Where do you turn for answers and help concerning perimenopause and menopause? Knowledgeable healthcare professionals are one source, as are reputable websites that provide relevant references (like we do!), peer reviewed medical journals, sanctioned health organizations, and of course your peers who are traveling the same road you are. Among the advice you get may be recommendations about the best supplements for perimenopause and menopause.
One way to approach the search for the best supplements is to look at the most common challenges facing women in perimenopause and menopause. Based on research and talking with women about their needs, the list includes osteoporosis, hot flashes, digestive problems, cardiovascular disease, sleep problems, stress/anxiety, memory/brain fog, and fatigue, among others. So, we have based our supplement choices to the best in the field that can help address these issues.
You may immediately think of bone health and osteoporosis when calcium is mentioned, and you are right. But this mineral also plays a critical role in other areas important for menopausal women. For example, calcium is necessary for:
- Your muscles, which need the mineral to relax and contract. This includes your heart muscle.
- Initiating blood clotting.
- Communication between your nerve cells.
First, it’s important to know how much calcium you need. Before menopause, the recommendation is 1,000 mg daily, and this increases to 1,200 mg once menopause is reached. For optimal calcium absorption and bone formation, it’s critical to get enough vitamin D (which is discussed in this article). Calcium-rich foods are the best source of this important mineral. However, we know that many women are not getting an adequate amount from food (e.g., dark green leafy veggies, canned fish with bones, calcium-fortified foods, and plant-based beverages), so a supplement may be necessary. Keep a record of your calcium intake from food for several days in a row and determine where you stand. If you are consistently falling short of the recommended 1,200 mg, then check out high-quality calcium supplements. Calcium supplements (e.g., calcium carbonate and calcium citrate) are suggested. Do not take more than recommended amount, especially if you are older than 51, as too much calcium can lead to kidney stones.
Will taking calcium supplements prevent bone fractures? Research has shown that taking calcium supplements can reduce bone mineral density loss but it does not lower the risk of bone fracture across the transition of perimenopause to menopause.
In a systematic review by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the authors concluded that among postmenopausal women who took calcium supplements along with vitamin D supplements there was a reduced incidence of total fractures and hip fractures of 15 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Fiber often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Once you reach perimenopause and menopause, however, its essential role in your daily life can become more apparent. We embrace fiber because of its role in:
- Digestion. The digestive process changes in menopause. Women are more likely to experience indigestion, bloating, gas, constipation, belching, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea. Getting adequate (25-30 grams daily) in your diet can have a positive impact on just about every one of these symptoms.
- Heart health. Fiber helps clean out the bad cholesterol in the blood vessels, which in turn can lower high blood pressure and improve blood circulation. You also need fiber to help lower inflammation in the body.
- Detoxing your liver. Fiber plays a role in supporting detoxification of the liver and the elimination of toxins through regular bowel movements.
- Hormone balance. To achieve healthy hormone balance, you need a healthy gut microbiome, which depends on getting adequate fiber. That’s because fiber helps regulate hormone levels in the body, including estrogen, progesterone, insulin, and ghrelin (the hunger hormone).
- Reduce breast cancer risk. Numerous research studies have indicated that fiber intake plays a significant role in reducing breast cancer risk, including a study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fiber may help lower estrogen levels in the blood, which may be linked to breast cancer.
- Support intestinal health. Fiber helps move stool and toxins from the body and thus has a role not only in reducing colon cancer risk but preventing constipation and related intestinal issues as well.
If you are looking to include more fiber in your diet, Fiberus is our choice. Each scoop provides 6.5 grams of soluble prebiotic fiber that dissolves rapidly and has no taste, texture, or smell.
Both emotional and physical stress are a challenge for women in menopause, and it typically takes a toll by exasperating symptoms and impacting quality of life. Stress and poor sleep often go hand-in-hand, and so finding ways to effectively tackle both of these issues is a goal many women try to reach.
The amino acid L-theanine has been shown to help with both of these challenges. In a 2023 study, researchers found that 200 mg L-theanine taken daily was effective in improving sleep. In another study, the investigators used a combination of L-theanine and magnesium, a mineral that is also known for its ability to promote muscle relaxation, which aids sleep while also bettering sleep quality. Brain images were taken to determine the effects of the L-theanine and magnesium combination, and the researchers noted that the “compounds potentiate the effect of L-theanine on sleep by boosting slow-brain waves, regulating brain electrical activity, and increasing neurotransmitter and GABA [gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid that plays a key role in the brain and in sleep] receptor levels.”
Sleepus is a supplement that combines L-theanine with magnesium bisglycinate chelate along with lactium (regulates the stress hormone cortisol) and melatonin (a sleep hormone) to reduce stress, promote relaxation, aid the ability to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and achieve quality sleep.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body, which makes it a critical mineral for health. When it comes to perimenopause and menopause, we are focusing on its importance for bone strength, sleep problems, stress and depression, and heart health.
Most cases of magnesium deficiency are not diagnosed, and the majority of individuals in modern society are not getting enough of this nutrient. Experts emphasize that “subclinical magnesium deficiency increases the risk of numerous types of cardiovascular disease,” and since heart disease is the number one killer of postmenopausal women, attention to magnesium intake is essential.
