Natural Menopause Relief
There are times when it can feel like menopause is a force that has hijacked your life. This inevitable transition can bring a host of symptoms – sometimes severe, and sometimes not – that need to be addressed in order to live a healthy, vibrant life and keep a positive perspective.
Unfortunately, many of the conventional choices carry the risk of serious consequences, including an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart attack. Fortunately, there is a natural way to fight mood swings, night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms without resorting to risky pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In this Terry Talks Nutrition®, we’ll look at an effective dosage level of concentrated black cohosh that can make a big difference without those risks!
For a long time, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was considered standard conventional treatment. Then, in 2002, a clinical trial known as the Women’s Health Initiative spotted a correlation between combined hormone therapy and the increased risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. As a result of these findings, many women experiencing menopause are looking for a natural alternative that works with the body, and without the risk.
Black Cohosh – The Natural Solution
Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. In the past 50 years, black cohosh has been the focus of clinical research on menopause relief. Black cohosh is an interesting botanical because it appears to work as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). And black cohosh is time-tested: over the course of decades of study and use, it has been proven to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other troubling menopause symptoms.
This is all good news, but I have heard from many women who say that black cohosh didn’t relieve their menopause symptoms at all, or only worked for a little while after they’d passed the 8-week average for the botanical to take full effect.
The Right Black Cohosh
The effectiveness of black cohosh comes down to many things, and foremost among them are concentration, standardization, and dosage levels. Even hundreds of milligrams of black cohosh, with the wrong extraction or concentration, may be completely ineffective. It appears that, in some cases, black cohosh actually provides less benefits as you increase the dosage level. That’s because the herb works on a bell curve. Once you pass the peak of that curve, it’s just not that effective anymore. In fact, clinical studies have found that an effective dose of black cohosh is much less than you might expect – 13 mg daily.
In one of these cases, researchers in a 12-week German clinical study noted that the dosage levels of black cohosh in previous trials had, in the past, been inconsistent, and that the preparations of black cohosh, including milligram amounts and types of extraction, had varied greatly. This is one of the reasons that in both trials and real-world use, black cohosh can seem to have results for some, but not for others.
So what they did instead was test a concentrated black cohosh from Europe at a 13 mg dosage level, which showed the best response in the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), a diagnostic tool that records a participant’s menopause symptoms, including insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, irritability, a “pins and needles” feeling, and so forth, along with their severity. The highest score (that is, the worst compilation of symptoms) is 51.
Overall, the total reduction in KMI was 69 percent for the 13 mg black cohosh group and 7 percent for the placebo group. The researchers concluded that the 13 mg amount was the dose that significantly reduced the symptoms in patients in all stages of menopause.
A Swiss observational study found essentially the same results. The 13 mg dose of black cohosh significantly relieved menopause symptoms and lowered the KMI score.
Reviews of black cohosh research show that the 13 mg dose used in the clinical trials I’ve mentioned is the best option for reducing symptoms. In fact, one review stated that the reason some black cohosh preparations didn’t work was for two reasons: “the dose was too high or they were adulterated with Asian Cimicifuga preparations.”
For More Than Menopause Symptoms
Black cohosh is very well tolerated and may provide some protection against the development of breast cancer cells as well. Again, that’s because of its influence on hormonal balance as a selective estrogen receptor modulator. In a scientific study, black cohosh inhibited breast cancer cells (MCF-7).
The ability of black cohosh to provide menopausal benefits without being estrogenic is important for many reasons. In a year-long clinical study, black cohosh produced no thickening of the walls of the uterus – generally a result of too much estrogen and too little progesterone. This condition, known as endometrial hyperplasia, is not necessarily dangerous on its own, but according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it can lead to uterine cancer.
Additionally, a German scientific study found that black cohosh can slow down the accumulation of abdominal fat, the development of metabolic syndrome and the damage to joints that can be a cause of osteoarthritis – a common concern for many women during and after menopause.
Black cohosh is probably one of the most well-recognized herbs for menopause. I’d bet if you asked people you know – even people who don’t use supplements – to name 5 botanicals they’d find in a health food store, black cohosh would be one of them.
But there’s more to herbal effectiveness than simply knowing its name. It’s important to learn the differences between extraction methods, concentration, standardization, dosage levels and how well it relieves symptoms. If you’re dealing with menopause or perimenopause, and want to discover what calm days and restful nights feel like again, I urge you to try a concentrated 13 mg level of black cohosh. Be sure to use it consistently each day for best results and make sure you take it for a minimum of three months before evaluating its effects.
|I recommend taking 13 mg of concentrated black cohosh daily to relieve the mood swings, night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms associated with menopause.|