Natural Supplements for Menopause
Reviews and Information about Popular and New Menopause Supplements
Natural supplements for menopause are extremely popular. Women are desperate to find a safe and effective remedy to help their symptoms and to get their life back on track.
Here we will review the most popular natural supplements for menopause. But we will also introduce you to some newer supplements that incorporate recent scientific discoveries.
So here are the supplements in alphabetical order:
- Flash Ease
- Natural Female Support
- Remifemin / Remifemin Good Night
Amberen is relatively new on the market and uses a different approach than most other natural supplements for menopause.
Estrobalance and Estrosense are similar in their activity and not just for women during the menopause transition. They can also be used at any time when estrogen imbalances are a problem, such as during the menstrual cycle.
These natural supplements for menopause are also helpful for women who have problems with high levels of xenoestrogens. (Xenoestrogens are estrogens that come through the environment and food sources. One example is meat or milk from cows that were treated with hormones).
Flash-Ease is predominantly a Black Cohosh supplement but it is a unique natural supplements for menopause because of its time-release action.
uses a newly discovered plant estrogen that is the most powerful than any other of the phyto-estrogens.
Remifemin is by far the most well known of all natural supplements for menopause. It is the oldest and most researched supplement with over 50 years of data and numerous clinical trials.
Amberen is a newer natural supplement for menopause that is on the market since 2006. The manufacturers claim that it helps with hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety and improves your libido with “smart molecules that boost the body’s hormonal function”. The ingredients in Amberen are:
- Ammonium Succinate
- Calcium Disuccinate
- Monosodium L-Glutamate
- Magnesium Disuccinate Hydrate
- Zinc Difumarate Hydrate
- Tocopherol Acetate
The amount of each of the ingredients in Amberen is proprietary. In essence you are getting: Ammonium succinate, Calcium, MSG, Glycine, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin E.
The use of the ammonium succinate and MSG makes Amberen different from other natural supplements for menopause. Ammonium succinate is a chemical compound that supposed to normalize the function of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the area of the brain that regulates the hormone system and many body functions including body temperature, mood, and sleep.
The full effect is supposedly felt after the 90 day cycle and to last long after you stop taking Amberen. You can take Amberen in several cycles if your symptoms come back. The residual effect of Amberen is doubtful based on the reviews.
The reviews on Amberen are decidedly mixed. Some women rave about the effect of Amberen and report relief from hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings within a few days. Some also say that their sleep improved.
Another group of women is extremely disappointed and could find no relief at all even after taking Amberen for weeks.
A third group reported bothersome side effects. It appears that women with certain underlying health issues such as high blood pressure or nervous system disorders, have problems when taking Amberen.
There is a lively debate on the Internet regarding the side effects of the MSG in Amberen. (MSG allegedly boosts the effects of the other ingredients on the neurotransmitters.) The amount of MSG in Amberen is very small at 40mg per dose) only women who are extremely sensitive to MSG should have side effects based on this ingredient.
Amberen is not cheap, but women who get relief from their menopause symptoms gladly pay it.
As the name indicates, the claim of EstroBalance is a natural support for a healthy estrogen balance. It is geared toward all stages of a women’s life where estrogen imbalance can be a problem.
It addresses estrogen dominance which can be a problem for women in pre menopause (also for those that suffer from PMS).
Estrobalance is also supposed to “stimulate the metabolism of fat, to promote breast wellness and healthy cell development” per information from the manufacturer.
The ingredients of Estrobalance are:
- Calcium (as calcium carbonate)
- Indolplex® Complex modified food starch,
- Diindolylmethane (DIM®),
- d-alpha tocopheryl succinate,
- phosphatidylcholine (soy)
The main ingredients that help with your menopause symptoms are Diindolylmethane (DIM), Indolplex Complex and vitamine E (d-alpha tocopheryl succinate). It also contains lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) from soybeans and calcium.
Diindolylmethane or DIM® is an interesting substance. It is derived from cruciferous vegetables (also called brassicaea) like broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, and collards –vegetables from the cabbage family. These vegetables contain numerous substances with powerful nutrients that can repair cell damage and block the growth of cancer cells.
