For women experiencing symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, supplements to complement diet and lifestyle changes or an alternative to HRT have our attention. Several wellness brands have emerged to bridge the gap between HRT intervention and significant lifestyle adjustments. Founded by women, for women, these supplements support the body during these key transitional phases.
We asked Nikki Warren, an expert guest on the Ageless by Rescu podcast, naturopath and natural fertility specialist, to provide her insights on the hormonal changes occurring during perimenopause and menopause, as well as the support needed to navigate these fluctuations effectively.
During early perimenopause, oestrogen levels can fluctuate significantly. While there are normal oestrogen fluctuations throughout our menstrual cycles, perimenopause can bring about higher or lower levels than usual, resulting in irregular cycles and symptoms such as irritability and sleep issues.
In late perimenopause, menstrual cycles typically become longer, lasting around 6-8 weeks or even longer. During this stage, oestrogen and progesterone levels usually drop, and by the time menopause is reached (12 months since menstrual cycles have ceased), oestrogen is typically low, and progesterone is absent due to the cessation of ovulation.
During the late perimenopause/early menopause stage, women may opt for traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to replenish the diminishing oestrogen and progesterone levels.
Testing and Supplementation
One way to ease into perimenopause is to start taking DHEA at the first sign of symptoms. These may include dry skin, poor memory, irritability, sleep issues, cycles that are closer together (around 21-24 days), and lighter or heavier periods.
Consult your GP to test your FSH and oestradiol levels on day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle. An FSH level over 20 is indicative of early perimenopause.
DHEA is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which take over oestrogen production when the ovaries cease production. Taking care of our adrenal glands becomes crucial. DHEA converts into testosterone, another hormone that depletes during perimenopause and menopause. Testosterone can be converted into oestrogen through an enzyme called aromatase.
Since every woman is unique with varying enzymatic activity, it is impossible to predict who will end up with high oestrogen levels or good levels of testosterone and possibly oestrogen as well when taking DHEA. Regular blood tests, assessed by your healthcare provider, are important to determine the appropriate DHEA dosage and whether natural aromatase inhibitors should be taken to slow down the conversion into oestrogen.
Menopause: Natural HRT Alternatives
During menopause, when oestrogen levels decline, there are natural herbal alternatives to HRT that can support oestrogen levels. It is crucial to also support progesterone levels when taking anything that increases oestrogen levels, whether herbal, DHEA, or traditional oestrogen hormone replacement therapy. Bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy, such as Prometrium, is available on prescription from your GP.
Exploring New Supplement Launches
There has been a proliferation of new supplements, podcasts, books and experts specialising in peri and menopausal support. Here is a roundup of noteworthy supplements were are excited to introduce to you:
Ashaya is a conscious brand created by beauty industry alumni Siobhan Fildes, Jodie Matthews, and Sarah Ward. They share a combined passion for Ayurvedic principles and a goal to help women gently balance their hormones. Ashaya offers two tailored rituals designed to support women during the menstrual and perimenopausal years. Rooted in the belief that our bodies are sacred homes to protect and nurture, Ashaya integrates these rituals into the rhythm of everyday life.
Re-Glow is a powder supplement that supports healthy hormonal balance and reduces perimenopause symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood imbalances, disturbed sleep, abdominal bloating, mild anxiety, low libido, and joint aches and pains. Its optimised blend of herbs includes Black Cohosh for hot flush relief and nervous tension, Ashwagandha to support a healthy stress response, Hops for calming the nervous system and improving sleep quality, Saffron for a balanced mood, and Astragalus for relieving fatigue and menopausal night sweats.
EIR Women, developed by co-founders Kate Curran and Lisa Walker in collaboration with in-house nutritionist and naturopath Kristen Beck. Show Up supports a healthy stress response, brain health, and energy levels; Reboot aids sleep, muscle function, and cramp relief; and Zipped manages food cravings, boosts metabolism, decreases bloating, and supports healthy thyroid function. These formulations contain no more than ten active ingredients each, delivering targeted support during perimenopause and menopause.
NaturoBest Stress & OestroSupport AM Formula, formulated by fertility naturopath and herbalist Nikki Warren, provides benefits for women trying to conceive, experiencing low oestrogen levels, or going through perimenopause and menopause. This formula, to be taken alongside the Sleep & OestroSupport PM Formula, uses traditional Western herbal medicine to support estrogen hormone levels, reproductive hormones, emotional balance, and adrenal gland health. It offers relief from hot flashes, aggression, irritability, and other menopausal symptoms. The Sleep & OsteoSupport PM Formula is designed to aid sleep and relieve night sweats, especially for women with low estrogen levels. Together, these formulas provide comprehensive support for women during perimenopause and menopause.
Sisters Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett developed Peri+ Meno Relief in response to customer requests and their own peri and menopause journeys. Their once-a-day supplement provides relief from hot flushes, night sweats, and cognitive function associated with perimenopause and menopause. This powerhouse supplement includes key ingredients such as Black Cohosh, Siberian Ginseng, Dong Quai, Sage, Jujube, and Zinc. It helps reduce excessive sweating, hot flushes, skin inflammation, brain fog, sleep disturbances, and mild joint aches and pains.
Watch our podcast with Nikki Warren here: