Menopause vitamin herb alternative therapy and natural treatment, natural remedy, home remedies
26 2016

Natural Remedies for menopause to the Rescue
There are a number of natural nutrients and herbs that have been studied for the therapy of menopausal symptoms. They include calcium, magnesium, St. John’s wort, soy isoflavanoids, ginseng, black cohosh, red clover leaf, and chaste berry extract. Let’s evaluate each one of these supplements.

Nutritional treatment of menopause, what to take
The onset of menopause marks a pivotal time in which the incidence of hypertension and of cardiovascular disease begins to increase dramatically in women. Before menopause, the incidences of these diseases are lower in women than in age-matched men. After menopause, the rates of these diseases in women eventually approximate those in men.
Soy has been found to lower plasma lipid concentrations and arterial pressure in postmenopausal women and to have protective effects in heart disease and atherosclerosis of the carotid and coronary circulation. Soy lowers fasting insulin concentrations and glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations. Grape seed extract, another frequently used botanical, contains polyphenols that has been found to reduce arterial pressure and salt-sensitive hypertension in estrogendepleted animal models.

Some Herbs and nutrients that may be helpful for menopause natural treatment
Keep in mind that research on the role of herbs and menopause continues to be inconsistent and sometimes contradictory:

Black Cohosh root extract. Black Cohosh is available to buy.

Chaste Berry extract may help some women.
Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus) is a tree native to creek beds and river banks of the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Its pointy-leafed branches bear clusters of lavender flowers that are followed by reddish-black pepper-sized fruits. These fruits have long been used as traditional medicine for female conditions.
Chaste berry contains several different constituents, including flavonoids, iridoid glycosides, and terpenoids. Chaste berry does not contain hormones. Chaste Berry is thought to be able to help regulate hormones because of its effects on pituitary function. When Chaste Berry is taken as a dietary supplement, the pituitary produces lutenizing hormone which then produces more progesterone at the second phase (luteal phase) of the woman’s cycle. Chaste Berry also is able to decrease high levels of prolactin, a hormone that is normally produced in the second phase of a women’s cycle. When prolactin is present in large amounts it produces breast tenderness. Chaste Berry is commonly used in Europefor hot flashes associated with perimenopause (the transition years into menopause).

Ginseng extract could help with energy level, but too much ginseng could lead to insomnia and be counterproductive.

Red Clover extract may help some women but more research is needed. For more Red-Clover extract information and supplement product information.
Red Clover is a native plant of Europe, central Asia, and northern Africa. The flower head is the part of the plant used in herbal remedies. Scientists have identified estrogen-like substances called isoflavones and anticoagulant chemicals called coumarins in red clover.
To investigate the effectiveness and safety of a red clover isoflavone dietary supplement versus placebo on the change in hot flush frequency in postmenopausal women, a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial was done at Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Women with more than 12 months without periods and experiencing more than five flushes per day were enrolled. All received placebo tablets for 4 weeks and were subsequently randomized to either placebo or 80 mg isoflavones for a further 12 weeks. Improvement was measured by the decrease in number of hot flushes per day. During the first 4 weeks of placebo the frequency of hot flushes decreased by 16%. During the subsequent double blind phase, a further, statistically significant decrease of 44% was seen in the isoflavone group, whereas no further reduction occurred within the placebo group.

Phytoestrogens are getting a lot more attention and in the next few years we will find out if soy isoflavonoids could become routinely prescribed to women after menopause. See genistein, a soy extract, for more info.

St. John’s wort extract for mood enhancement could be helpful if women after menopause with low mood or mild depression.
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is mood changes, such as mood swings or depression. In a German study published in 1999, 111 women in a general medical practice were given St. John’s wort daily for12 weeks. The patients, who were between 43 and 65 years old, had perimenopausal symptoms. The incidence and severity of typical psychological symptoms were recorded at baseline and after 5, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment. Substantial improvement in psychological symptoms was observed in the women treated with St. John’s wort. Perimenopausal complaints diminished or disappeared completely in the majority of women. Of note, sexual well-being also improved after treatment with St. John’s wort extract.

Calcium dosage is difficult to know ideally, but a range of 400 to 1000 mg seems reasonable.

Magnesium supplement could also be helpful in women after menopause.
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves. Calcium and magnesium are required in a good balance to be most effectively used by the body.

Rheum rhaponticum has been studied.

Herbs and supplements that have been studied to treat symptoms of menopause include black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), chasteberry, vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), dong quai (Angelica sinensis), ginseng (Panax ginseng), kava (Piper methysticum), kudzu (Pueraria mirifica), maca (Lepidium meyenii), red clover (Trifolium praetense), rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum,) St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), burdock root (Arctium lappa), licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), wild yam root (Dioscorea villosa), and pycnogenol.

Herbal Combo for Menopause – Finally some good news
The combination of black cohosh and St. John’s wort reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of menopause. St. John’s wort is used to treat mild to moderate depression, while women have taken black cohosh for menopausal complaints. To see if a fixed combination of the herbal medicines could benefit women with depression and menopausal symptoms, researchers studied 300 women. Of these women, half took the St. John’s wort and black cohosh combination, while the other half took placebo pills. After four months, women who took the two-herb combination showed a 50 percent reduction in symptoms such as hot flashes and sweating, compared to 20 percent for those on placebo. The women who were on the herbs also had much better mood. There was no significant difference between the groups in the number of side effects. The improvement in menopausal symptoms was similar to that seen among women taking hormone therapy for three months. Source: Obstetrics & Gynecology, February 2006.
Treating menopausal symptoms effectively with few side effects is not easy. Estrogen works but it has potential long term side effects. Only half of the women benefited from the herbal combination, but that’s better than nothing. If women are interested in taking black cohosh and St. John’s wort, they should discuss with their doctor first who may agree to this dosage. Two capsules of black cohosh in the morning along with one capsule of St. John’s wort 300 mg. There may be women who respond to half this dosage while others may need more. You can experiment for yourself and take more or less depending on your symptoms. Be a little careful with St. John’s wort since the effects can accumulate after several days and you may need to take less with time. If you get insomnia, you may be taking too much.

Phytoestrogens benefit for menopause symptoms
Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds found in certain plants. Postmenopausal women were given phytoestrogen tablets containing 60 milligrams of isoflavones for 6 months and compared to women who received placebo pills. The women receiving these pills did better on measures of mental performance and mood. Another study continues to raise cautions about the long term use of estrogen. Women who took estrogen-only pills for at least 15 years had a higher risk of developing breast cancer. But no increased danger was found among those who took the hormone for less than 10 years.

Menopause and Soy products
Studies on the benefits of soy for relieving menopausal symptoms have produced mixed results. Over the years numerous studies have been reported regarding the benefits or lack of effectiveness of isoflavones, such as genistein, for menopause symptom relief. Overall, the evidence is tilting towards some benefit. At the least, these isoflavones do not have the serious side effects that estrogen has when used for prolonged periods. If isolfavones are not enough to relieve menopausal symptoms, then a small amount of estrogen can be used for brief periods to relieve severe hot flashes and other symptoms.

Milk ingestion and bone health after menopause
Inhibition of bone turnover by milk intake in postmenopausal women.
Br J Nutr. 2008. Bonjour JP, Brandolini-Bunlon M, Boirie Y, Morel-Laporte F, Braesco V, Bertière MC, Souberbielle JC. Service of Bone Diseases, University Hospital, Rue Micheli-Du-Crest, Geneva, Switzerland.
We tested the hypothesis that milk supplementation affects bone turnover related to biochemical markers in a direction that, in the long term, may be expected to reduce bone loss after menopause. Thirty healthy women post menopause with median age 59 years were enrolled in a prospective crossover trial of 16 weeks. After a 4-week period of adaptation with diet providing 600 mg calcium plus 300 mg ingested as 250 ml semi-skimmed milk, participants were maintained during 6 weeks under the same 600 mg calcium diet and randomized to receive either 500 ml semi-skimmed milk, thus providing a total of 1200 mg calcium, or no milk supplement. In the next 6 weeks they were switched to the alternative regimen. The changes in blood variables between the periods of 6 weeks without and with milk supplementation were: for parathyroid hormone. In conclusion, a 6-week period of milk supplementation induced a decrease in several biochemical variables compatible with diminished bone turnover mediated by reduction in parathyroid hormone secretion.

Menopause, estrogen, and Alzheimer’s disease
Estrogen pills appear to slightly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in postmenopausal women, a study found, echoing recent findings involving estrogen-progestin supplements. The findings contradict the long-held belief that estrogen pills can help keep older women’s minds sharp. The results came from a government study called the Women’s Health Initiative and were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The research involved nearly 3,000 women, ages 65 to 79, who had had hysterectomies and had taken daily estrogen-only pills, sold by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as Premarin, for an average of about five years.

They say there’s a season for everything, and that may even be true for menopause. In a small survey from Hungary, women were most likely to stop having their period soon after the spring and fall equinoxes. There was a peak after the spring equinox and a smaller one after the autumn equinox, according to a team led by Dr. Janos Garai at the University of Pecs. The findings suggest that factors other than the dwindling of a woman’s egg supply influence when she enters menopause, the researchers note in the journal Human Reproduction.

A review of randomized, controlled trials found black cohosh and foods that contain phytoestrogens show promise for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Ann Intern Med 2002 Nov 19;137(10):805-13.

Four-week supplementation with soy isoflavone may have beneficial effects on bone metabolism and on serum lipids in perimenopausal women. These effects could have the potential to reduce risks of postmenopausal osteoporosis and of cardiovascular diseases in such women.
Twenty-three healthy perimenopausal women were assigned randomly to either isoflavone or placebo groups. The isoflavone group (n=12) received daily capsules of soy isoflavone extract (62 mg of isoflavones) and the placebo group (n=11) received daily placebo capsules for four weeks. Urinary excretion of isoflavone was measured at baseline and at weeks two and four. Urinary excretion of pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline, bone stiffness and levels of serum cholesterol, triglyceride and cholesterol fractions were measured at baseline and at week four. Urinary isoflavone excretion — primarily daidzein — was increased in the isoflavone group compared to the placebo group. Excretion of bone resorption markers was reduced significantly in the isoflavone group, as was total serum cholesterol and low-density lipid cholesterol. Other serum biochemical parameters were not changed in either group.

Natural Alternatives to the Treatment of Menopause
The National Institutes of Health in the United States of America cut short its three-year study of hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) in July of 2003, citing an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and breast cancer among menopausal women taking HRTs. With recent news questioning the safety of prescription hormone therapy in treating symptoms of menopause, natural alternatives targeting menopausal health are seeing a lift in sales.

With age, the ovaries become progressively less responsive to stimulation by luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which are secreted by the pituitary gland. Consequently, the ovaries secrete smaller and smaller amounts of estrogen and progesterone, and egg release (ovulation) eventually stops.

Calcium and Magnesium
About age 30, men and women begin to slowly lose bone mass. A diet rich in calcium helps build strong bones and is an essential part of prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Women who have gone through menopause lose bone mass more rapidly. Too much bone loss causes osteoporosis, which can lead to broken bones and other serious health problems. Calcium is found in many foods, including dairy products such as milk or yogurt. If you do not get enough calcium from the foods you eat, you may choose to take calcium supplements.

Soy Isoflavonoids
Isoflavones are types of flavonoids found in plants. The main sources for isoflavones are soy products, beans, peas, nuts, grain products, coffee, tea and certain herbs. Genistein is one of the best known and studied isoflavones and is found in high amounts in soy. Isoflavonoid ompounds in plants that have estrogen-like properties are called phytoestrogens. Isoflavones are proposed to have health benefits in a variety of human conditions, including coronary heart disease, menopause, osteoporosis, and endocrine-responsive cancers. Many isoflavones have estrogen-like properties and, because of a favorable side-effect profile, may be ideal alternatives to hormone replacement therapy with respect to cardiovascular benefits. Increased isoflavone intake affects estrogen metabolism by altering the steroid hormone concentrations and menstrual cycle length, thereby demonstrating a potential to reduce the risk for breast carcinoma.