DIM® is currently investigated because it appears to boost the immune system and has potent antiviral and antibacterial activity. It may protect the cervix against the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer if preliminary research holds true. It may also control the abnormal cell growth of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
Indoplex complex The “Indoplex complex” refers a patented form of indole-3-carbinol, which allows the beneficial chemicals from the cruziferous vegetables to be absorbed properly and to get metabolized (broken-down) into more beneficial and safer forms of estrogen.
This leads to an estrogen balancing effect. (An interesting site note is that DIM® is found in many nutritional supplements for men with the claim that it would increase free testosterone levels).
Judging from the ingredients, Estrobalance is a good option as a natural supplement for menopause. Most women who take Estrobalance really like it and say that it works well for their menopause symptoms.
Women in pre menopause especially should benefit from the hormone balancing effect and you should start it as early as possible when the first symptoms appear.
Estrosense is similar to Estrobalance but with some different additional herbal ingredients. It is formulated to provide a hormone balancing effect and is recommended for all women with hormone related problems. It can be used for PMS or during menopause.
The ingredients in Estrosense are:
- Calcium D-glucarate
- Indole-3-carbinol (I3C)
- Green tea extract (60% polyphenols. Caffeine free)
- Turmeric (95% curcumin)
- Milk Thistle (80% sylmarin)
- Rosemary extract (10:1 extract)
- Lycopene (tomato source)
- Sulforaphane (broccoli source)
The ingredients in Estrosense are all known hormone balancing and cancer fighting substances.
The manufacturer recommends to start Estrosense at the first start of symptoms in perimenopause for maximum benefits.
Estrosense received the “Best of Supplements Award” in 2009 by the Better Nutrition magazine (together with Remifemin) which rates natural supplements for menopause and other categories.
Flash Ease (time-release tablets)
Flash Easeby Nature’s Sunshine is a proprietary blend of Black Cohosh and Dong Quai. These herbs help primarily with hot flashes and night sweats. Secondary benefits should occur for mood swings (because of the specific action of Black Cohosh) and other milder symptoms caused by low estrogen (phytoestrogens in Dong Quai).
Flash-Ease is a time release supplement. This means that is releases its active substances continuously for about 10 hours instead of delivering the full dose all at once. If you follow the recommendation of the manufacturer you should take one pill in the morning and one at night.
The Ingredients in Flash-Ease are:
- Black Cohosh Extract (standardized to of 2.5% total Triterpene Glycosides, calculated as 27-Deoxyactein): 80mg
- Dong Quai: 200mg
The main active chemicals of Black Cohosh are Triterpen Glycosides. Triterpen Glycosides act on the neurotransmitters that stimulate those systems in the brain that regulate core body temperature, mood and hormone production (hypothalamus and pituitary gland).
Flash-Ease delivers 2 mg of triterpene glycosides which is an equivalent to 80mg Black Cohosh. This is a much higher concentration of the herb than in most other Black Cohosh supplements.
Previously researchers thought that Black Cohosh contained plant estrogens (phyto-estrogens) and its activity would come through the activation of estrogen receptors. Now they know that Black Cohosh has no estrogenic effect on cells.
Dong Quai on the other hand is a well known phyto-estrogen and has a weak estrogenic effect.
There are several other natural supplements for menopause with 80mg Black Cohosh standardized to 2.5% Triterpen Glycosides. But Flash-Ease is the only one we found that has the added benefit of a continuous release of its active ingredients.
This should prevent some of the potential side effects of higher concentrations of Black Cohosh such as gastro-intestinal problems and headaches. You may want to start with ½ tablet in the morning and ½ at night and gradually increase the amount to the full dosage.
As with most natural supplements for menopause, not every woman will get total symptom relief and the reviews show it. Some women benefit greatly and others don’t – but the vote is decisively in favor of Flash-Ease.
Natural Female Support by the Life Extension Foundation is a supplement that uses plant estrogen for symptom relief. Recently researchers found a new and very powerful kind of phyto-estrogen (called 8-prenylnaringenin) in hops which is much more popular for brewing beer.
Natural Female Support by the Life Extension Foundation combines this hops extract with another kind of phyto-estrogen (hydroxymatairesinol ) extracted from the Norway spruce tree.
Both kinds of plant estrogen resulted in significant reduction in hot flashes in separate human trials. In some preliminary studies, the two substances (8-PN from hops and HMR from the Norway spruce) have also shown some promises to prevent osteoporosis, protect against cancer and provide benefits for a healthy heart.
