Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

    It’s hard to remember that menopause is a normal part of life when symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, chills, and night sweats leave you feeling miserable. Coupled with stress, anxiety, and other life changes that might be happening during this time, it’s easy to feel as though everything is falling apart. Luckily, finding the right menopause supplements and products can help you function on a normal schedule, ease your symptoms, and reduce your stress. But how how do you know whether a supplement will actually work?

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    To find out which ingredients are clinically proven to reduce menopause symptoms, we sat down with Hasti Nazem, the head of product and education at Kindra. (Kindra is a one-stop shop for menopause education and products.) According to Nazem, it’s critical for women to have high-quality, estrogen-free options when deciding on their perimenopause and menopausal care.  

    “Research does show that estrogen can be a successful form of therapy and treatment for menopausal symptoms,” she says. “With that said, depending on where you are in the menopause journey or your medical history, hormone therapy may not be right for you. There may be some risks. These risks can include blood clots, stroke, or even certain types of cancer. But I emphasize the word ‘may,’ because it depends on the person … By having estrogen-free products on the market, you empower women who may not want to take hormone therapy to have some type of relief.”  

    Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best estrogen-free menopause supplements to ease night sweats, brain fog, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and more.

    See more of our best product recommendations.

    We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.

    Daily Vaginal Lotion

    Buy from Kindra, $49

    Why we like it:

    • Provides immediate comfort
    • Clinically tested
    • Paraben and fragrance free

    Estrogen plays a big role in maintaining vaginal lubrication, elasticity, and thickness. When menopause causes a loss of estrogen, it can easily cause vaginal dryness. You may assume that the best solution is a topical cream with synthetic estrogen. However, estradiol and progesterone creams can cause a slew of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, bloating, breast pain, headaches, vaginal itching or discharge, hair loss, and cold-like symptoms. If a topical estrogen cream isn’t for you, Kindra’s Daily Vaginal Lotion may give you the relief you need.  

    “We developed vaginal lotion that is formulated with niacinamide,” says Nazem. “You might hear that word often in skincare actually. [It’s] vitamin B3 … It can support healing the recovery of your moisture barrier and intimate skin over time. Similar in the way that estrogen would have. And then you add vitamins and extracts that are rich in omegas, so you can really support the healing.” 

    It should be noted that one of the key ingredients in the vaginal lotion is glycerin. You may have heard that glycerin causes yeast infections because it is a form of sugar. However, Kindra notes that this is a common misconception. Glycerin is a sugar alcohol, not a sugar, and there is no evidence that it causes yeast infections. Instead, it draws moisture into the vaginal skin and helps improve skin barrier function.  

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    Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer

    Buy from Walmart, $11.96

    Why we like it:

    • Normalizes pH
    • Recommended by doctors in sexual medicine
    • Lasts three days

    If you’re looking for a simple, estrogen-free alternative, the Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer may be the right pick. Not only does this product supplement your natural lubrication, but it also normalizes the vagina’s pH. This is particularly important during menopause, when your pH can fluctuate. Changes in pH can increase your risk of infection and irritation. So, products that keep it stable are a good thing.

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    Core Supplement

    Buy from Kindra, $47

    Why we like it:

    • Contains just five ingredients
    • Antioxidant rich
    • Clinically tested

    According to Nazem, one of the best menopause supplements for improving your symptoms is a combination of Pycnogenol, or French maritime extract, and Sensoril, or Ashwagandha root and leaf extract. Both ingredients make up Kindra’s Core Supplement, which treats hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, brain fog, and stress. But how does it work?  

    “Estrogen is actually a really critical hormone in regulating your body temperature,” Nazem says. “When estrogen declines, the blood vessels are actually not as expansive, and they constrict more. When they constrict, the body is not able to release excess body heat in the way that it typically would. That’s what causes – part of what causes – the hot flashes and night sweats. 

    “You want to be able to relax blood vessels so that they can calmly release the heat. And the way to do that is through extracts, for example, like Pycnogenol … What Pycnogenol does is it relaxes the vascular system, or your blood vessels, and it simply allows the body heat to release as it normally would. That calms the sensation of hot flashes and night sweats.” Nazem also notes that Pycnogenol can ease symptoms caused by fluctuations in your hormones. 

    Sensoril (Ashwagandha) complements Pycnogenol. “Ashwagandha has quite a bit of clinical research behind it. And it’s because it’s able to reduce cortisol,” she explains. “To complement this menopausal shift or transition, you want to reduce stress.” Nazem points out that the hypothalamus, or the area of the brain that controls hormones, is usually regulated by estrogen. During menopause, that regulation diminishes and can lead to higher, sustained levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. That can also impact your libido. “It really was logical to formulate Pycnogenol was Ashwaganda to try to support the all-around experience of what might be happening around stress and libido,” Nazem adds.  

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    Nature’s Way Black Cohosh Root

    Buy from Amazon, $9.44

    Why we like it:

    • Gluten-free, vegetarian capsules
    • Simple, small ingredient list
    • Traditional herbal medicine

    If you love traditional health remedies, black cohosh root is a good option. On the back of the bottle, Nature’s Way explains that black cohosh is native to eastern North America, near the Appalachian mountains. It comes from a tall, white flower, and the root gets harvested and powdered. European settlers originally used black cohosh as a tonic for women’s reproductive health.

