If you're currently experiencing menopause or even perimenopause and you're looking for ways to tackle some of the side effects, have you thought about trying menopause supplements? To give you a helping hand, we've delved into the options available to you such as menopause tablets, oil, and more with help from Dr. Sarah Brewer, former GP, and Healthspan Medical Director.
How does menopause affect the body?
“The menopause occurs when the ovaries run out of egg follicles which, as well as producing eggs, also secrete oestrogen and progesterone hormones,” explains Dr. Sarah. “As receptors for these hormones are found throughout the body, falling levels of hormones can cause a wide range of side effects in addition to hot flushes and night sweats. You may also notice mood swings, changes in libido, and a tendency towards skin, hair, and intimate dryness.”
“In the skin, oestrogen boosts the production of collagen and promotes skin thickness, elasticity, and hydration. As oestrogen levels fall, skin becomes thinner with dryness, itching, slackness, and wrinkling. These effects are hastened by the damaging effects of sunlight,” says Dr. Sarah.
“At the same time, lower oestrogen levels increase the risk of long-term health issues such as high blood pressure, rising cholesterol levels and bone health issues such as thinning bones, as well as problems with vaginal discomfort and bladder weakness.”
Do menopause supplements work?
It looks like the jury is out on this one. “A review of treatment effects from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline on menopause concluded that isoflavones and black cohosh are more effective than placebo in treating hot flushes, but not better than prescribed HRT, which is as expected,” says Dr. Sarah.
“They are a suitable alternative for women who are unable or unwilling to use prescribed HRT. Guidelines for UK doctors advise explaining to women who want to use complementary therapies, such as isoflavones and black cohosh, that the quality, purity, and constituents of these products may be unknown and that different preparations may vary.”
That’s why it’s important to select a product made to a pharmaceutical standard known as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) “This means the identity, purity, and dose is checked at every stage of production,” explains Dr. Sarah.
Related: Natural remedies for menopause
What supplements do people take for menopause?
Isoflavones are plant hormones that have a weak oestrogen-like action in the body. Isoflavone supplements can reduce the frequency of hot flushes by 20 per cent and their severity by 26 per cent within 6 to 12 weeks.
“I also recommend eating live bio yoghurt or taking a probiotic supplement, as the balance of bacteria within the intestines affects how well plant hormones are activated, and whether the isoflavones found in soy (daidzein) is converted into a more beneficial oestrogen called equol,” explains Dr. Sarah.
"This is licensed as a traditional herbal medicine used to relieve symptoms of menopause. It is believed to have a direct action on the brain, lowering levels of LH (luteinising hormone) to help normalize oestrogen-progesterone balance,” Dr. Sarah says. “It also has an effect on dilation of blood vessels, and helps to relieve hot flushes, night sweats, low libido, anxiety, and mood swings as well as improving sleep quality.”
Sage leaf is a traditional herbal remedy for sweating and can also relieve menopausal hot flushes. “A study involving 69 menopausal women who’d experienced symptoms for at least a year, and who had at least five flushes a day, showed that sage leaf extracts reduced the frequency of mild hot flushes by 46 per cent, moderate flushes by 62 per cent, severe flushes by 79 per cent and stopped very severe flushes altogether,” says Dr. Sarah. “The intensity of flushes overall was halved within 4 weeks and reduced by 64 per cent within 8 weeks.”
Evening primrose oil supplements supply an essential fatty acid, GLA, that improves skin quality, smoothness, and lustre. "This helps to reduce dryness and itching and plumps out wrinkles. It also reduces age-related mottling and age-spots, suppressing the over-production of melanin pigment in older women," says Dr. Sarah.
Sea buckthorn oil
"For vaginal dryness, I recommend Sea buckthorn oil supplements and using a moisturising gel containing hyaluronate, aloe vera, black cohosh, and sage," says Dr. Sarah.
“If falling oestrogen levels are affecting your quality of life, ability to sleep, or associated with anxiety or difficulty relaxing, cannabidiol (CBD) oil can help,” recommends Dr. Sarah. “CBD is extracted from hemp plants and is one of the most effective natural substances for aiding relaxation and promoting general feelings of wellbeing. Like oestrogen, CBD enhances the effects of other brain chemicals, such as serotonin, and is especially helpful at this time of life to help reduce menopausal symptoms.”
The best menopause supplements in the UK
If you are looking for menopause supplements that contain the many beneficial ingredients that Dr. Sarah recommends but in one capsule, here are some great options.
