Menopause is a trigger for multiple symptoms that impact day-to-day quality of life as estrogen levels decline. In particular, menopause brings changes to the body, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, loss of sex drive, weight gain, belly fat, and unhealthy lipid profiles.
Hormone therapy with synthetic estrogen treats symptoms, but it also increases the risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer for some women. Supplements for menopause are safer alternatives to synthetic hormones, as many herbs used in them contain phytoestrogens, physiologically active compounds that mimic estrogen in the human body.
The best supplements for menopause address common symptoms and come in pill, powder, and tea forms. For a detailed list of supplements that you should consider, check out the list below.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble compound that plays an integral role in various physiological functions. Two primary forms exist: cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). D3 is derived from animal sources, while D2 comes from plant-based sources. Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight. It is also available through dietary sources and supplements.
The primary function of vitamin D is to regulate calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, promoting optimal bone health. It also modulates immune function, reduces inflammation, and maintains neuromuscular function. Supplementation of vitamin D may lead to enhanced bone mineral density, reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures, improved immune function, lowered inflammation, and mood regulation.
Excessive intake of vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and kidney stones. The best vitamin D supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquid drops. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults ranges from 600-800 IU per day.
Reputable vitamin D supplement brands include Nature Made, Nordic Naturals, and Thorne Research. When choosing a vitamin D supplement, consider factors such as form (D2 or D3), dosage, and quality. Consult a healthcare provider if you have specific health conditions or are taking certain medications.
Vitamin D’s effectiveness may be influenced by factors like adequate dietary intake of calcium and phosphorus, overall lifestyle, and sun exposure. The price of vitamin D supplements varies depending on factors such as brand, form, and dosage. It is important to strike a balance between cost and quality while making a purchase decision.
The ginseng root is native to Asia and the northeast United States and has been a tonic for chronic illness in Asia for millennia. Ginseng is among the most-researched compounds for treating menopause. Some trials show the root reduces the frequency of hot flashes, increases sexual arousal, eases symptoms of depression, and reduces cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women.
Research on ginseng’s use as a herbal treatment for menopause is focused on Korean red ginseng. This species is highest in chemical compounds called saponins, which boost immunity and lower cancer risk. Menopause researchers have investigated specific types of saponins called ginsenosides because they are phytoestrogens.
Raw ginseng root is available in Asian markets and is also sold as a tea or drink mix. The tinctures or extracts are most effective as they are more easily absorbed by the body. Hide the bitter taste with honey or skip it altogether by swallowing powdered ginseng in capsules.
Ginseng’s most common side effect is similar to caffeine, meaning it’s advisable for people whose menopause symptoms include insomnia to avoid using it as a supplement.
Less commonly reported side effects include increased heart rate, high or low blood pressure, headache, loss of appetite, and digestive problems.
Ginseng root supplements are available from several brands, including CheongKwanJang, Naturebell, and Borovela Ginseng Powder. Ginseng is available in tincture, liquid, and pill form and averages at under $20 for a 30 to 60-day supply.
Maca, sometimes called Peruvian ginseng, is a nutty-tasting radish relative native to the high plateaus of the Andes. This radish has been cultivated for over 3000 years by Peru’s first inhabitants as a root vegetable
The radish has been the subject of research trials with postmenopausal women showing reductions in hot flashes and depressive symptoms, improved libido, balanced hormone levels, and increased bone density.
Maca is an effective nonhormonal treatment for herbal menopause relief or for people who have experienced unpleasant side effects from phytoestrogens.
Researchers credit the root’s adaptogenic properties for lowering levels of cortisol –– the “stress hormone” that triggers several mental health-related problems associated with menopause.
Maca is a food –– not a drug or herb –– and is rarely associated with food allergies. The red maca variety of the root has a slightly higher phytonutrient (antioxidant) content than the other kinds of maca, including those linked to hormone balance in animal studies.
Red maca is also sweeter and can taste better than savory strains in drinks and smoothies. The radish is available in three forms.
- The raw red maca is available as a powder or in capsules and is the most nutrient-dense because it is not heated during processing.
- Gelatinized red maca is easier to digest because its processing involves removing most of the starch content.
- Red maca extract is sweeter than the raw variety and is made by infusing the raw powder with a solvent like alcohol or vegetable glycerin, which concentrates and preserves the root’s nutritive components.
Maca is more expensive than some alternative supplements, with costs ranging between $30 to $40 for brands like Maca Team Raw Red Maca Powder, Femmenessence MacaLife for Perimenopause, and Happy Healthy Hippie’s Go With the Flow Hormonal Balance & Relief.