    While experts don’t quite understand how black cohosh works, menopausal women have long used it to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, sleep disturbances, and irritability. Talk about addressing a long list of symptoms!

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    Focus Supplement

    Buy from Kindra, $37

    Why we like it:

    • No artificial ingredients
    • Improves mood, memory, and mental clarity
    • Clinically tested

    Brain fog, or forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and the sensation of being easily distracted, is a common and frustrating symptom of menopause. While it sounds vague, it can be treated. Kindra recommends their Focus Supplement, which is a well-tested balance of Pycnogenol and green tea leaf extract. Pycnogenol, which Kindra refers to as a “holy grail,” works as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation and sharpen your memory. Green tea leaf extract, which naturally contains caffeine, also improves brain function.  

    “Green tea is a, a very safe, extract that has been studied extensively for cognitive support,” says Nazem. “And the reason that we decided to formulate [the Focus Supplement] with 25 milligrams worth of caffeine is because it’s equivalent just to that one cup of green tea. We don’t want to add to the feeling of jitters or anxiousness. 

    “This specific ratio of ingredients in the formulation showed an almost 50 percent improvement in difficulty concentrating and memory lapses,” she adds. “I think that’s really important to know that it is still very effective, even if it’s just a fraction of the caffeine that you would have from a cup of coffee.”  

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    Memory Health Brain Supplement

    Buy from Memory Health, $49.95

    Why we like it:

    • Clinically tested
    • Contains omega-3s
    • used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia

    While you might not be experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia anytime soon, the brain fog caused by menopause is real and debilitating. It can leave you unfocused for large portions of the day, slowing you down. If your primary motive for buying a supplement is your brain health, consider Memory Health’s brain supplement.

    Each gel capsule contains lutein (a carotenoid antioxidant), zeaxanthin (a fat-soluble antioxidant), two different types of omega-3s, and natural vitamin E. Other ingredients include the gelatin capsule, marigold flower extract, and lemon oil for flavor.

    “Recent clinical research confirmed that cognitive performance can be improved in individuals following daily supplementation with the Memory Health formula,” the company writes. “Benefits of the Memory Health supplement include improvement in focus and clarity, reduction in brain fog and mental fatigue, and improvement in mood!”

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    Sleep Enhancing Supplement

    Buy from Kindra, $37

    Why we like it:

    • Gentle and effective
    • Very low dose melatonin
    • Clinically tested

    Unfortunately, estrogen loss can also affect your sleep. That’s because the pineal gland, which naturally releases melatonin (your sleep hormone), is regulated in part by estrogen.  

    “Prior to menopause, we have a pretty clear circadian rhythm. In the morning, secrete less melatonin, in the evening secrete more melatonin. It seems very easy and simple,” Nazem explains. “But then when estrogen decline starts to happen, and it continues over time, [the pineal] gland is kind of unsure what to do, how much to secrete or when.”  

    That’s why Kindra created this Sleep Enhancing Supplement. It contains Pycnogenol (French maritime extract), Sensoril (Ashwagandha extract), and a small dose of melatonin. As previously noted, Pycnogenol eases hot flashes and symptoms of hormone fluctuations while Sensoril reduces stress, all to help you get a better night’s sleep. So, why add the low dose of melatonin?  

    “We’re kind of not sure what your individual levels of naturally occurring melatonin might be at any given moment,” Nazem says. “We developed the low-dose supplement, which is just two milligrams [of melatonin] because we want to be safe.”  

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    Now Foods Botanical Sleep Blend

    Buy From iHerb, $14.41

    Why we like it:

    • Vegetarian capsules
    • Made with Valerian root
    • Promotes peaceful temperament and better sleep

    If you’d like to avoid melatonin in your menopause supplements, the Now Foods Botanical Sleep Blend is a good option. It contains four key ingredients to promote a better night’s sleep: Valerian root extract, hops, passionflower, and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid).

    Native to Asia and Europe, Valerian root extract has been used since ancient times to promote better sleep. Certain plant compounds in the root powder have sedative effects. Plus, they may also prevent the breakdown of GABA in the brain.

    GABA is a naturally-occuring neurotransmitter in the brain, and works in the central nervous system. According to research published in StatPearls, it “reduces neuronal excitability” by inhibiting nerve transmission. In supplement form, it can reduce nervous tension and help you fall asleep more easily (and stay asleep).

    The other ingredients in the Now Foods blend – hops and passionflower – come from the flowering hops plant and the climbing passionflower vine, respectively. Both hops and passionflower are often used to treat anxiety, restlessness, and irritability.

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    Make sure you speak with your doctor if you’d like to try a new supplement, especially if you are taking other medication for menopausal symptoms. Above all, it’s important to understand why you’re suffering from certain symptoms. With a better understanding of the effects of menopause, you’ll be able to address your issues and experience better days ahead.  

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