The root of the ginseng plant has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for many centuries in the therapy of psychiatric and neurological disorders, and for enhancing vitality. Ginseng contains several saponins named ginsenosides that are believed to contribute to the adaptogenic properties. They are used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve stamina and combat fatigue and stress. Saponins are interesting natural compounds found in many plants, herbs, roots, and beans.
A randomized, double-blind, study was performed at the University of Bergen, in Norway to assess the effects of a standardized ginseng extract compared with those of a placebo on quality of life in symptomatic postmenopausal women. The study lasted 16 weeks and included 384 women.. The results showed the women who were on ginseng had improved their depression, and many of them reported a sense of well-being.

Black Cohosh
cimicifuga racemosa is native to eastern North America, and has historically been used by Native Americans for a variety of female conditions. Black cohosh contains a variety of phytoestrogens. The German Comminssion E has approved black cohosh for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, and dysmenorrhea. A survey of women done at the University of San Francisco published in 2002 indicated that women who used a combination of herbal remedies and estrogen were more satisfied in the outcome of their symptoms compared to women who used estrogen alone or herbs alone. The supplements mentioned in the study were black cohosh, ginkgo, and soy. Studies have demonstrated that this botanical medicine, when standardized properly to the terpene glycoside fraction, appears to be effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms. Adverse effects are extremely uncommon.

Which of the menopause herbs, black cohosh, red clover or chaste berry should I begin using for menopause alternative therapy? Does tribulus extract help?
It is difficult to predict in any woman which of these menopause natural treatments would be best.

I have reached my fiftieth birthday, and spent more time than you could possibly believe in the last two years researching the subject of menopause and hormone replacement for women. I started with a copies of Gail Sheehy’s The Silent Passage and Robert A. Wilson’s original classic book on the subject, Feminine Forever. Since then, I have read innumerable books, medical journal abstracts and articles, websites, etc. Two things stand out to me in all this information 1. Sexuality and its importance to quality of life –* the medical establishment seems to be deliberately ignoring or avoiding the huge sexual function aspect of menopause. Menopausal women without supplemental estrogen become essentially eunuchs, condemned to spending the added lifespan modern life has given them on the outside of much of what I consider the good life.* risk/benefit discussions assiduously avoid how unpleasant life as a eunuch really is — since having no sexual feelings also makes one relatively insensible to all sorts of sensual pleasures and enjoyments, such as music — having sex hormones seems to be what makes all sensual enjoyment possible.* Dr. Lorraine Dennerstein has documented how menopausal women lose interest in their partners as their sexual interest wanes. In an otherwise dry abstract about menopausal women and sexual function, she goes out of her way to describe how the joy and closeness leaks out of these women’s partnerships as menopause progresses and their hormone levels decline.2. The strange vilification of estrogen –* The WHI and other studies like it, and the irrational conclusions drawn from them, just boggle the mind of a logical person. Something else is going on here. I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but rather tend to suspect unconscious motives that reflect an underlying hostility against women and the feminine. Do you have an opinion about this? Specifically, why do we regard the death of a bodily organ system essential for good health in women as “natural”? It is not hard to see that in evolutionary terms none of us were supposed to live long enough to have these kinds of problems. We don’t ask people suffering from presbyopia to just grin and bear it, nor people with other kinds of “natural” age-related organ system failure such a heart disease. Nobody says that we should treat diabetes with the lowest possible dose of insulin for the shortest possible time. I could discuss in great detail many specific health issues related to the loss of estrogen at menopause — osteoporosis, the earlier onset of Alzheimer’s in women, skin and wound healing, coronary artery health, etc., — but I suspect you are familiar, with all these maladies that afflict older women disproportionately to men. What I would like is an educated medical opinion about why the medical establishment sees fit to ignore all these huge health issues to focus, instead, on denying women access to estrogen because it might cause a slightly higher rate of breast cancer (not sure I agree with this conclusion.
The benefits of any treatment have to be balanced against the risks. Doctors have given women estrogen and progesterone freely for decades until recently when some of the dangers were discovered. Each woman has to decide for herself whether the benefits of estrogen use outweigh the risks. There are no clear answers at this time so it depends on each woman to learn as much as she can and come to her own opinion. One option is to use the lowest possible estrogen dosage and frequency that relives symptoms. Another partial answer is to use natural herbal supplements that enhance sexuality and there are many such options to choose from. see