If you're a woman over 40, you might be thinking about taking supplements to help you with common symptoms that come with the perimenopause years.
But you may end up in a confused mess! There's so much information out there, from your friend who swears by one thing, the headline in the paper that says vitamins are useless, or marketing hype from supplement companies themselves trying to get you to buy their products.
How do you know what works and what doesn't?
I'm afraid there's no ‘one size fits all' with supplements. It depends on a whole host of things as to whether a supplement will work for you or not; your genetics, your symptoms, your history, your biochemistry, your diet and lifestyle, your potential hormone imbalance, and of course any medications you’re on.
Talking of medications, please always check with your Doctor if you’ve had or have a health condition or are on any medications before trying any new supplement, as they can interact with what you are taking and potentially worsen your condition.
Your Feisty 4
We know that there are 4 main hormones that dictate how you look, feel, think and behave, particularly through the peri-menopausal years and beyond. Download the Free Hormone Balancing Guide for each one to see which might be out of balance for you. Once you know which hormones may be playing up, you can target your supplement protocol more to suit you. If you want a really personalised supplement protocol, consider getting your hormones properly tested (contact us for more info).
Your diet is incredibly important in supplying key nutrients for your hormones to work for you, not against you. Avoiding processed foods, eating nutrient dense foods with good quality protein, healthy fat, low GL carbs and plenty of vegetables is the best way to nourish your hormones.
So why do we need supplements at all?
As we get older, your body needs some extra help to get the nutrients in. We don't tend to absorb as many nutrients as we used to. Our diets aren't always as nutrient dense as we'd like. The soil food is grown in isn't as good as it used to be. Food is more processed and travels further than it ever did and modern day stresses tend to use up nutrients really quickly, so we need more going in.
What Supplements Are Best?
It's important to support all of your Feisty 4 hormones;
- B vitamins (active forms)
- Vitamin C
- Herbal adaptogens (rhodiola, ashwaghanda, Holy Basil, lemon balm, liquorice)
Thyroid – nutrients for your thyroid include;
- tyrosine (found in protein)
- Vitamin A
Food sources include protein, brazil nuts, meat/fish/eggs, nuts, seeds.
Insulin – for blood sugar balance, helpful supplements include;
Food sources include cinnamon, and most protein sources
Oestrogen and Progesterone
- Indole 3 Carbinol
- Milk thistle
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
Food sources include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, kale, chard, rocket), fibre and plenty of water.
For low oestrogen, these 2 brands have some impressive clinical research behind them that shows improvements in menopause symptoms as well as bone and heart health;
- Promensil, a red clover extract with high levels of isoflavones
- Femmenessence MacaPause (for post menopause) and MacaLife (for perimenopause)
For low progesterone, Agnus Castus can be helpful for some women.
My Top 5
For general health over 40, I would always recommend
- A good multivitamin/mineral with active forms of B vitamins (including folate, not folic acid)
- Vitamin C
- EPA/DHA fish oil
- Vitamin D3 with K2
Which brands are best?
It's so important to not waste your money on poor quality supplements that are full of artificial fillers and cheap ingredients. Invest in trusted brands that have the best available forms of ingredients so that your body can use them effectively.
Some of my favourite brands are Nutri Advanced, BioCare, Promensil, Femmenessence, Biotics Research, CytoPlan, Designs for Health, Jarrow Formulas, Life Extension, Better You, Pure Encapsulations, Allergy Research and Thorne Research.
Shop my collection at Approved Vitamins for all these brands (and more).
Remember, please check with your Doctor or health practitioner if you want to start a new supplement and you're on medication or you have a health condition.
If you'd like a personalised diet or menopause supplement plan, please contact us to arrange a free call and we can discuss your requirements.