Ingredients in Natural Female Support are:
- Lifenol™ Hops (Humulus lupulus) extract (flower) [standardized to 0.12% 8-prenylnaringenin (144 mcg)]: 120 mg
- HMRlignan™ Norway spruce (Picea abies) lignan extract (knot wood) [standardized to 90% Hydroxymatairesinol potassium acetate complex (50 mg)]: 56 mg
So you are getting two different kinds of phyto-estrogens:
- Prenylflavonoids, the newly isolated substance in hops
- Lignans from Norway spruce
Phyto-estrogens are popular choices for natural supplements for menopause because of their ability to act like weak estrogens on the estrogen receptors. The phyto-estrogen in hops is by far the most powerful of all plant estrogens discovered to date.
This substance is a better option than soy isoflavones, which have lost some of their popularity with the discovery that many women lack the gene to process it properly. (This is probably why so many studies about soy showed that it didn’t help with hot flashes.)
The second kind of phyto-estrogen in this supplement are the lignans extracted from the Norway spruce tree. Lignans are found in many plants such as flaxseed, nuts, beans etc. They are actively investigated and recommended for their anti-cancer activity, rather than their estrogenic action. But the lignans from the Norway spruce tree were tested and showed that it indeed reduced hot flashes by 53%.
So it makes sense to combine these two powerful substances into a natural estrogen supplement to help with hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
The ingredients in Natural Female Support are both well known and considered safe. Hops has been used for the longest time as a mild sedative and sleep aid – and is used in massive quantities the world over in beer.
Because this is a newer supplement and not well known, we could not find any reviews.
Remifemin is the leading brand of Black Cohosh in the US and Europe. The only ingredient in Remifemin is 20mg Black Cohosh extract. Recommended dose is 1 pill 2x per day.
Not all Black Cohosh supplements are the same. The difference between Remifemin and the Black Cohosh you buy in your neighborhood store is the proprietary standardized Black Cohosh extract ”RemiSure”.
For women with sleep problems, there is Remifemin Good Night with a higher dose of Black Cohosh plus Valerian, Lemon Balm and Hops.
- * Black Cohosh: 40mg
- * Calming herbs: 286mg
- - Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root extract
- - Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf extract
- - Hops (Humulus lupulus) strobile extract
Remifemin has been used by millions of women to treat their hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and sleeplessness. It takes up to 12 weeks for the maximum effect but women report symptom relief within days. The recommended use in Germany (the US has no daily recommended amount or guidelines for Black Cohosh) is 40mg Black Cohosh for up to six months. It is very likely that your symptoms will return after you stop taking it and you can start another treatment round.
The safety and effectiveness of Remifemin has been extensively studied in 15 clinical trials world-wide. It is manufactured for the past 50 years by a well respected German natural medicine company, Shaper & Brummer GmbH. In Germany, Remifemin and other natural supplements for menopause are prescribed by doctors like pharmaceuticals. (Europe is way ahead of the U.S. in the use of natural herbs by main-stream medicine). Remifemin is distributed in the US since 1995 by Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. and was the first standardized herbal product in the U.S.
Women report good results with Remifemin and Remifemin Good Night and rave about the relief from hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. A common theme is that women who had good results from Remifemin, but develop severe symptoms in late peri menopause, find that Remifemin stops working.
Remifemin Plus is a new formulation available in Europe that uses the standardized active chemical in Black Cohosh, Triterpene Glycosides, which delivers 80mg of Black Cohosh. It also contains St. John’s Wort for help with Mood Swings and Anxiety. This version of Remifemin is not yet available in the US.
Conclusion about Natural Supplements for Menopause
Natural supplements for menopause come in several forms. Some contain single ingredients like Remifemin, other promise relief through new formulations based on the advances in pharmacological technologies like Amberen. Estrobalance and Estrosense focus on ingredients to balance the hormone levels to stop the symptoms.
Which natural supplement for menopause is the best is impossible to say. Every women is different, has different needs at different times of the menopause transition and has different symptoms.
Only you can make an educated choice about which of the supplements might work best for your symptoms and special circumstances. Even if you find a supplement that works great, the supplement might stop working when your body’s needs change.
The natural supplements for menopause we have listed here are considered safe for most women. (As not enough data is available for Amberen because it is a new supplement, it is difficult to judge its safety).
As always, check with your health care provider before starting any supplement.
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