There are a number of natural products that have been shown to offer relief from the various symptoms of menopause. A study that appeared in the Obstetrics and Gynecology (2005; 105(5 Pt 1): 1074-83) looked at the effect black cohosh extract had on anxiety symptoms during menopause. The subjects of the study, 304 menopausal women, were given either a placebo or pharmaceutical-grade black cohosh extract for a period of 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, the group receiving the supplement had improvements in symptoms like hot flashes, as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Women’s Health (1998 Jun;7(5):525-9) found that black cohosh was safe and effective for alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
There were several studies that looked at the consumption of flax seeds and their effect on menopausal symptoms. One study that was published in the Journal for the Society for Integrative Oncology (2007 Summer; 5(3): 106-12) involved 30 women who we having at least 14 hot flashes each week. The subjects were given 40 grams of crushed flax seeds each day. Over a six week period, the women experienced a mean 57% decrease in the number of hot flashes. Subjects receiving the flax seed also experienced lees joint and muscle pain, a reduction in sweating and chills, and a general improvement in the quality of life. Another study, appearing in Family Practice News (February 1, 2005:48), was double-blind and placebo controlled. It involved 85 women who were experiencing at least 5 episodes of either hot flashes or night sweats per day. They were randomly assigned to receive either 40 grams per day of flax seed or a placebo for three months. After the initial three month therapy, the subjects switched roles, with the placebo group receiving therapy and the initial therapy group receiving a placebo (crossover). There was a 38% decline in the median number of hot flashes when a group was receiving the flax seed. Occurring with the decline in symptoms was an increase in enterdiol, enterlactone and other lignans found in the urine. Other research appearing in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Preview (October 2000;9:1113-1118) also found an increase in urinary lignans when women were supplemented with flax seed. The flax seeds may affect estrogen levels. A study that appeared in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Preview (July 2000;9:719-725) found that supplementation with flax seed increased the urinary excretion of the ratio between 2-hydroxyestrogen and 16 alpha-hydroxyesterone.
A study appearing in Gynecology and Obstetrics Investigation (2007; 64(4): 204-207) looked at the effect vitamin E supplementation had on hot flashes. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 51 female subjects who were given either 400 IU of vitamin E or a placebo for a period of four weeks. They were taken off of the supplement for a week and given it again for another four weeks. The vitamin E supplementation produced statistically significant reduction in the number of hot flashes experienced by the group receiving the therapy.