Which Supplements Can Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Menopause?

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Menopause is a condition that is a natural part of aging. During the transition (perimenopause) from normal menses to menopause (the end of periods), hormonal changes cause a syndrome of biochemical reactions that lead to symptoms. Nearly three quarters of women over the age of 40 experience symptoms. The symptoms can start subtly; then increase slowly over several years until menses stops completely. Symptoms can continue for some time. 

The common symptoms of menopause include:

1.      Change in periods – they may be longer or shorter, more or less bleeding, varying amount of time in between periods.

2.      Hot flashes often accompanied by night sweats.

3.      Problems sleeping.

4.      Decreases in vaginal secretions.

5.      Mood swings and a loss of sex drive

6.      Trouble focusing.

7.      Decrease of hair on the head and sometimes more hair on other parts of the body.            

The benchmark therapy is hormone replacement. In recent years, research has associated hormone replacement therapy with an increased risk of cancer. This is because researchers have discovered that the growth of some cancers is accelerated by increased amounts of estrogen hormones. The current consensus in the medical literature is that hormone replacement therapy is a risky alternative for many women. So what else can a woman do the help relieve the symptoms of menopause, when sometimes these symptoms can be debilitating.             A review of the medical literature over that last 43 years reveals that several alternative therapies have some merit. Clearly a regular regimen of aerobic exercise is beneficial in alleviating some of the symptoms. One must be wise when selecting an aerobic exercise because some can cause joint pain or damage. Aerobic exercise should not cause pain. The inventor of the term aerobics, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, stresses the benefit of walking as a beneficial aerobic exercise. Other exercises like swimming, bicycling, skipping rope, dancing, spinning, rowing, treadmill, and step aerobics can be of great benefit.             

A person’s diet is very important in maintaining general health. Eating several small meals a day that include: fish, chicken, and soy protein is advised. Limit your calorie intake to 1500 – 2500 calories depending on your size and your amount of exercise. Minimize your intake of saturated fat from beef, dairy, and pork. It is recommended by research that you keep your fat calories to around 25% of your total calories intake. Carbohydrates should be selected from the low glycemic index list. It is difficult to obtain even Recommended Daily Allowances of essential vitamins and minerals in a typical diet, so a good vitamin, mineral supplement is recommended. It is also difficult for a typical person to get adequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, the sources of which are canola oil and flaxseed or flaxseed oil. Canola oil is incorporated into a substitute of butter called Smart Balance. Dietary sources of longer chain omega 3 fatty acids include: salmon, sardines, and walnuts. A supplement of fish oil and/or flaxseed oil can assure that you receive adequate amounts daily. You should take a supplemental source of vitamin E to protect the omega 3 oil supplements.            

Botanical (herbal) supplements that research has shown to be beneficial include: Black Cohosh, St. John’s wort, Resveratrol, Ginkgo, and Ginseng. Black Cohosh is clearly the most effective therapy for relieving hot flashes. It has been demonstrated that Black Cohosh acts on serotonin receptors. Some safety issues have surfaced about the use of Black Cohost causing liver damage. St. John’s wort has proven effective in relieving depression and mood disorders with no side effects. Evening Primrose Oil has shown some promise. Ginkgo supplements have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and increase glucose uptake by the brain, thus improving nerve transmissions and relieving mood symptoms. Ginseng supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of fatigue, insomnia and depression. Resveratrol has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant effective in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, and degenerative brain disorders. Other supplements have failed to show efficacy.            

We highly recommend aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements of vitamins, minerals, Black Cohosh, St. John’s wort, Resveratrol, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Flaxseed Oil and Evening Primrose Oil in attempts to relieve the symptoms of Menopause. 4/4009

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Source by Jack Bateman

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