Happy Healthy Hippie’s maca formula is a combination of chasteberry, dong quai, and black cohosh root. Maca supplement brands cost about $35 on average for a 30-day supply.
4. Black Cohosh
The black cohosh flowering plant is native to the Eastern United States and has been used for centuries by tribes from the region. Studies have shown black cohosh to be effective against menopausal symptoms, especially sleep disturbance, and beneficial for its osteoprotective properties.
Black cohosh is available as a dried root for tea, in capsules and tablets, and as tinctures and extracts. The plant’s efficacy in easing sleep disturbance makes it a suitable alternative for people who find ginseng keeping them up at night but want to continue with phytoestrogens.
The plant has mild side effects like stomach upset, rash, and feeling of heaviness. Researchers have also studied the root’s contribution to liver damage and the worsening of existing breast cancer.
Black cohosh is found in Remifemin by Nature’s Way, NusaPure’s Menopause Complex, and Estroven Sleep Cool, which is a formula of black cohosh soy, calcium, and melatonin. Black cohosh supplements are premium herbal remedies for menopause, averaging at about $20 for a 30-day supply.
Ancient Greeks and Romans traditionally used the roots of valerian to treat insomnia. Also known as “nature’s valium,” the phytoestrogen-rich root is used to alleviate menopause symptoms because it curbs hot flashes in limited trials.
Menopausal women tolerate valerian better than other phytoestrogens, but some people report vivid dreams or nightmares, heart palpitations, dry mouth, upset stomach, headaches, and brain fog, a common symptom of menopause.
Valerian is a cost-effective option from multiple brands, like Now Foods Valerian, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Tea, and Nature’s Answer Valerian Extract
The Nature’s Answer Valerian Extract supplement is super concentrated, offering 1000 mg of the dried plant with each serving. Valerian herbal supplements for menopause will cost as little as $4.98 for 20 teabags and as high as $25.24 for a 60-day supply of Nature’s Answer Valerian Extract.
The flax plant’s stalks have been used in textiles since the Paleolithic, and the plant is still used to make linen. Flaxseed is routinely served as a toasted salad topping, while the plant’s seed –– also known as linseed –– has been long cultivated as a food.
Flaxseed is high in fiber and contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The plant has phytoestrogens called lignans that a limited study reported works as well as synthetic hormone therapy to relieve hot flashes, mood disturbances, and vaginal dryness.
More robust research shows flaxseed aids in combating menopausal weight gain and belly fat. Studies found that supplementing with flaxseed significantly decreased BMI and belly fat. The researchers with these studies credit the seed’s high soluble fiber content for reducing feelings of hunger.
Use ground flaxseed as an ingredient in foods as whole flax seeds pass through the digestive system in-tact, robbing the body of their health benefits, and large amounts of unripe or raw flaxseed often contain harmful toxins.
Choose flaxseed lignan extracts if seeking the highest concentration of phytoestrogens. Flaxseed side effects include itching, swelling, redness, hives, vomiting, and nausea.
Flaxseed is budget-friendly, with leading brands including NatureWise Organic Flaxseed Oil Soft Gels, Vitacost Flax Seed Lignan Extract Capsules, and Spectrum Essentials, Organic Ground Premium Flaxseed.
NatureWise uses 720 mg of ALA in its organic menopause supplements to support the immune system. Flaxseed is an affordable option and costs no more than $19 on average.
7. Evening Primrose
The evening primrose is native to eastern and central North America. Its seeds, leaves, and roots were traditionally used by indigenous tribes as food and medicine. Modern treatments use evening primrose oil for skincare concerns and to alleviate menopause symptoms.
Studies have reported that evening primrose helps reduce the frequency and severity of night sweats, one of the most common menopause symptoms. Research has also investigated the plant’s concentrated form of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. This research observed reductions in sleep disruption, breast tenderness, and the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Evening primrose has side effects that include nausea, headache, and diarrhea. Additionally, the flowering plant negatively interacts with certain drugs used to treat patients with seizure or bleeding disorders.
The three best brands to source evening primrose are Source Naturals, Mega-GLA 300 Softgels, Sports Research Evening Primrose Oil, and American Health Royal Brittany Evening Primrose Oil.
Evening primrose supplements average $15 for a 30 to 60-day supply. American Health costs $14.69 for a bottle of 100 evening primrose soft gels containing 117 mg of GLA.
Soybeans are legumes native to East Asia that have long been a staple of diets in the region. The legumes contain phytoestrogens and isoflavones, found almost exclusively in legumes, particularly soybeans.
