Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life that can be thought of as a time of ovarian retirement. At birth women have about one million eggs in their ovaries. At puberty ovulation begins and the ovaries release eggs each month for the purpose of conception. As the years go by, the amount of eggs gradually declines until menopause, when the ovaries shut down and stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the two main female sex hormones. Menopause occurs when ovulation ceases and a woman can no longer conceive naturally.
After menopause the adrenal glands, which supply some sex hormones through- out life, become the primary source. Women who have poor adrenal function, which can be caused by chronic stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or excessive caffeine, are not able to provide adequate hormone amounts, and may have more severe menopausal symptoms. Estrogen can also be produced in the fat cells from androgens. This is why obese women often experience fewer menopausal symptoms.
There are many lifestyle measures and herbs, minerals and a vitamin for menopause that can promote hormone balance and ease menopausal concerns.
Black cohosh: An herb that has been found in many studies to reduce hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, nervousness, and irritability. Some research has found it beneficial when combined with St. John’s wort to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Dosage: 20–40 mg twice daily. Consult with your doctor if you have liver disease.
Vitamin E is a vitamin for menopause (400 to 800 IU daily) is one of the proven vitamins for menopause that has been shown to help reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
Calcium and magnesium: Important minerals for bone health; women over 50 years should have 1,200 mg of calcium and 320 mg of magnesium daily, or more if they have osteoporosis. It is difficult to get this amount from diet alone, so supplements are often necessary. Look for a formula that also contains vitamin D and K2.
Chasteberry: An herb that helps balance hormones and is particularly helpful during peri- menopause. Dosage: 160–240 mg daily.
Fish oils: Help to protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing atherosclerosis, and protecting against heart attack. Dosage: 1,000–3,000 mg daily.
Menopause is a natural experience in a woman’s life that should be welcomed as an important milestone. While there may be certain symptoms, they are usually short-lived and can often be managed effectively with proper lifestyle measures and with the right herbs, minerals and the correct vitamin for menopause relief.