Pukka Herbs Menopause Serenity
The Womenkind range from Pukka contains a good range of B vitamins. Many menopausal women require additional vitamin B supplements to help their memory and energy levels. Studies show that as many as 60 per cent of women over 50 have a vitamin B12 deficiency that can lead to memory loss, fatigue, and even insomnia. So, adding these additional vitamins to your daily routine will be very beneficial.
This supplement also contains other helpful ingredients, such as sage, which Dr. Sarah recommends. The sage works as a herbal remedy that can help reduce sweat and hot flushes. The supplement also contains iodine, which allows the normal functioning of the nervous system and metabolism. Womenkind Menopause Serenity is also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
A.Vogel Menopause Support
The A.Vogel Menopause Support supplement is made from a unique formulation made from soy isoflavones, magnesium, and hibiscus. Magnesium contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and helps support the nervous system. This supplement is GM-free and suitable for vegans; however, it is not ideal for those with a soybean intolerance or allergy.
Natures Aid PremEeze Agnus Castus
This supplement is to relieve premenstrual symptoms and is ideal for premenopausal women with a heavy flow. This supplement contains Agnus Castus, which was first used for female health by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. This herbal medicinal product claims to help with symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, breast tenderness, cramps or bloating.
JSHealth Menopause+ Formula, 60 tablets
JSHealth have launched a Menopause+ supplement, that is a blend of herbs and nutrients (Sage, Chaste Tree, Ziziphus and Vitamin B6). Created with a team of leading experts and backed by science, alongside founder, and clinical nutritionist Jessica Sepel. The supplements were specially formulated to support women experiencing symptoms of menopause, including reducing excessive sweating, relieving symptoms of premenstrual tension, and supporting energy production, while regulating energy levels.
Tried and Tested by Yours.co.uk: "I rely on the extra supplements to support the changes I've experienced during menopause and found that more than a month of taking the JSHealth Menopause+ supplement that I felt much more energised in the mornings whereas normally I would feel sluggish. The only downside for me is that it doesn't include magnesium which other menopause supplements have so I still needed to take that additionally to help manage symptoms."
Vitabiotics Menopace Tablets
Vitabiotics Menopace claims to be the UKu2019s number 1 vitamin company, and Menopace the leading Menopause supplement brand in the UK. Menopace contains vitamin B6, which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. It also includes vitamin C, which contributes to healthy collagen formation for the normal function of skin, teeth, cartilage, bones, and blood vessels. Additionally, it also comes highly recommended in reviews by other women who claim it stopped my night flushes and mood changing.
LQ Collagen Joint Care
If you are experiencing joint pain while going through menopause, it is due to the declining levels of the hormone oestrogen, which lead to a reduction in collagen. 'This is a key component of the connective tissue supporting joints,u2019 states consultant rheumatologist Dr. Rod Hughes. In menopause, the skin loses collagen, and research shows that women's skin loses about 30 per cent of its collagen during the first five years of menopause. To combat joint pain, you can take a collagen supplement. This cherry flavoured liquid collagen supplement is easy to take, tastes nice and will help with joint discomfort. The copper contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues, while the vitamin C provides a normal collagen formation for the healthy function of bones and cartilage. This product contains fish, so it would not be suitable for vegans, vegetarians or those with a fish allergy. There is also another liquid collagen supplement from LQ Collagen for skin and hair.
TRU NIAGEN NAD+ Supplement
According to Webmd.com, NADH stands for "nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H)." This chemical occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in the chemical process that generates energy. People use NADH supplements as medicine."
NAD is known to help with menopausal symptoms, slow the ageing process, and helps with memory, alertness, as well as treating Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Due to its energy-producing properties, it is also used for improving your performance when exercising and treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
Tried and tested by Ellen Kinsey, Commercial Content Writer for Yours:
"I have been taking the TRU NIAGEN NAD+ supplements for a month now, and since taking them, my energy levels have improved. I usually take them first thing in the morning, or if I plan to work out, I take them before exercise. I often feel lethargic and fatigued due to digestive and gut health issues, but taking these supplements with a healthy balanced diet has really helped boost my energy levels and concentration.
"If you are looking to find ways to increase your energy alongside a healthy diet, these supplements help with psychological function, reduce tiredness and help to maintain the normal functioning of your nervous system."
Are there risks to taking supplements?
If you are taking any prescribed medication, check with your doctor or a pharmacist before taking supplements. “If you have a history of a hormone-dependent condition such as endometriosis or breast cancer, then seek advice before taking oestrogenic supplements, too," says Dr. Sarah.
Should I choose supplements or medication?
“There are plenty of natural remedies to help you navigate this time of life, but if you are struggling, do see your GP as prescribed HRT can quickly control symptoms if you are willing and able to use it,” recommends Dr. Sarah.