Natural Relief from Hot Flashes
Most women reach the end of their fertile period at around age 50. For some, there’s a degree of relief in the end of their monthly cycles – especially if the cramping and other effects were severe. Others find they feel freer about sex too.
But this transition also comes with its own set of problems. Problems that affect the vast majority of women. And for many, they don’t come close to outweighing the benefits.
Of course, if you’re a woman, you probably don’t need me to tell you this. What you’d probably like is for me to show you how to get relief from the hot flashes, dryness and other complaints that come with the change.
Studies show there are effective nutritional supplements for dealing with hot flashes.
Red clover and soy extracts contain compounds called isoflavones. They’re the “active ingredients” that make these plants effective.
In a 6-month trial in Austria, women experienced 26.5% fewer hot flashes and 27.8% fewer episodes of night sweats after taking red clover extract.1
The design of this study makes it very persuasive. The volunteers were divided into two groups. Neither the volunteers nor their doctors knew which group was took the clover and which group took a placebo. And the study’s designers even took it a step further.
After 90 days, they gave both groups a week off… and then switched their pills for 90 days. Both groups experienced significant relief from hot flashes and sweats while taking the clover – but not while taking the placebo.
Soy isoflavones are more controversial.
Hot flashes, sweats and other complaints are less common in Asian societies that eat soy regularly. But most of the soy they eat is fermented – unlike most soy products in the West.
Fermentation neutralizes naturally occurring “anti-nutrients” found in soy and also makes the isoflavones easier to absorb.
In the West, most soy products are processed by crushing the soy and bathing it in chemical solvents. So I don’t recommend eating soy to take advantage of its benefits.
Instead, try a nutritional supplement that contains isoflavones – especially genistein. Some studies have found that products with at least 18.8 mg of genistein appear to promote the greatest drop in hot flashes.
A Japanese review of studies, completed just this year, found that women taking soy experienced about a 20% average drop in hot flashes.2
Isoflavones seem to work better for some women than others. The reason may be bacterial. Only certain bacteria can separate isoflavones from the sugars they “piggyback” on. Women who lack these bacteria absorb fewer of the active isoflavones.
If you find clover or soy extracts don’t work for you, try black cohosh. It’s been used for centuries and has a pretty god track record.
Study results on black cohosh are mixed, but a number of good studies have found it effective. For example, a Canadian study – done in 2010 – reviewed the results of more than a dozen studies. These researchers found women taking black cohosh experienced about a 25% drop in hot flashes, sweats and other complaints.3
The active ingredient in black cohosh hasn’t been identified yet. So some companies use ground cohosh root in their products instead of an extract. If you decide to try cohosh, I recommend getting an extract. Ground root products carry a risk of having unacceptable levels of lead.
Some people are allergic to soy. Before taking a soy based supplement, check with your physician to make sure it’s completely safe for you.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Lipovac, M., et al, “The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women,” Gynecol Endocrinol. Mar 2012; 28(3): 203-207.
2 Taku, K., et al, “Extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” Menopause. Jul 2012; 19(7): 776-790.
3 Shams, T., et al, “Efficacy of black cohosh-containing preparations on menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis,” Altern Ther Health Med. Jan-Feb 2010; 16(1): 36-44.