By TAP Integrative

Menopause is a time of many complex endocrinological changes that cause, in addition to the cessation of menstruation, a number of uncomfortable symptoms. The physiological, psychological, and sociocultural issues related to menopause can result in a decreased quality of life for the women experiencing them.

Among the physical changes associated with menopause, some of the most common symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, osteoporosis and sexual dysfunction. Psychological challenges can include anxiety, depression and insomnia. Hormonal changes during menopause can result in low libido and reduced sexual activity.

The conventional medical approach to the symptoms of menopause has, for decades, been to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, HRT is associated with a number of serious side effects, including increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

As an alternative, several plant-derived compounds that have estrogenic effects—including soy isoflavones, Korean red ginseng and red clover—have been researched for use in management of menopausal symptoms. But these also have shortcomings. Research regarding efficacy is mixed, and clinical studies have reported some side effects associated with the use of these phytoestrogenic botanicals. That has led researchers to look for novel alternative treatments for menopause symptoms.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2016 in the journal Phytotherapy Research, 88 women with moderate to severe postmenopausal discomforts who reported poor quality of life were assigned to receive either 1,000 mg/day of a standardized fenugreek extract (FenuSMART™; A proprietary hydroethanolic extract of fenugreek seed husks where 1 kg is equivalent to 18kg of dried fenugreek seeds) or placebo for 90 days. Researchers looked at changes in plasma estrogens and postmenopausal discomforts.

Those in the treatment group experienced a significant 120% increase in plasma estradiol compared to a less than 5% increase in the placebo group. In addition, the treatment group had improvements in quality of life and various measures of postmenopausal discomfort, including frequency of hot flashes. In the fenugreek group, 47.8% experienced a reduction of hot flashes from three – five times daily to one – two times daily, and 32% of the subjects in the extract group reported no hot flashes after supplementation (p<0.001). The extract also appeared to be safe and well-tolerated.

Results are preliminary, but they suggest that this fenugreek extract may be helpful in reducing some of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.


Reference

Shamshad Begum S, Jayalakshmi HK, Vidyavathi HG, et al. A novel extract of fenugreek husk (FenuSMART™) alleviates postmenopausal symptoms and helps to establish the hormonal balance: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res. 2016 Jul 13. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5680. [Epub ahead of print].

 


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease