Night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, oh my! Menopause symptoms are unpleasant. And while your hormone levels may be dropping, that doesn't mean your well-being has to plummet with them.
Whether you're interested in trying supplements instead of or in addition to hormone replacement therapy, there are a variety of natural options when it comes to managing your menopause symptoms and increasing your quality of life. These 13 menopause supplements can help you manage your night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause.
Probiotics as a Menopause Supplement
Before and during perimenopause, estrogen helps maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome by keeping pH levels low. Postmenopausal women experience a drop in estrogen, making it easier for harmful microorganisms to survive in the vagina, leading to vaginal infections (1).
(If you’re experiencing gut dysbiosis along with the lower estrogen levels common with postmenopause, your risk of chronic illness is even greater.) Probiotics can help treat vaginal infections that commonly occur in postmenopausal women, including bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis (1). Need help choosing a probiotic? Check out the best probiotics for women.
Vitamin D for Metabolic Syndrome
Sorry to break it to you, but chances are you aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Studies show approximately 50% of people are deficient in this important vitamin (2). That statistic is especially alarming when it comes to menopausal women. New evidence suggests that vitamin D works with estrogen to protect against metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women (3).
A 2015 study examined the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. (4). Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of The North American Menopause Society, says this study “shows that low estrogen appears to raise the risk of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women with insufficient levels of vitamin D” (3).
Research shows metabolic syndrome contributes to heart disease, stroke, and mortality (5). To lower your risk of metabolic syndrome, you need to get enough vitamin D. So how much Vitamin D should you be getting? Women between the ages of 19-50 need 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D every day (6).
You can get vitamin D through your diet with foods like fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, and foods fortified with vitamin D like fortified milk (6). You can also get vitamin D through supplements or by spending time in the sun. (Be careful, though, even small amounts of sun exposure can result in skin damage.)
Chasteberry to Balance Your Hormones
When it comes to finding menopause relief, chasteberry is a popular go-to. This herbal supplement, formally known as Vitex agnus-castus, is a fruit produced by the chaste tree. Studies have shown this fruit helps balance hormones, which may explain why it provides symptom relief for many menopausal women.
Chasteberry has been shown to improve night sweats, hot flashes, depression, breast pain, and other menopausal symptoms (7). If you’re transitioning from perimenopause to menopause, chasteberry can help balance estrogen and progesterone (7). In terms of dosage, it appears that small amounts are safe — around 30-40 mg of dried fruit extracts, 3-6 grams of dried herb, or 1 gram of dried fruit daily (7).
Chasteberry does interact with some medications, such as hormone replacement therapy. Minor side effects have also been noted, including nausea, skin rash, headaches, and acne. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.
Red Clover for Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
When it comes to night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal women, red clover is a popular dietary supplement. Red clover is actually a legume. It contains isoflavones, which is a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are a plant-based form of estrogen.
Since estrogen declines with menopause, red clover’s phytoestrogen content is believed to be the reason it provides symptom relief (8). The effectiveness of red clover on reducing the symptoms of menopause is mixed.
One study showed that red clover supplementation was correlated with a decrease in menopausal symptoms. While others couldn't find significant difference between red clover and a placebo when it came to reducing hot flashes (9).
Soy Isoflavones as a Menopause Supplement
Isoflavones aren’t just in red clover, they’re in soy foods too. Isoflavones can mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. Researchers believe that this ability to mimic estrogen is what leads to a reduction in hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms (10).
Like red clover, soy’s ability to reduce menopause symptoms is mixed. According to Healthline, “one study found soy isoflavone supplements reduced the severity of hot flashes by just over 26%, compared to a placebo.
A different study found no firm evidence that dietary soy or isoflavone supplements eased hot flashes” (10)(11)(12). Science shows that people process isoflavones differently. This may explain why some menopausal women experienced symptom relief when supplementing with soy, while others did not.
St. John’s Wort for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
St. John’s wort is a popular dietary supplement for menopausal symptoms. It’s well known as an herbal antidepressant. Now a study suggests it may also be beneficial for menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes and night sweats (13).
Yet another study examined the effects of St. John’s wort on symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Researchers found that complaints of symptoms, such as feeling tired, dizzy, anxious, nervous, etc., “decreased or disappeared altogether for the majority of women after treatment with St. John’s wort” (14).
Red Raspberry Leaf for Perimenopausal Women
There currently isn't any scientific evidence showing that raspberry leaf tea improves the symptoms of menopause (15). However, red raspberry leaf tea does lighten heavy menstrual flows, making it a useful dietary supplement for perimenopausal women experiencing heavy periods (8).
Dong Quai to Banish Hot Flashes
If you’re experiencing hot flashes, dong quai will put them at bay — quite effectively. A study by The Central Menopause Outpatient Clinic, among others, found that "dong quai combined with chamomile reduced hot flashes by up to 96 percent" (16). This herbal supplement is especially useful for women going from perimenopause into menopause, as it supports your body's ability to regulate estrogen levels (8).
Ginseng as a Menopause Supplement
Similar to red clover and soy isoflavones, ginseng has been shown to help reduce night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal women (8). One clinical trial also demonstrated that ginseng supplementation has a positive effect on sexual arousal and sexual function (17).
You can get the positive effects of ginseng by sipping on ginseng tea. However, when taken as an herbal supplement it can interact with medications for blood pressure and diabetes, among others (8). Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.
Evening Primrose Oil for Menopause Aches and Pains
Evening primrose oil is a popular alternative medicine for treating menopausal symptoms. Evening primrose oil contains important Omega-6 fatty acids that your body needs to function (18).
These fatty acids also reduce inflammation, helping relieve aches and pains associated with menopause. This oil has been linked to some side effects, so short term use is recommended. Side effects may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, and more (18).
Licorice Root for Hot Flashes
Licorice root is an effective home remedy for reducing hot flashes — both their frequency and duration. While it's effective at managing these common menopausal symptoms, it’s important to note that licorice root can interfere with many prescription medications (19).
Before taking a daily licorice dietary supplement, consult your healthcare provider and consider the other medications you take regularly.
Valerian Root, Also for Hot Flashes
Supplementing with valerian root can provide relief to some menopausal women experiencing hot flashes. A scientific study examined the effects of valerian root on hot flashes. Researchers found supplementing with valerian root reduced the “severity and frequency of hot flashes” (20).
Black Cohosh as a Controversial Menopause Supplement
Some studies show black cohosh helps alleviate many menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness (21). However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support this. Black cohosh seems to alleviate menopausal symptoms associated with reduced estrogen levels in particular.
“A 2010 review concluded menopausal women experienced a 26% reduction in night sweats and hot flashes when using black cohosh supplements” (22). It’s important to note that there are risks associated with using black cohosh as a menopause treatment (21).
Liver injury can occur with black cohosh supplementation. Black Cohosh is not recommended for people who are pregnant, on hormone therapy, or taking blood pressure medication. You also should not take black cohosh in conjunction with many of the other menopause supplements listed here, including chasteberry, evening primrose oil, and St. John's wort.
Menopause Supplements: The Bottom Line
Hormone therapy is not the only option for menopausal women seeking symptom relief. There are a variety of dietary supplements that you can use to manage your menopause symptoms. Bear in mind that the FDA classifies herbal supplements as "dietary supplements," and as such manufacturers are not required to seek FDA approval before selling them (23).
As a friendly reminder: we’re not doctors and this information does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement or herbal remedy. If you’re ready to take control of your hormones, grab our free ebook, The 47 Deadly Food Additives Eroding Your Health, and sign up for our email list to get secrets from leading holistic health experts.