In trials, isoflavones reduced hot flashes and attenuated bone density loss. Soy is high in antioxidants, fiber, and protein but lower in calories than many other protein sources, making it beneficial for curbing menopausal weight gain.
Soy’s side effects include diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Serious soy allergies are rare but trigger swelling of the lips and tongue, breathing difficulties, dizziness, or fainting.
Three of the leading menopause supplement brands are LifeSeasons Pausitivi-T Menopause Support, Best Naturals Soy Isoflavones for Women, and Nature’s Craft Complete Herbal Menopause Supplement for Women.
Nature’s Craft uses a low-dose soy formula for their menopause herbal supplements for women and also includes dong quai, chasteberry, and black cohosh as ingredients.
9. Red Clover
Red clover is a flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae native to Europe and Western Asia. It has historically been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory, skin, and gynecological issues.
This plant is high in calcium, chromium, magnesium, and vitamin C, and also rich in isoflavones like soy. Though the two plants share similar phytoestrogens, the flower’s impact on menopausal symptoms is less conclusive.
Studies show the flower has promise as a treatment for hot flashes, cardiovascular issues, and loss of bone density, but findings are preliminary.
Common side effects include headache, nausea, and rash, and severe reactions are possible for those who have allergies.
Menopause supplements containing red clover hover between $10 to $13. Suitable brands for red clover are Nature’s Answer Red Clover Menopause Support, Nature’s Way Red Clover Blossom/Herb, and Nature’s Answer Alcohol-Free Red Clover Extract.
10. Dong Quai
Dong quai, sometimes called “the female ginseng,” is a flowering plant in the same family as celery and carrots. Its root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat menstrual cramps and disorders, and research in the West confirms its efficacy in addressing concerns like these.
Menopausal women report the root relieves hot flashes, but evidence remains anecdotal as dong quai has not been the subject of extensive study studies to support its use as a menopause treatment.
Dong quai contains compounds that mimic estrogen but clinical trials have shown it to not alter hormone levels.
Side effects include difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, drowsiness, fever, headaches, increased bleeding risk, low blood sugar, stomach upset, vision loss, and, notably, sweating and trouble sleeping –– two common menopause complaints.
People allergic to other plants in the carrot family are at risk of reacting to dong quai. Dong quai also reacts with medications for hormones, NSAIDs, and blood thinners.
The most prominent dong quai menopause supplements are Herb Pharm Dong Quai Liquid Extract, Swanson Full-Spectrum Dong Quai Capsules, and Nature’s Answer Dong Quai Root.
Expect to pay slightly under $16 on average, depending on the form, supply, and brand.
11. Chaste Berry
The chaste berry plant, also called the chaste tree, is native to Asia and the Mediterranean. Ancient medical practitioners believed the plant’s dried leaves and berries promoted chastity, hence its name.
Traditionally, monks relied on the plant to decrease sexual desire while women used it to ease gynecological disorders and skin conditions.
Chaste berry contains phytoestrogens, meaning it mimics estrogen like similar plants. Israel conducted limited research on the plant, indicating it helped curb hot flashes and night sweats.
Notably, chaste berry has a dose-dependent effect on hormone regulation, with low doses decreasing estrogen levels.
Side effects include headaches, nausea, and acne. Chaste berry also contributes to weight gain in some people, making the plant unsuitable for those wanting to reduce menopausal belly fat.
Clinicians attribute the berry’s impact on metabolic regulation to its role in boosting the production of progesterone and reducing the level of prolactin. Do not take chaste berry when experiencing a hormone-sensitive cancer as the plant risks aggravating diseases.
Chaste berry is used as a component in multiple menopause supplements and as a main ingredient in Intimate Rose Vitex (Chaste berry): Hormone Balance, NusaPure Vitex Chaste berry Fruit, and VH Nutrition Vitex+ Chaste Tree Berry Extract.
Intimate Rose uses 1000 mg of raw chaste berry to address nausea and aid hormone balance. Expect to pay at least $15 for chaste berry supplements.
The human body has more calcium than any other mineral. This essential nutrient is known for its bone-building role, but calcium is critical to the smooth operation of other body systems, including the nervous system and the hormone-regulating endocrine system.
The most common sources of calcium are dairy products, dark, leafy greens, soybeans, fish with soft, edible bones like sardines, and calcium-fortified foods like cereal and tofu. Non-dairy sources are recommended as a diet high in animal protein can impede calcium absorption.
Menopausal women benefit from taking at least 1200 mg of calcium daily, as that level cuts the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption, so look for supplements that include at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D.
Be mindful that calcium supplements are associated with side effects like gas, constipation, and bloating.
