Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life, and navigating it sometimes sucks. I often hear women say that they’ve been in menopause for years, and the symptoms just won’t go away.
To dispel a myth- menopause is NOT something that goes on for years and years. Menopause is simply the absence of the menstrual period for 12 months.
The reason you’re symptoms have started and you are still menstruating, AND the reason they continue long after the 12 month period is hormonal imbalance. Potentially not the type you’re thinking- rather its a main imbalance in adrenal gland health versus a smaller imbalance in reproductive glands. Your ovaries stop producing hormones, and adrenals take over. Mucho lifelong stress + menopause transition = bad news bears. Or hot flashes and what’s a sex drive again? And no sleep in years plus dry, sagging everything.
Being a lover of herbal medicine, I had to start with herbs! Black cohosh is an extremely popular herb for women’s health. The positive effects of black cohosh come from it’s estrogen-like action. Not only has black cohosh been touted as helpful for symptoms of low estrogen like hot flashes, low libido and vaginal dryness- it has also been used as a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory for aching or stiff joints and muscles that come during menopause.
You can get black cohosh in capsules, tincture or in Hot Flash Tea. Take as directed. Not safe for pregnancy.
A great supplement for perimenopause and menopause, this fat-soluble vitamin helps to reduce hot flashes and night sweats. It’s anti-inflammatory + antioxidant action is very protective to your hormonal and immune system.
Look for an emulsified version of Vitamin E, I really like the Genestra brand. and start with 200IU – 400IU per day. Take with food to get the most out of this nutrient.
Specifically here I’m talking about B5, B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. ALL the Bs but especially these four are extremely helpful in menopause. B5 helps to regulate stress and adrenal gland function. B6 helps to regulate mood and water levels (see ya, bloat!). B9 or folic acid helps to protect your heart- and heart malfunction risk increases with age and poor lifestyle. Lastly B12 is important, and often a deficient nutrient in women going through or past the menopause transition. B12 protects your bones, so that osteoporosis won’t be an issue as you age.
Grab a B-complex supplement to get all these goodies. I really like the Stress-B formula by Thorne.
Supporting your adrenal glands is fuckin’ important to your health in the Third Age (aka your lady wisdom years) as you can imagine from what we’ve already talked about above. If you want your body producing enough sex hormones through your transition, AND being able to go with the flow when stresses arrive, you MUST take care of your poor adrenals. *sending love and healing light to your adrenals*
One of the best ways to use supplements to assist you in this is with adaptogenic herbs. These are herbs that can pep you up when necessary, but also keep you calm, peaceful or even sleepy when necessary. Below is a short list of my favourite adaptogenic herbs for ladies going through the menopause transition:
- Rhodiola: has been shown to be helpful with weight management as well
- Ashwagandha: great for those with thyroid problems as well
- Eleuthero: sometimes considered a ginseng, this will give pep to your day
- Maca: excellent if you have no sex drive
- Tulsi: perfect before bed as a tea to calm
- Nettle: up your nutrient status with this general tonic herb
Enjoy these herbs as tea, tincture or powder (for maca).
Bone Shit/Vascular Integrity
Like the herbs above, these supplements had to be put in a category together. Declining estrogen, coupled with poor adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid health can really put a damper on your bones. To prevent bone loss and serious conditions like osteoporosis, consider the following supplements. It also happens that these supplements could increase your energy and balance your mood quite a bit.
- Magnesium: used in 300+ ways in your body, this mineral is an important part of bone health. Not to mention is can relax you, help you sleep, balance blood sugar and mood problems. I prefer either the glycinate, malate or taurate forms when possible. Grab a powder, liquid or capsules. Take according to label directions.
- Calcium: in some ways a counterpart to magnesium, this mineral is needed in abundance in your bones. Don’t take it by itself as a supplement- the other nutrients listed here are imperative for proper calcium use in the body. Also, most supplements of this aren’t good quality or well absorbed. Get as much of this mineral through FOOD as possible. Think nuts/seeds, dark leafy green shit and sardines.
- Vitamin D3: awesome for SO MANY THINGS. Just like friend magnesium up there. It can assist in increasing bone mineral density. Vitamin D is also excellent for immunity, mood, brain function, blood pressure. Supplement 1000IU – 2000IU per day depending on your needs and climate (we get D from sunshine) as a conservative estimate.
- Vitamin K2: Last but certainly not least, this little known vitamin is crucial for keeping calcium in your bones, rather than being deposited in your arteries creating potential cardiovascular problems. If you don’t use this with your bone building regime, you’re throwing your money away on the rest. Recommended dose is 120mcg.