Perimenopause is a time of hormonal decline as the body prepares to stop ovulating and shift into menopause. While ideas of shifting hormones may feel you with a sense of dread, there are many nutrition, lifestyle, and perimenopause supplements that can help you maintain your energy, mood, and overall well being.
Perimenopause can be a confusing time in a woman’s life. On the one hand, you’re still having periods, even if they’re not as regular as they used to be. On the other hand, a few aggravating symptoms begin to crop up, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, acne and hair loss.
It can be confusing because there are period and hormone issues that we’re told we just have to suffer through for most of our lives. You should NOT be bleeding through countless pairs of underwear, be in excruciating pain during your period, find yourself drenched in sweat, or feel like you're losing your mind just because you're a woman.
Perimenopause can feel like world-shaking hormonal change for some women, and it can sometimes be challenging to manage the ever changing hormones.
In this article, we’re going to specifically discuss perimenopause supplements that can help you have a more comfortable (and less frustrating) transition. If you’re looking for information on perimenopausal conventional treatments or a comprehensive list of what perimenopause looks like, please read Perimenopause Symptoms and Treatment.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the transitional period between a woman’s reproductive years and menopause. The most common indication that a woman is heading into perimenopause is irregular periods. Periods will continue to become more and more erratic, until they disappear altogether. At that point (after a year of not having a period), a woman is considered to have gone through menopause and the day following that one year anniversary of no period she is post-menopausal.
Perimenopausal Hormone Changes
During perimenopause, a woman’s hormones begin to change, taking her on a rollercoaster. One such hormone is estrogen, a vital hormone for women. Estrogen performs so many functions: It helps us develop eggs, helps us ovulate, and helps build the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), which we shed during our period. It is also a player in our brain, bone, immune system, and heart health. Estrogen is a multitasking badass.
During perimenopause, estrogen typically begins to decline. But it doesn’t do so in a gradual fashion. Estrogen levels may become erratic and dip and rise suddenly, leading to annoying symptoms, like hot flashes.
In addition, with infrequent ovulation comes low progesterone levels. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, water retention, and more.
Perimenopausal symptoms can be so troublesome and disruptive to a woman’s life that she may seek help from her healthcare provider.
15 Perimenopause Supplements
- Black Cohosh
- B Vitamins
- Saw Palmetto
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Turmeric (Curcumin)
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
- Vitamin D
1. Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
In a study of 80 postmenopausal women experiencing hot flashes, women who took black cohosh had fewer hot flashes than those who didn’t over eight weeks.
Improvement may be because Black Cohosh contains fukinolic acid, a compound with similar properties to estrogen. During perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to decline, often leading to the onset of unpleasant symptoms. So, your body welcomes the boost.
Unbalanced estrogen, which is common during perimenopause, can cause a whole cascade of awfulness. Hot flashes, night sweats, headaches…I could go on, but you get it. Wonky estrogen doesn’t do you any favors.
By encouraging the production of beneficial estrogen metabolites and reducing the harmful ones, DIM (Diindolylmethane) can help support balanced estrogen levels.
DIM is a key perimenopause supplement because of it's ability to support health estrogen metabolites and combat the symptoms related to the spikes in estrogen that can happen.
This is one reason we’ve formulated Balance – Women’s Hormone Support with DIM.
When you think perimenopause supplements, probiotics may not be the first thing to come to mind. But a healthy gut is essential for healthy hormones.
An essential function of the gut and the gut microbiome is that it helps us move excess estrogen out of the body (through our poop). Elimination is crucial because while estrogen is typically moving in a downward trajectory as we near menopause, estrogen dominance can sometimes occur in the early years of perimenopause.
By giving our gut the love it needs and deserves, we can support our bodies’ natural estrogen detoxification mechanisms (that are eliminating the estrogen you no longer need).
Spore based probiotics, like Women's Probiotic, can help support a healthy microbiome and aid in the balance of your hormones. Spore-based probiotics deliver spores to the gut, where they get to work colonizing the gut and helping establish a healthy microbiome. The best part? No refrigeration necessary!