Tackling mood swings, depression, and anxiety is a full time job for many women in menopause, but magnesium may help. A relationship between low magnesium levels and depression has been found by researchers, including a study of postmenopausal women whose depressive levels were worse when magnesium was low and better when they were higher.
Magnesium is also essential for optimal bone health, a concern in menopause as the risk of osteoporosis and fractures increases. A 2021 update on magnesium and bone health reported that 30 to 40 percent of subjects evaluated in 28 studies had low magnesium (most were menopausal women) and that magnesium supplementation was beneficial for bone density and fracture risk.
Finally, restful sleep. Perimenopausal and menopausal women often fall short in this category. Magnesium may help. In a study of older adults, taking 500 mg magnesium daily for eight weeks resulted in significant increases in sleep efficiency and sleep time as well as melatonin levels and a significant decline in cortisol concentration.
Are you among the 70 to 80 percent of women in perimenopause or menopause who need more magnesium? Are you experiencing any or all of the health challenges we mentioned? Morphus Magnesium provides 300 mg of magnesium bisglycinate chelate to support women in managing these health goals.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a nutrient that can provide relief and health support for perimenopausal and menopausal women both inside and out. Difficulties with memory, concentration, attention, and brain fog can be very disruptive. Experts have shown that omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA; eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, respectively) are effective in improving brain function and health. A 2023 report evaluated the association between omega-3 levels and cognition and brain volume in elderly individuals. They found that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with better brain processing speed, memory, and brain structure.
How is your skin? Dry, flaking, itchy, red? Are you experiencing vaginal dryness and irritation or a sudden appearance of acne? Omega-3 fatty acids may help. Several reports have highlighted the value of omega-3 supplements in fighting acne and reducing acne lesions. In one group of women, skin hydration increased 39 percent and their skin was less sensitive and rough after three months among those who took one-half teaspoon of omega-3 rich oil when compared with a placebo group. Omega-3 may also improve vaginal dryness and irritation that frequently occurs in the menopause years.
Numerous studies have shown that your heart can benefit from omega-3s as well. In a 2023 meta-analysis, for example, the reviewers noted that taking supplements of omega-3s and “increasing the consumption of alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids in place of saturated fats reduces the risk of coronary events.”
Our Omega 3-T supplement provides 1,600 mg EPA and DHA in a triglyceride (T) form that makes it easy on the stomach. At the same time it can provide relief from skin problems, benefit your heart and brain, and even nourish your joints and hair.
The bark of the French maritime pine tree is the source of this special supplement used by many women in menopause. Pycnogenol is the registered trademark name for this product that is standardized to contain 70 percent of antioxidants known as procyanidins, which are a type of flavonoid.
Scores of studies have identified the benefits of this pine tree extract for relieving menopausal symptoms and supporting health concerns that affect women in this population. For example, 30 mg Pycnogenol resulted in significant decreases in hot flashes and sleep issues after perimenopausal women took the supplement for 12 weeks. In another study, 100 mg Pycnogenol use for six months lead to improvements in fatigue, mood swings, memory, headache, sleep, and hot flashes. A 2012 study provided first-time molecular evidence that Pycnogenol is beneficial for human skin by significantly improving elasticity and hydration. The subjects in this study were postmenopausal women who took the supplement for 12 weeks.
Other research shows how Pycnogenol can reduce blood sugar levels and thus help with pre-diabetes and diabetes. It also can boost metabolism, which can assist with weight loss.
To share in these benefits, our Pycnogenol supplement provides 100 mg per dose of dried French maritime pine bark extract. Just one dose daily is recommended.
Vitamin D is the friend all of us would love to have. This hormone (no, it’s not really a vitamin but more like a multifunctional hormone) plays a significant role in bone health and in the cardiovascular system, immune system, endocrine system, as well as in managing depression, cancer, and pain. Although vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, many people fail to get enough sunlight to meet their needs. Few foods are rich in vitamin D as well, so supplements are often recommended.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, so it is especially important in perimenopause and menopause for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Vitamin D also supports genitourinary tract problems such as urinary tract infections, regulates the growth of vaginal cells to help keep the vagina more supple, protects cardiovascular health, and impacts healthy immune function.
Before starting a vitamin D supplement, ask your doctor for a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. It’s important to take a dose that fits your specific needs and to combine it with Vitamin K2.
Did you know there are eight forms of vitamin E and that some are more beneficial for women in perimenopause and menopause than others? Here’s the story.
Vitamin E consists of four types of tocotrienols and four of tocopherols: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma. When shopping for vitamin E, you want the types with the most powerful antioxidant benefits and that have been studied for their abilities to lower inflammation, blood sugar, and cholesterol; improve brain and liver health, insulin function, and bone health; and support metabolic health and weight loss. Other benefits include an ability to help with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and age-related cognitive decline.
The two types of vitamin E behind these benefits are delta and gamma tocotrienols. Our Toco-E supplement provides these forms in a 150-mg softgel that you take once daily. And here’s an added bonus for women who are concerned about hair loss: a study has shown that individuals who took tocotrienol supplements for eight months showed a significant increase in the number of hairs on their scalp when compared with those who took a placebo.
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Various supplements can help relieve symptoms and support efforts to preserve heart, bone, nerve, and brain health while you make your journey through perimenopause and menopause. Always choose high-quality products that provide scientific evidence to support the ingredients in the supplement and take the supplement as recommended by your healthcare provider.