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Best supplements for menopause

The Best Supplements For Menopausal Symptoms

Best Supplements for PerimenopauseBest supplements for sleep, hot flushes, and breast pain

By Lara Briden

There are so many ways to feel better during the turbulent years of perimenopause or second puberty. Exercise, reducing stress, and quitting alcohol are my frontline recommendations. Beyond that, hormone therapy can also be helpful, especially progesterone (Prometrium) which can relieve insomnia, nights sweats, and heavy periods. 

Supplements are another good option. Here are my top picks. 

 

What Are The Best Supplements For Sleep?

  • Magnesium is one of the best-researched nutrients for sleep. It works by supporting GABA, the brain’s main calming neurotransmitter, while at the same time reducing glutamate, the brain’s main stimulating neurotransmitter. Magnesium is particularly effective for perimenopausal sleep because it helps to normalise the action of progesterone on the central nervous system.

Dose: Unless you have pre-existing kidney disease, magnesium is safe to try and take long-term. Some forms (magnesium chloride) can cause diarrhea, but gentler chelated forms (magnesium glycinate) are usually fine. The therapeutic dose is 300 mg with the evening meal, and please read the label to make sure you’re getting 300 mg of elemental magnesium, which often equates to one scoop of powder or three capsules.  Magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate (magnesium joined to the amino acid glycine) provides the added benefit of glycine — my second favourite supplement for sleep. 

Dose: Glycine can be taken as part of magnesium glycinate plus an additional 3 grams of glycine powder at bedtime. It’s safe with no known side effects. 

  • CBD oil is the cannabidiol extract of medicinal cannabis and has been found in preliminary studies to improve perimenopausal sleep. Pure CBD oil contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so does not produce the “stoned” feeling associated with cannabis. Low-dose CBD oil is available over-the-counter from some pharmacies but higher-dose formulas currently require a prescription from a specially approved doctor.  Insomnia is not yet an approved condition for CBD oil treatment in Australia but that could change. For more information, see the TGA consumer information page. 

 

What Are The Best Supplements For hot flushes?

  • Magnesium (the best supplement for sleep) is also excellent for hot flushes. It works by calming the brain, reducing adrenaline, and stabilising the brain’s thermoneutral zone (the thermoregulatory part of the hypothalamus that’s affected by falling estrogen).  The recommended dose is 300 mg and works best combined with the amino acid taurine.  
  • Taurine is an excellent companion to magnesium for hot flushes. Like magnesium, it calms the brain. It also supports healthy mitochondria, thereby helping to prevent the drop in brain energy associated with losing estrogen. (For more about the brain’s menopausal “energy crisis,” see my book Hormone Repair Manual.)

Dose: The therapeutic dose is 3000 mg (3 grams). Products that contain both taurine (3 grams) and magnesium (300 mg) include Ethical Nutrients Mega Magnesium powder, Metagenics CardioX or CalmX powder, Orthoplex White MagTaur Xcell or Alkamin Calm. You may need to speak to a pharmacist or naturopath to obtain Metagenics or Orthoplex brands. Of all my patients who try magnesium plus taurine for hot flushes, approximately half find it’s all the treatment they need.

 

What Are The Best Supplements For Breast pain?

If you have breast pain or a breast lump, see your doctor who will likely do an examination and refer you for an imaging study. From that information, you will be provided with a diagnosis, which could be fibrocystic breast disease (lumpy breasts).

Dose: The therapeutic dose is 1000-3000 mcg (1-3 mg), preferably as molecular iodine (I2), which is available as the brand Violet® — unfortunately, not yet available in Australia. If you have any form of thyroid disease, especially autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s disease), do not take iodine.

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Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor with consulting rooms in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is the author of the new book Hormone Repair Manual: Every Woman’s Guide to Healthy Hormones After 40. 

Find out more on her blog LaraBriden.com 

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