Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Are supplements safe?

Is anyone else confused about all the different "natural" supplements we are prodded to take as we try to eliminate taking drugs for every ailment under the sun? I started out by saying, "wow, I have to try that! and that....and that, etc." Then you start hearing that the supplements you bought "may not have all the benefits you had hoped for" due to many brands that don't use the part of the plant that has the helpful ingredients. Huh? Now we have to become detectives, scientists and naturopaths to just be as healthy as possible?

Even Dr. Oz's recommendations have become confusing. He gives SO many solutions for our health problems, that it's hard to keep track of what helps and what we need to avoid. My head is usually swimming by the end of his show! LOL! I do give him credit for bringing experts (ie: Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil) with different viewpoints on to the show and having open discussions about controversial topics.

What are the most common natural supplements for menopause? According to WebMD they are the following (with a brief description of what to take them for and any cautions* you should observe: 
  • Black Cohosh
  • Flaxseed
  • Calcium
  • Red Clover
  • Vitamin D
  • Wild Yam
  • Ginseng
  • St. John's Wort
  • DHEA
  • Dong Quai
  • Soy
******Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements you take. Remember: All supplements have potential side effects.
Supplements and herbs may interact with some medicines you take. They could boost or negate a medicine's effect. Or the interaction could cause other problems. Some herbs can cause allergic reactions.

Take a look at this page from the Office of Dietary Supplements for some very good general information


  1. I'm very sceptical about supplements for peri and menopause symptom relief. Today's miracle is tomorrow's discredited snake oil. You see it time and again.

    Herbals especially have done bog all for me. And I'm an aromatherapist, so you'd think the natural route would be right up my alley. Having said all that, I do take calcium, a B vitamin cocktail and a very low dose HRT. I don't feel 100% better for it, but it's not making matters worse either. I also broke down after four years of going nuts from S.M.I. and got a low dose sleeping pill prescribed. Fortunately that's improving, so I don't have to take it all the time.

    I guess it's a case of what works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another. It doesn't hurt to try, but let's face it, experimentation can be very expensive, whether it's herbals, OTC supplements or prescribed medication. The only thing that keeps me sane is the knowledge that I will get to menopause. Eventually. I just wish the hell someone could tell me how much longer to the damn finish line.

    Ali x

  2. Hello Minnie. As my wife and I approach this age, this event, in our lives, we are reading more about nutrition. I wonder whether you've read Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by Dr. John Ratey? He includes a chapter that explains how exercise can profoundly limit the effects of menopause. You and your readers may find the insights of some use.


  3. Hi,
    I just had a quick question in regards to your website. If you could email me at your convenience that would be great!


  4. Another effective natural supplement for menopause is Isoflavone. During the menopause, a woman tends to generate less estrogen and these changes in hormones causes her to experience some menopausal symptoms like mood swings, urine leakage, and headaches. Isoflavone has an element that helps in increasing the production of estrogen in the body. This type of supplement is found in food products such as soy beans, coffee, grains and peanuts.

    Serena Guzik