In my last article I discussed the changes of peri-menopause, that time of complete craziness and change within a woman’s body that can last for years. Many women don’t want to use hormones and aren’t interested in going back on the birth control pill but are looking for options. I have compiled a list of the most common recommendations a woman can try naturally to help her symptoms. Remember it’s important you talk with your health care provider and if you’re looking to buy supplements, you get what you pay for.
1. Fish oil – make sure you’re getting at least 500 mg of EPA and 300 mg of DHA in a 1,000 mg pill. These omega 3’s are beneficial for your skin, joints, heart and cholesterol.
2. Evening primrose, borage, or black currant seed oil – these oils are high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA as opposed to EPA or DHA) and really beneficial for skin and hormone health. I recommend them often for all things female. A typical dose is 500 mg-1,000 mg.
3. Chaste tree berry (also known as vitex) – this amazing herb has been used for centuries for all things women’s health-related because it balances the estrogen/progesterone production by encouraging progesterone. I use it often for irregular cycles, PMS, cramps, breast tenderness and hot flashes.
4. Black cohosh – this member of the buttercup family has been used for years to alleviate hot flashes. It is commonly mixed in "menopause" support supplements or can be taken on its own.
5. Vitamin E – make sure you buy the natural form and take 400 IU-1,000 IU per day to help with skin, vaginal dryness and hot flashes.
6. Ground flax seeds – you can buy them as ground up meal, or buy the whole seed and grind in a coffee grinder. These seeds (not the oil) have lignans and fiber in them that help lower cholesterol and balance elevated estrogen.
7. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – this is a potent B vitamin that typically does not cause flushing and is critical to your adrenal glands (otherwise known as your stress/energy glands).
8. Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) - this other B vitamin is helpful for memory, mental clarity and energy.
9. Ashwagandha – this ayurvedic herb is really helpful for stressed out menopausal women. It’s very safe and best taken in the morning at doses between 300-500mg.
10. Rescue Remedy – this Bach flower remedy commonly found in health food stores or online is beneficial to those who are experiencing more anxiety and nervousness with menopause. It can help us feel calm in the moments when we are feeling stressed out.
As you can see, there are a variety of options to try for hormone balance. Be aware that these supplements and herbs can take time to work and that quality is important.