Menopause supplements: Evening primrose oil makes the difference
Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, chills, night sweats, weight gain, irregular periods, labile moods, decreased sex drive, trouble sleeping, bone loss , headaches, anxiety and depression.
Evening primrose oil is a supplement that can reduce symptoms of menopause and provide pain relief.
The flowering plant is native to central and eastern North America and its seed oil is frequently used to treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and bone loss.
However, the results of the study are mixed.
One study concluded that the oil was no more effective than a placebo at alleviating hot flashes.
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Still, a more recent study noted that it was about 10 percent more effective at reducing the severity of hot flashes than a placebo.
A separate study compared a calcium supplement and a combined evening primrose oil, calcium, and omega-3 supplement to stop bone loss in pre- and post-menopausal women.
Both groups retained bone mineral density, but the evening primrose oil supplement was no more effective than calcium.
Short-term use of the oil is generally safe for most adults.
Reported side effects are rare but may include nausea and stomach pain.
Evening primrose oil may interact negatively with some anti-HIV drugs. You should speak to your health care provider before taking the oil, especially if you are taking any other supplements or medications.
Soy is also rich in isoflavones, which are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen and may exert weak estrogenic effects in your body.
Many common symptoms of menopause are linked to a drop in estrogen production. Therefore, soy is believed to help relieve symptoms due to its estrogen-like characteristics.
Studies link high soy consumption with a reduced incidence of hot flashes, but very few large-scale clinical trials show a significant benefit.
A recent review of 95 studies in postmenopausal women found that supplementation with soy isoflavones may have a positive effect on bone health, as well as on the frequency and duration of hot flashes. However, no specific result can be guaranteed.
Soy foods are very safe and generally beneficial, as long as you do not have a soy allergy.
The safety of long-term supplementation with high doses of soy isoflavones is less certain. Common side effects can include stomach pain and diarrhea.