Women’s bodies are designed to do incredible things. After all, a woman’s body can create life through pregnancy. However, before a woman reaches her reproductive years, there’s puberty, and once a women surpasses those reproductive years, menopause sets in. Each stage of life brings its own set of challenges: premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during adolescent and adult years; and hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, depression, irritability and changes in libido, among other symptoms, during menopausal years.
One of the most dramatic of life stages for women includes menopause, which is defined as the one-year mark after a woman’s last menstrual cycle; this signifies the end of menstruation. Before a woman reaches menopause, she’ll encounter perimenopause. During perimenopause, estrogen fluctuates and becomes irregular, and eventually drops to a very low level. Progesterone production stops after a woman has her final menstrual cycle.
“The menopause transition and the perimenopause are the transitional periods from reproductive to non-reproductive life actually taking place," explained Carolina Burki-Sozzi, director of product development at Horphag Research. “During this time, many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irregular periods, loss of libido and vaginal dryness."
According to James Frame, CEO of Natural Health International, peri- and post-menopause can also lead to less well-known health issues, such as increased cholesterol and triglycerides, brain fog or memory issues, increased body weight and reduced bone density. “All of these symptoms are either directly or indirectly related to the loss of or imbalance of hormones," he said.
Frame cited research showing the benefits of maca, a root that grows in the Peruvian mountains, to help balance hormones. “Clinical studies show that maca impacts the endocrine system in many ways, including supporting increased libido and sexual well-being in both men and young women," he said. “Maca has also been shown to affect the adrenal glands and ovaries in young women."
Also important for balancing hormones are magnesium and zinc. According to Max R. Motyka, M.S., R.Ph., consultant to Albion Minerals, “Magnesium and zinc are the key cofactors in the conversion of fatty acids to GLA and the further production of the prostaglandins." He further explained that prostaglandins, like PGE1, regulate hormonal balance and support menopausal health.
Find more research-backed ingredients for women’s health by reading INSIDER’s latest Digital Issue, “The Modern Woman."