4. B Vitamins
Did you know that your adrenal glands can produce estrogen? It’s true! Once the ovaries stop secreting adequate amounts of sex hormones, the adrenals help take over, producing DHEA, which is then converted into estrogen. How smart are our bodies?!
This is why B Vitamins are a must on the list of the best perimenopause supplements!
Supporting the adrenals is vital as they are going to be what your body relies on to continue estrogen and testosterone production. Stresses of modern life already place a demand on the adrenals without the imminent decline of the ovaries And it is this stress that can cause even more issues with the already declining progesterone. HPA dysregulation is a common issue that in itself can lead to fatigue, anxiety, and sleepless nights.
B vitamins play an essential role in helping the adrenals respond to stress and produce hormones. If the body does not have enough B vitamins, the adrenals cannot perform at maximum capacity. B-Active Plus is a full-spectrum B vitamin complex that can help you get the range of B vitamins that may be missing in your diet.
Stress is one of those unavoidable parts of life that many of us wish we could actually avoid. Now, while some stress is normal, leading a stress-filled life without taking any measures to counteract and help reduce stress can wreak havoc on the adrenals, your hormones, and more.
For women going through perimenopause, more hormonal mayhem is the last thing they need. Along with practicing regular stress-management techniques (such as meditation and yoga), supplementing with nutrients to help promote a state of calm can help you feel less on edge and get better sleep. L-theanine has been shown to help those with stress-related woes.
Adrenal Calm is a sleep supporting formula that contains ingredients that help to calm your mind and promote restorative sleep.
Passionflower is a nervine herb that supports the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps you find your chill. If you’re feeling tired but wired and struggle to fall asleep (a common complaint amongst perimenopausal women), passionflower could be helpful. It’s a known sedative and may also help with mild anxiety.
Adrenal Calm is what I call a “literal chill pill.” With adaptogenic and nervine herbs, B vitamins, and a few targeted amino acids, it is a fantastic refresher for the adrenals. It can also help support a natural sleep pattern.
People who struggle with insomnia often turn to melatonin for relief. But that’s not all it’s useful for. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals at every turn. This makes it a powerful tool in support of good brain health.
Of course, the fact that it could help some people fall and stay asleep doesn’t hurt, either.
It is not uncommon for women with perimenopause to struggle with sleep due to the fluctuating estrogen and declining progesterone. Unfortunately, skipping out on a good night’s sleep can only add to the fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and stress on your system. This is why a large focus of supporting a perimenopausal woman’s health is making sure she’s not just falling asleep, but that this sleep is the most restorative.
Maca is an adaptogenic herb that people reach for when they want to boost energy, increase libido, and manage symptoms like hot flashes. I recommend maca to my perimenopausal patients because (aside from helping to reduce those horrible hot flashes) it is a useful herb to support a healthy cortisol response.
As the ovaries decline, so does testosterone and with it, you may be finding your libido follows. You can read more about how to bring back your mojo at any stage in life.
You'll find that Maca is on most lists for perimenopause supplements, as well as for menopause support too.
9. Saw Palmetto
Testosterone is often thought of as a “male hormone,” but women have testosterone, too. And when we don’t have enough, we feel it. While it’s true that men do have much more testosterone than women, we need it just as much as they do!
The benefits of testosterone include:
- Helps women build bones
- Helps us develop and maintain muscle
- Supports brain health
- Boosts energy and libido
- Helps with weight loss.
Unfortunately, as we age, testosterone has more of a chance of being converted to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is an androgen hormone, high levels of which can cause hair loss or thinning hair on the head (which, let’s face it, women don’t want).
Saw Palmetto could help in this department by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, responsible for converting testosterone into DHT.
Zinc has many wonderful uses for women. It is beneficial for women with PCOS, it helps with thyroid hormone production, and it supports a healthy immune system.
As mentioned earlier, testosterone can decline as we age. While you may be fretting over what this means for your libido, a testosterone decline can also result in a decline in muscle mass. Decreased muscle mass, along with hormonal shifts, can be one reason why some women can struggle with weight as they enter the perimenopause and post-menopausal years.
