Do plant-based supplements aid in menopausal symptoms?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Menopause is considered the end of the woman’s reproductive life, usually indicated by the moment when menstrual periods permanently stop. The transition from menopause and its associated changes vary widely. Symptoms associated with menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, with 50.3% to 82.1% of menopausal women reporting hot flashes or night sweats. Medical treatments for these symptoms are available, including hormone replacement therapy. However, given the potentially negative consequences of hormone replacement for cardiovascular health and incidence of breast cancer, in Western countries there has been growing interest in the use of complementary therapies, including plant-based therapies (herbal) in patients who are going through menopause.

Plant-based supplements in menopause

Some herbal therapies have been associated with a reduction in the frequency of menopausal symptoms in women. However, the supplementation composed of phytoestrogens and individual interventions of phytoestrogens, such as dietary soybean and isoflavone supplementation, were associated with the improvement of some symptoms. Among them, reductions in hotness and vaginal dryness are included, but without significant reduction in night sweat. In addition, several medicinal herbs have also improved menopausal symptoms.

Supplements with red clover, a rich source of phytoestrogens formononetine, biochanin, daidzein and geniein, were associated with improvements in night sweats, but not with the frequency of hot flashes. Therefore, there may be a plausible biological argument for these associations of phytoestrogens with improved symptoms. The main subtypes of phytoestrogens, isoflavones and lignanas have a chemical structure similar to that of estradiol (i.e., a form of estrogen) and therefore have relevant properties.

Trials evaluating herbal remedies, such as extract isolated from Rheum rhaponticum and picnogenol (pine bark extract), reported associations with improvements in the number of heat waves within 24 hours. On the other hand, there was no significant association between cimicifuga racemosa or Actaea racemosa supplementation and menopausal symptoms.


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Watch the video on Science Play with Pricila Antunes: Diet and Menopause

and plant-based Franco OH, Chowdhury R, Troup J, et al. Use of Plant-Based Therapies and Menopausal Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2016;315(23):2554-2563. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8012

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