The leading brands for calcium are Garden of Life Mykind Organics Plant Calcium, Pure Micronutrients Bone Support Calcium Complex, and Caltrate Bone Health Advanced Minis. Prices range from under $19 to more than $50.
Garden of Life’s organic menopause supplements are derived from a mix of 20 powdered vegetables and fruits, and also contain 80 mcg of vitamin K2 to aid the distribution of calcium. Calcium supplements vary widely in cost and get as high as $38.47 for a 36-day supply of Pure Micronutrients.
13. Wild Yam
Wild yam is a vine native to the eastern United States and is traditionally used to treat colic, asthma, and various other disorders.
Scientists in the 20th Century isolated a wild yam phytoestrogen called diosgenin and chemically converted it in a lab into the progesterone used to make the first birth control pills.
The herb is reported as a helpful remedy for a host of menopausal concerns for which doctors prescribe synthetic progesterone –– usually paired with estrogen.
Limited studies showed an oral diosgenin-rich yam extract enhanced cognitive function and improved lipid profiles of study participants.
In large amounts, wild yam causes vomiting, upset stomachs, and headaches. Moreover, wild yam decreases the effects of estrogen pills.
Manufacturers often sell the vine as a cream, but it can also be purchased as Herb Pharm Wild Yam Extract, Nature’s Way Wild Yam Root Vegan Capsules, and Bulk Supplements Wild Yam Extract Powder.
The cost for wild yam supplements ranges from under $7 for a 50-day supply of Nature’s Way capsules to more than $22 for almost two years’ worth of Bulk Supplements powder.
14. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort grows across temperate areas of Europe and Asia, and as an invasive species in much of North and South America. The practice of using the plant’s flowers and leaves to treat several ailments dates back to Ancient Greece.
Today, St. John’s wort is among the most studied medicinal herbs, as it contains antidepressant compounds that impact levels of the brain’s “feel good” chemical, dopamine.
The data shows St. John’s wort treats depression as effectively as SSRIs, which has led clinicians to suggest it for women whose perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms coincide with poor mental health.
Small studies also show the herb to diminish hot flashes and estrogen deficiency-induced spikes in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
St John’s wort’s side effects include increased sensitivity to sunlight, insomnia, anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, headache, and sexual dysfunction.
The flowering plant has had negative interactions with several medications, including antidepressants, statins, HIV medications, and cancer drugs.
Three of the leading supplements featuring the plant are Gaia Herbs’ St. John’s Wort Liquid Extract, Full Spectrum St. John’s Wort Extract, and Nature’s Way Premium Herbal St. John’s Wort Capsule.
Gaia Herb advertises its product as being easily digestible and absorbed. The product is priced at $13.99 for a seven-day supply, with the recommended serving size being 40 drops.
What Are the Benefits of Menopause Supplements?
The best natural supplements for menopause help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with the condition.
- Promote bone health
- Manage menopause symptoms
- Restore collagen levels
Menopause triggers a decrease in estrogen that impacts bone density and increases the risk of conditions like osteoporosis developing. Many menopause supplements contain vitamin D to support bone health.
Additionally, vitamin D helps balance hormones, which can be disrupted by menopause.
Manage menopause systems
OTC Menopause supplements are formulated to manage the many symptoms of the condition, including hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and insomnia. Research the benefits associated with specific supplements to get the most out of them. For example, valerian is used in natural supplements for hot flashes while soy curbs weight gain.
Restore collagen levels
Estrogen loss impacts collagen production, affecting the hair and skin. Those suffering from diminished collagen levels see drier or thinner skin and reduced elasticity. Choose supplements high in zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E to restore collagen levels.
What are the most effective supplements for menopause?
Remifemin Menopause Relief is designed to reduce mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats. The supplement is specially formulated to be gluten and estrogen-free, making it suitable for people with hormone disorders.
For optimal results, consider how to choose the best supplements for menopause by factoring in symptoms like hot flashes or insomnia and avoiding products that interfere with some medications.
Evening primrose supplements treat sleep disruption and hot flashes but are incompatible with some drugs prescribed for blood disorders.
Where can I typically purchase these supplements?
Purchase all-natural menopause supplements from health and wellness stores, direct from the brand manufacturer, or online marketplaces.
Do not buy menopause relief supplements from websites that have poor reviews or are not accredited by reputable organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
What are the symptoms that indicate the need for menopause supplements?
Menopause symptoms vary by individual, but night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings are the most common indicators that someone would benefit from supplements.
Speak to a healthcare provider before taking any herbs to help with menopause, particularly when taking other medications. Doctors will often recommend supplements for hot flashes if a patient is unable or unwilling to receive hormone therapy.