Zinc can help with optimizing testosterone levels, including helping ensure they don’t tip into the hair loss causing levels as well.
Women’s Twice Daily is a full-spectrum multivitamin containing zinc, selenium, B vitamins, calcium and more.
11. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human beings—meaning we can’t make them so we have to eat them. And interestingly, we need our natural estrogen to convert plant based omega precursors into omega-3 fatty acids, making fatty fish and supplementation even more important as we age.
Omega-3s can be a powerhouse for lowering triglycerides (which are an indicator of heart disease) in many people. As estrogen levels decline, so does the cardiovascular protection they offer. It is not uncommon to see increase or shifts in cholesterol into a much less favorable state as we age.
Omega Plus supports a healthy inflammatory response, which could help women better support their hormones.
12. Turmeric (Curcumin)
Used as a medicinal herb in India for thousands of years, turmeric has made its way to the west. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and is rich in antioxidants. For perimenopausal women specifically, turmeric is excellent at supporting a healthy estrogen balance.
Beyond that, the benefits of turmeric are numerous. It may be helpful with inflammation, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, gut health, iron chelation, fibroids, and more.
Osteoporosis is one, in particular, I’d like to discuss further. Many women begin to experience the onset of osteoporosis, or bone loss, as they age. It’s a scary thing to think about, but there’s hope! As well as the well-known nutrients that may be helpful in the possible prevention of osteoporosis, like calcium and vitamin D, curcuminoids (present in turmeric) have been shown to prevent bone loss.
Turmeric is one of those rare natural superstars that we could benefit from even if we don’t have any specific health conditions presenting themselves.
13. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is an amino acid and precursor to glutathione, our most powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are vital in the fight against oxidative stress.
Unfortunately, as we age, antioxidant levels decline, leading to higher levels of oxidative stress. Additionally, decreasing estrogen levels also increases oxidative stress.
Another not-so-fun fact about oxidative stress is that it is involved in the development of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
What I’m getting at is this: Oxidative stress is terrible. We want to keep it in check, especially as we age. We also want to ensure we’re doing our best to support antioxidants in their vital work in the body.
That’s where a N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) supplement comes in. By supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes, NAC is a great addition to any supplement toolbox. It’s a precursor to glutathione, which is considred the mother of all antioxidants. Glutathione combats the effects of free radicals and is protective in both the brain and ovaries. I use this one for my patients.
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps support adrenal function and enables you to handle stress a little better.
As the ovaries begin to decline in function and eventually quit all together in postmenopause, it is the adrenal glands that will become a source of estrogen and testosterone production. To maintain hormone health after menopause, caring for the adrenal glands is a must.
Rhodiola has been shown to support mental and physical endurance. This is good news in perimenopause when brain fog, fatigue, and decline in exercise tolerance can set in. Consider adding this to your daily perimenopause supplement routine.
Adrenal Support combines adaptogenic herbs, including Rhodiola, and nutrients that may support a normal adrenal function. Learn more about the Adrenal Support formula here.
15. Vitamin D
Yes, vitamin D is vital for bone health and keeping them strong. But did you know that it has also been shown to help with hot flashes, vaginal dryness and is involved in breast cancer risk. You can read more about vitamin D benefits here.
As our estrogen levels decline our risk for bone disease increases. This is a big reason doctors recommend adding vitamin D to your list of perimenopause supplements in a dosage specific to your needs.
If you’re looking to supplement with vitamin D, you want to select a Vitamin D3 supplement that also has K2 to help it do its job best with less side effects.
Get Relief with These Perimenopause Supplements
Perimenopause does not have to be a horrible period of your life! Adding these supplements to your nutrition and lifestyle routine can make a significant difference to how you navigate this transition.
Being a woman does not have to be one painful, dreadful biological phase after another. Transitioning from our reproductive years to perimenopause to menopause can be a challenging time, but with support, you can ease those symptoms. By giving your body the support it needs, instead of fighting against the changes you’re experiencing, you can have less stressful perimenopausal years.
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