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Supplements for Women’s Health (Part 2): The Transition Years
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Supplements for Women’s Health (Part 2): The Transition Years

Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is key to keeping your body functioning well throughout your life.  But, your nutrient needs change as you start to get older. In the second and final part of this women’s health series, learn about key nutrients and supplements to help you feel your best as you transition through menopause.

As you get older, your body starts transitioning to menopause. Some women may enter “perimenopause” as early as their mid-thirties, while others may not experience perimenopause symptoms until their fifties. During this time, your ovaries produce less hormones and your cycle becomes irregular and unpredictable. 

As you journey through your transitional years and beyond, eating a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity remains a vital component of your overall health and wellbeing. And, certain nutrients may be particularly beneficial during this time.


Calcium and Vitamin D 

These essential nutrients for bone health move to the top of the list. Estrogen plays a huge role in maintaining bone strength, butut after menopause, your estrogen levels drop. Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D during this time can help keep your bones strong and healthy as you age.* 

Magnesium and vitamin K2 deserve an honorable mention for bone health, and work with calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone strength.* Magnesium rich foods include beans, nuts, whole grains, avocados, and leafy greens, and foods like fermented soy, sauerkraut, and liver are high in vitamin K2. But, you can also find these nutrients in a supplement along with calcium and vitamin D.


Soy Isoflavones 

Many women experience hot flashes as they transition through menopause. Hot flashes are described as a sudden feeling of heat, often with heavy sweating, and sometimes followed by cold shivering. When hot flashes happen during the night, they are called night sweats, making a good night’s sleep difficult. 

Several supplements, including soy isoflavones, black cohosh, and red clover, are marketed to reduce menopausal hot flashes.* While evidence supports the use of soy isoflavones to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes, the jury is still out for black cohosh and red clover.* Some women find them helpful, but the research is mixed. 

Choose whole soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soymilk, or a high-quality whole soybean extract supplement if you experience menopausal hot flashes.*



Sleep is one of your fundamental needs – it helps support healthy brain function, immune health, and even emotional stability. But unfortunately, the hormonal, physical, and psychological changes that accompany perimenopause and beyond can impact your sleep. 

Proper sleep hygiene becomes even more important during your transitional years. Here are some tips that may help support healthy sleep patterns: 

  • Limit screen time before bed. 
  • Develop a consistent bedtime routine. 
  • Practice meditation or other relaxing activities before bed. 
  • Keep the bedroom cool and comfortable. 
  • Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages after your morning cup of coffee or tea. 

You may also consult with your healthcare provider about taking a high-quality melatonin supplement.  Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body that helps regulate circadian rhythms (your internal clock). Studies show that taking melatonin before bedtime can help support a night of healthy sleep.* 



Another concern  during this phase of life is urinary tract health. Cranberries are well-known for their urinary tract health benefits because of natural compounds called “soluble A-type proanthocyanidins” (PACs). Research shows that you need at least 36 mg of PACs per day to support urinary tract health.* 

While cranberry juice is a popular way to include cranberry in your diet, many opt for a high-quality cranberry supplement instead. According to the FDA, limited scientific evidence shows that by consuming 500 mg each day of cranberry dietary supplement, healthy women who have had a urinary tract infection (UTI) may reduce their risk of recurrent UTI.* 

But remember, not all cranberry supplements are created equal. Be sure to choose a product with 500 mg of cranberry and 36 mg PACs per daily dose. For added peace of mind, look for the NSF® International or USP seal on the bottle – this ensures that what’s on the label matches what’s in the product. 


Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that your body needs to build cell membranes, and they play important roles in brain, eye, and heart health.* 

There are three main types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  

Plant sources of omega-3s, like nuts (especially walnuts), flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, and soybeans, contain ALA. This is the only omega-3 that’s considered “essential,” because the body can’t make it on its own. But, most of the health benefits of omega-3s are connected to DHA and EPA.* While your body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA, this process isn’t very efficient, so it’s best to include DHA- and EPA-rich foods in your diet, like salmon, herring, sardines, and other fatty fish.  

If you don’t eat seafood at least twice per week, you may consider adding a a high-quality omega-3 supplement  to your daily routine. 



While multivitamins can’t replace a well-balanced diet, they can act as your safety net and fill any nutrient gaps. Plus, recent research has shown that multivitamins may help support memory and cognitive function.*  

Your nutrient needs are specific to your life stage – your multivitamin should be, too. Once you no longer have a regular menstrual cycle, your iron needs decrease significantly, so you may  consider a high-quality multivitamin without iron. 



Berberine is a compound found in plants like barberry, goldenseal, tree turmeric, and Oregon grape. While berberine can be beneficial for women of all ages, it helps support healthy metabolism and blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol levels, which become more of a focus as you get older.* 



Turmeric is a golden spice rich in plant compounds called “curcuminoids.” Research has linked most of the health benefits of turmeric to one specific curcuminoid: curcumin.* Curcumin is another supplement that offers benefits throughout different life stages. As you enter menopause and beyond, curcumin offers antioxidant support for heart, immune, and joint health.* 


The basics of a healthy lifestyle are the same at every age: a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep. As you move through each stage of life, keep in mind that your nutrient needs change slightly, and you may benefit from certain supplements to keep you feeling your best.* And as always, talk to your doctor about your supplement routine to make sure you’re taking what’s right for you.  



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