active ingredient of red clover isoflavones. If you are looking for an alternative to HRT, Promensil is a great option because it contains 4 key isoflavones that aim to mimic estrogen in the body. It can provide relief of many menopause symptoms associated with lowered estrogen levels in the body, but at a weaker strength than HRT so it doesn’t come with the risks that are associated with HRT. It also contains calcium and Vitamin D3.
Ingredients: red clover isoflavones, calcium and vitamin D3
7. NewPhase Complete
NewPhase Complete contains a lot of herbs and isoflavones that are helpful for dealing with many of the different symptoms that come with menopause including relieving hot flashes and night sweats. It also has green tea extract that may help to increases your energy level.
Ingredients: Vitamin D , Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Manganese, Multi-herbal isoflavones (From kudzu root, soybean and red clover, activated with isolase™ plant enzymes)
,NewPhase ExtraStrength Proprietary Herbal Blend: [chaste tree berry standardized extract (o.15% aucubin), green tea leaf extract, black cohosh root standardized extract (2.5% triterpene glycosides)]
8. Source Naturals – Hot Flash
Source Naturals Hot Flash® is a blend of non-GMO soy isoflavones that is specially designed to minimize hot flashes. It is suitable for vegetarians and contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten or wheat.
Ingredients: Calcium, Sodium, SoyLife® Non-GMO Isoflavone Complex (from soy),Black Cohosh Root Standardized Extract, Triterpene Glycosides, Dong Quai Root Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Chaste Tree Berry Extract
i-cool® is a menopause relief supplement made with geniVida®, which is a pure, soy-free, genistein (an isoflavone or plant-based estrogen) developed from a special patented process. While genistein is generally associated with food that contains soy, the geniVida® brand of genistein is not made from soy. It is non-allergenic and hormone-free. It claims only to be helpful with hot flashes and night sweats, there is no specific claim to treat other symptoms.
Main Active Ingredients: geniVida®
Mendapause has 12 different herbs included, all which are commonly mentioned when talking about how to relieve menopause symptoms. It is very popular and according to user feedback it seems to work well for a variety of symptoms.
Key Active Ingredients: Soy Isoflavones, Licorice Extract, Red Clover Extract, Sage, False Unicorn, Vitex (chaste) Berry, Wild Yam, Red Raspberry, Black Cohosh
Things to watch out for
- As with all supplements, you should ensure that you are taking the correct dosage. Just because a product contains ‘natural’ ingredients it doesn’t mean that it can’t harm you if you take too much.
- If you are taking any medication you should speak with your doctor before taking herbal supplements because of possible reaction with other drugs.
- All supplements have potential side effects.
- Most herbal remedies haven’t been tested for long-term safety and efficacy.
- Herbal remedies are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
When you are shopping for the right supplement you may find the number of choices overwhelming. In order to narrow your search down there are a few things you can think about when selecting a product:
- Three of the most studied and seemingly effective ingredients (according to experts) are black cohosh, soy isoflavones (from soybean or red clover sources) and most recently DIM. If you are at high risk for breast cancer or hormone-related cancers you should avoid soy isoflavones.
- If you have trouble taking large pills, you will want to check the size of any pills you are interested in, as well as dosage amount.
- Most products contain a long list of different mixtures of herbs and nutrients, so ensure that you read the ingredient list.
- If the supplement is vegan, vegetarian friendly, or non-GMO, it will most likely be listed in the product information.
- If some symptoms are more severe or you only have problems with one or two symptoms of menopause, you will want to make sure that any product you buy addresses that particular symptom.
How long will you have to wait before you start to see results?
Depending on the product you choose, you may start to see results within the first few days or more typically it can take up to eight weeks before you begin to notice relief from symptoms. The response to the various products will vary depending on the individual. You will also need to ensure you are following the correct dosage that is stated on the instructions, in order to get the best results. If you have had absolutely no change in your symptoms after about twelve weeks of any of the different products available, you should consult with your doctor about other options.
Can I take these types of supplements over a long period of time?
Most products have been designed to be used safely for a number of years (since it may take years to go through menopause). After a number of years using a product you my find that your body has adjusted to the lower estrogen level and you won’t need to take a supplement anymore. It is easy to stop using a particular product to see if symptoms return, if they do return you can being to take the product again (although see instructions for each brand individually).
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