Hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, and other symptoms often come with menopause. A variety of supplements claim to help with these menopausal symptoms.
But do they work? Supplements are rarely tested thoroughly, and many claims made by manufacturers aren't always supported by science.
Here’s a look at several supplements and research about their effectiveness on menopausal symptoms.
The extract of the black cohosh plant’s root
When it comes to hot flashes, several studies compared it with a placebo and found that black cohosh helps. However, wrote WebMD, "Other studies haven't found a benefit."
An herb said to mimic the body’s estrogen
Dong quai has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as treatment for women's health. But a modern study of dong quai looked at its effects on menopausal hot flashes and found no benefits.
Evening primrose oil:
Oil extracted from the seeds of a yellow-flowered plant
Little research on evening primrose oil has been done. In fact, Health.com reported that in a 2009 review in American Family Physician, just one study comparing primrose oil and placebo in menopausal women has been done. The study found that evening primrose oil was no better than the placebo in treating hot flashes.
The extract of the ginkgo plant’s leaves
Ginkgo is well-known for improving memory, concentration and mood. All of these can be affected by menopause. Yet several studies have found no evidence that ginkgo can help menopausal women suffering from memory loss, concentration and mood swings.
The flower clusters of the Humulus lupulus plant
Hops are another supplement with extremely limited research behind it. There has been only one controlled trial studying 8-PN's potential effects. 8-PN is an estrogenic compound in hops. The controlled trial found that there were favorable results reducing menopausal symptoms including hot flashes.
An extract of a legume that contains substances that mimic estrogen