Many women use dietary supplements during menopause. The promises of advertising are great, but are they being kept? Often the effect is controversial and some experts even warn against taking certain preparations.
As always with the topic of food supplements, the motto is:
Inform yourself well before you take anything!
From reputable articles and scientific studies to unambiguous promotional texts that promise you the blue of the sky, you’ll find everything on the Internet. Here it is important to filter out the right content. So what is mere eye-washing and what really helps? We did some research.
Dietary supplements for menopause symptoms
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life. In many cases, however, this time is accompanied by a number of complaints.
The following problems are particularly frequent:
- Hot flashes (with sweats)
- Circulatory problems
- Dry vagina (pain during sexual intercourse)
About a quarter of all women in menopause even say that they suffer from these ailments. Many therefore go into medical treatment or try to relieve the discomfort independently by diet or freely available dietary supplements.
The need for remedial action is great and therefore also the sales market. No wonder, then, that miracle cures for the discomfort of menopause are now found on every corner. The problem is that even science is divided on the effectiveness of these supplements. Some experts even suspect that they could be harmful. However, this does not detract from the promises made by some manufacturers. Is there more behind it or is everything just an empty advertising promise?
Dietary supplements menopause – just a marketing gag?
Certain ingredients seem to be particularly suitable for treating discomfort associated with change. But why is this so?
To do this, we must first understand what triggers the complaints in the first place. The menopause and the menopause that occurs with it are nothing more than a hormonal change over the body. The production of certain sex hormones is discontinued step by step and the estrogen level in the blood decreases. It is this change that our body reacts to with the well-known change complaints.
So the key is hormones.
If a drastic drop in certain hormones causes severe discomfort, it should be possible to alleviate them if the hormones are given to the body from the outside, right?
Hormone replacement therapyis based on this logic, as it is sometimes used during menopause. Although the therapy can certainly remedy the situation, it is only used today in particularly severe cases.
The reason: The administration of hormone preparations has sometimes severe side effects, especially with prolonged intake. Among other things, it can lead to an increased risk of gallbladder diseases, certain cancers, strokes or the formation of blood clots.
Manufacturers of dietary supplements try to avoid this by offering supplements with herbal isoflavones. These are dyes from certain plants that are chemically very similar to the human hormones estrogen and androgen. In high doses, they have a low sex hormonal effect and are considered a possibly milder alternative to aggressive hormone therapy.
Especially isoflavone-containing are, for example, soy products,but also red clover or kudzu are increasingly used due to the high isoflavone content.
Do these ingredients really help with change complaints?
After all, there is evidence of this: Asian countries, where soy products are an important part of the diet, report that women suffer far less from menopause symptoms. The isoflavones could be decisive for this.
However, the positive effect remains not clearly demonstrated by scientific evidence, as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) notes in a 2015 report.
In addition to these doubts, it is thought that taking isoflavones (similar to hormone replacement therapy) may even have harmful side effects.
If you decide to take it, you should definitely consider a few points.
This is what you should pay attention to when making preparations for menopause
Basically, you should consult your doctor with any treatment with dietary supplements. Especially for problems in menopause, this advice can be worth gold.
Although EFSA’s report explicitly states that no evidence has yet been found of the possible harmfulness of soy isoflavones, you should still be careful when taking them.
If, for example, you do not feed yourself with soy products, an allergic reaction may occur. So first pay attention to these symptoms:
- Sudden occurring rash
- Digestive problems
If you suspect you are allergic to the drug due to these complaints, stop taking it immediately.
As always, the phrase of the good old Paracelsus is to be applied here: “The dose makes the poison” – means that you should pay attention to the dosage of isoflavones in preparations for dietary supplementation.
EFSA’s report declares the intake harmless, but only for the values they study. This corresponds to a maximum daily dose of 100mg for soy isoflavones over a maximum period of 10 months. For red clover-based preparations, it is 43.5mg daily for a period of up to three months.
Another reason for caution when taking isoflavone-containing dietary supplements are possible side effects with certain pre-existing conditions and interactions with other medications.
The German Consumer Centre therefore advises women with an existing cancer or cases of breast or uterine cancer in the family to take special care.
Even women who take hormones for the thyroid gland should not start therapy with isoflavone without consulting the doctor.
Give your body the right vitamins and minerals during menopause
As you can see, taking isoflavone supplements to relieve your exchange symptoms is not always unproblematic.
It is therefore important that you know the risks beforehand and can therefore weigh up whether the treatment really pays off. The doctor or the doctor of your trust should be consulted in any case.
If you find the discomfort less intense, you should first try to alleviate them through your diet and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to regular exercise and a positive attitude towards life, the supply of important nutrients is also crucial. First and foremost, you need vitamins and minerals.
You need these vitamins and minerals in the climate (and other things):
- Vitamin B6 (important for the regulation of hormones)
- Zinc (important for skin, hair and bones)
- Vitamin C (strengthens the immune system and keeps you healthy)
- Selenium (contributes to the preservation of hair and nails)
If you are looking for a balanced diet, your body should get these essential substances in sufficient quantities. However, if there is a deficiency, you can compensate for it specifically with dietary supplements. Your doctor will be happy to advise you.