Lifestyle

5 Best Supplements To Prepare For Menopause

The best menopause supplements

Menopause is a series of major hormonal changes which usually occur between the ages of 45 and 55 in women. Whilst this is a natural part of ageing, menopause can cause a whole host of symptoms including hot flushes, weight gain and more. Our diet can play a huge part in the severity of these, and there are certain nutrients which are essential for everyday hormone health.

While menopause is inevitable, there are practices and habits we can implement to help make the process go more smoothly.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • What is menopause?
  • Can nutritional changes impact menopause?
  • What are the best menopause supplements?

What Is The Menopause?

Menopause, peri-menopause and post-menopause are stages in a woman’s life when her monthly period stops. This is the end of a woman’s reproductive years.

Peri-menopause is the first stage in this process and can start eight to ten years before menopause.  Think of it as the menopause transition. During this time, sex hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can fluctuate significantly. Women typically start to experience it in their 40s – though for some it can start in their 30s, with many women starting to have erratic periods as their most obvious symptom.

The peri-menopause is followed by menopause, with symptoms (1) including:

  • Changes to the frequency of your periods (with them eventually stopping altogether)
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Joint pain
  • Heart palpitations
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The menopausal period typically lasts around seven years, although it can last up to fourteen. This is then followed by the post-menopausal period, where symptoms gradually decline over a period of four-five years.

Can Nutritional Changes Impact The Menopause?

Best Menopause Supplements

In short, yes. The severity of menopausal symptoms is partly determined by cortisol – the stress hormone. Symptoms often get worse the higher the cortisol is.

As well as directly putting sugar into the blood (for your fight or flight response), cortisol can also prevent insulin from doing its job of transporting glucose into cells. Excess glucose is converted to fat; therefore, insulin is known as the ‘fat-storing’ hormone.

There are some simple ways you can improve your symptoms:

Balance Your Blood Sugar

Keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable is critical during peri-menopause and menopause. Poor glucose control places a huge stress on the body.  Healthy post-menopausal women and menopausal women can experience more hot flushes when their blood glucose falls between meals. To help balance your blood sugar levels:

  • Limit refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol
  • Eat more vegetables, protein, and healthy fats
  • Limit snacking, stick to two or three meals a day
  • Try overnight fasting

Stress Management

Balancing your stress hormones is essential to maintaining good blood sugar balance. Increased production of the stress hormone, cortisol, has been associated with higher blood glucose levels. You can reduce stress by:

  • Making self-care and stress management a non-negotiable priority on your to do list
  • Avoiding potential food stressors, such as processed foods, sugar, alcohol, vegetable oils
  • Identify food sensitivities such as gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs

The Best Menopause Supplements

It’s important to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a balanced, varied diet and regular exercise. The addition of supplements can then support your health further. This may reduce the risk of nutritional shortfalls that may be associated with menopause symptoms.

Calcium Tablets

As we age, our bones can weaken and become porous (a condition known as osteoporosis,) making fractures more likely. Calcium loss accelerates as oestrogen declines, so it’s important to pay particular attention after you enter peri-menopause.

There are lots of dietary and lifestyle changes that support healthy bones, so incorporate these if you aren’t already:

  • At least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise a day (running, walking, resistance training, dancing)
  • A diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods that are particularly rich sources of calcium include dairy products and fortified plant-based alternatives, soybeans, sardines, kale, baked beans, and figs
  • No smoking
  • Get enough sleep

Vitamin D

Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and is therefore vital in supporting healthy bones and joints. The combination of calcium and vitamin D is a highly recommended prevention technique for reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

However, research also suggests the importance of vitamin D for maintaining mental wellbeing. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and cognitive decline (2).

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. From sunlight, our skin can synthesise vitamin D. However, this means that for those of us who spend most of our time inside, and especially during the winter months, the risk of deficiency is greater. Oily fish contains lower levels of vitamin D, and some foods may be fortified, such as orange juice, cereals, and dairy/plant-based alternative products.

Omega 3 6 9 Softgels

Omega-3 fats, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are widely known for their cardiovascular support properties. However, these healthy fats are also important for maintaining normal vision, brain health, and hydrated, smooth skin (3).

The heart-health benefits of omega-3 fats are vital during menopause, where triglyceride levels typically increase. High triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, due to reduced oestrogen levels, vision and brain function are often implicated during the menopausal transition.

EPA and DHA can be found in foods such as oily and fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. ALA is more commonly found in plant-based foods, such as walnuts and flaxseeds. While all types of omega-3 are beneficial, our bodies mostly utilise EPA and DHA. Therefore, for those following a plant-based diet or those who do not consume much fish, omega-3 supplementation is essential during menopause.

Collagen

During menopause, common skin complaints include dryness, flakiness, sagging and increased wrinkling. In the first five years of menopause, it is estimated that women experience a 30% decline in collagen due to flagging oestrogen levels (4). Collagen provides structural support to our skin and the cartilage in our joints, which explains the increased joint pain often experienced during menopause.

Collagen levels can be supported by incorporating foods such as bone broth, meat, eggs, and fish. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis and maintenance of collagen, so fruits and vegetables can help support collagen production further.

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Ginseng

Ginseng is a herbal medicine that has been known to demonstrate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also provide benefits to the brain, including boosting mood and mental wellbeing.

During menopause, emotions such as anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression often become more prevalent due to changing hormone levels. Fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone disrupt the production of serotonin (the mood hormone). Serotonin is important to regulate the sleep cycle. Therefore, disruptions to production can cause alterations to sleep patterns, and difficulties in achieving a restful night’s sleep.

With the introduction of a ginseng supplement, mood, sleep, and symptoms such as brain fog are suggested to improve.

Take Home Message

A healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep ia essential for maintaining health and wellbeing during the menopause. To support health further, consider implementing supplements into your daily routine.

Talk To Your Doctor

If you are seeking advice on how to best support your health during menopause, make an appointment with your GP. Myvitamins are not making any medical claims.

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
  3. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Linoleic-acid#section=Isomeric-SMILES
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3772914/

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/
  2. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Linoleic-acid#section=Isomeric-SMILES


Sanna Atherton - Registered Nutritionist, MBA, mBANT, mCNHC

Sanna Atherton - Registered Nutritionist, MBA, mBANT, mCNHC

Writer and expert

Sanna’s background in forensic science and power engineering led her to the fascinating world of Nutrition. She now helps stressed, worn out, time poor people find their happy weight and get back to their vibrant, fulfilled selves. As well as Corporate Wellbeing Programmes, Sanna has developed bespoke online nutrition courses, recipe eBooks and delivers 1:1 life-changing health coaching.