The research we conducted in the early days showed that women often have low levels of essential nutrients, especially after childbearing and breastfeeding, and it gets worse as we get older. Significant international studies show that billions of women around the world have nutritional deficiencies. Our bodies becoming depleted of essential vitamins and minerals is the underlying reason for many of the symptoms at perimenopause and beyond. Correcting nutritional deficiencies is, therefore, essential in helping manage your symptoms.
Whilst some vitamins and minerals are available through eating a healthy diet, some are not. No matter how healthily you eat, sometimes it just isn’t possible to achieve the desired balance of nutrients through diet alone. Still, you can easily make up for any shortfall with a selection of carefully chosen supplements.
Adding supplements to your daily regime has very positive effects – however, there is no one magic pill to make your symptoms go away. Sadly, it is not as simple as that. Every woman is unique, and so are her menopause symptoms and what is causing them. Research shows clearly that supplements that contain isoflavones and herbs, including red clover, Maca, St John’s Wort and Black Cohosh are both effective tools when looking to control symptoms of the menopause. They even get a special mention in the Health Economics Appendix of the current NICE guidelines.
To control many of the perimenopause and menopause symptoms, women take supplements that are standardised, safe and shown to restore our hormones into normal balance. One of the things we specialise in is keeping a track of effective supplements.
In amongst all the other recommendations, in my Six-Week Natural Menopause Solution we recommend standardised supplements that have undergone properly conducted clinical trials. It is vitally important to choose a supplement that has been standardised and has had the isoflavone content verified independently. Unfortunately, the isoflavone content of many isoflavone-rich supplements varies considerably from that stated on the label. In an independent analysis, one product that claimed to contain 39 mg of isoflavones per pill turned out to only contain 1mg which I find shocking!
Depending on your symptoms, there are several useful supplements that you can try in conjunction with each other.
What are the essential recommended vitamins and minerals for menopause?
Multivitamin and mineral
We recommend a good multivitamin and mineral supplement for all women.
The best option is to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains good amounts of the essential nutrients mentioned.
In the UK we recommend Lambert’s FEMA 45, which is of a similar formulation of Gynovite Plus, available in the US, which was formulated by a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, especially for women from menopause onwards. Clinical trials have found that it helps get nutrient levels back into an optimum range, thus improving hormone balance and bone density. Lambert’s FEMA 45, is manufactured to a similar formulation.
If your symptoms are severe, a combination of a phyto-rich diet and isoflavone-rich supplements can bring good results in the shortest time.
We recommend the isoflavone-rich supplement Promesil, which is a standardised red clover product. It contains high concentrations of the isoflavones genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin. Red clover is the richest known source of these four estrogenic isoflavones. It has up to 10 times as much of these isoflavones as the next richest source, soya. Taking red clover in pill form is the only way you are likely to get an adequate amount, especially if you don’t digest soya products very well.
Another way of approaching menopause symptoms is to influence the hormone producing glands in the body. The herbal remedy we use in the natural menopause plan for general menopausal symptoms is made with organic Peruvian Maca Root. In particular, we recommend a supplement called Femenessence, which has been shown in studies to be a safe, natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
Femenessence is the first herbal product made from organic maca root, growing for over 2000 years in Peru. It has been shown in trials to raise oestrogen and progesterone levels – the two essential hormones that fall at the time of the perimenopause. Clinical trials show it can bring about an 84 per cent reduction in menopausal symptoms. Women report fewer hot flushes and night sweats and improved sleep, energy levels, mood and libido.
Femenessence works by stimulating the hormone secreting glands in the body, such as the pituitary and adrenal glands. In the process, it also has a positive impact on your bone health and cholesterol levels. There are two versions of Femenessence. The peri-menopausal product is called MacaLife, and one for women who haven’t had a period for a year is called MacaPause.
Valerian is a traditional herbal remedy for symptomatic relief of stress and tension, promoting natural sleep without the unpleasant side-effects of more conventional drugs. It can also be taken for anxiety and conditions worsened by stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
St John’s Wort
Also known as Hypericum, St John’s Wort has been used in treating depression for many years. It is thought to be more effective in treating moderate depression and has fewer side-effects than conventional antidepressants. A 12-week German study of 111 women experiencing libido problems at the time of menopause found that 60% of the women using St John’s Wort significantly regained their libido.
Omega-7 has been used in Asian traditional medicine for over 1,000 years. The Omega 7 product that we recommend is Omega-7 SBA24 by PharmaNord. It is derived from Sea Buckthorn, a berry bush naturally found in Asia and Europe. Results show it helps maintain the health and integrity of the mucous membranes in the vagina.
The seed oil contains Omega-6 and Omega-3, while the oil from the plant flesh is one of the few rich sources of Omega-7 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
How to take your supplements
Always start by taking your supplements gradually. For example, if it is recommended you take two to four capsules of a supplement per day, start by taking one tablet per day and slow build-up to the optimum dose over a week or two. Supplements should always be taken after meals unless otherwise specified. If you are taking prescribed drugs from your doctor, do not reduce the dose without your doctor’s agreement. Most of the supplements suggested here are compatible with medication. In fact, you may feel you have less need for medication. If you are taking prescribed drugs, check with your doctor before taking St John’s Wort.
These are just some of the supplements available. Everyone is unique and will require different minerals and vitamins. We have a Nutritional Assessment tool which you can download, that can help identify those areas where you might be deficient and provide appropriate recommendations.
If you feel you need more guidance, why not join our Virtual Six-Week Natural Menopause Solution. It takes you to step by step through our programme to guide you through our programme, including working out the correct supplements for your symptoms.
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