A woman’s nutritional needs ebb and flow throughout her life, and this certainly remains true during menopause. Vitamins and other supplements can help ensure the needs of your changing body are being met, and they also offer gentle and effective support for addressing some menopause symptoms.
So, what are the best vitamins for menopause? How do you choose the right menopause supplements for hot flashes, weight gain, anxiety and other symptoms? Here’s an in-depth guide to vitamins you should consider during menopause.
Vitamins and Other Supplements for Menopause
Vitamins, minerals and other supplements can serve many important functions, no matter which stage of the menopause journey you’re in. From perimenopause to post-menopause, these nutrients can help fill in gaps where you may be deficient, while helping to naturally soothe some menopause symptoms.
Multi Vitamins for Menopause
A healthy diet is always the best source of vitamins and minerals, but even the healthiest eaters have nutritional gaps. A good multi vitamin acts as a nutritional safety net during menopause, providing you with essential vitamins and minerals you might not be getting enough of through food.
With so many multi vitamins on the market, how do you know which is best? Some of the most important nutrients to look for are:
- B vitamins, which are necessary for healthy energy production and metabolism.
- Vitamin C, which promotes a strong immune system and antioxidant protection of cells.
- Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, which work together to support bone and muscle health.
Once you’ve found a multi vitamin that has the nutrients you need, you’ll want to make sure it’s free of stuff you don’t need, like artificial colors and sweeteners as well as genetically-modified organisms (non-GMO).
Size matters, too. Because they’re packed with so many nutrients, some multi vitamins can be large and hard to choke down, so choose one that’s easy to swallow.
Vitamin B Complex for Menopause
You may want to consider adding in extra vitamin B for menopause symptoms. Not only are B vitamins responsible for full-body energy, they also can support healthy brain function.
Multiple studies have also found an association between vitamin B deficiency and cognitive decline during menopause.1 Specifically, vitamins like B12 can help to support brain function and may help slow age-related cognitive decline.
Omega-3 Fish Oil for Menopause
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil help maintain a healthy heart and brain. Omega-3s have been shown to lower triglycerides, which may in turn lower the risk of heart disease for menopausal women with elevated triglyceride levels.2
High purity omega-3s can also reduce inflammation, helping to ease menopause arthritis pain, and potentially improving mood.3 When looking for a fish oil supplement, consider choosing one that contains a highly purified and easy-to-absorb form of omega-3s.
Probiotics for Menopause
Your gut is home to a unique community of microorganisms known as your microbiome. Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, help keep your microbiome balanced, promoting healthy digestive and immune function. Maintaining smooth and regular digestion may be particularly helpful for women experiencing menopause symptoms like bloating, gas and constipation.
Menopause Supplements for Hot Flashes
Ask any woman what her least favorite menopause symptom is, and she’ll probably mention hot flashes. Whether they’re waking you up at night or causing you embarrassment in the middle of a work day, hot flashes can really affect your quality of life. Luckily, supplements may help you naturally beat the heat.
Magnesium for Hot Flashes
Magnesium plays a critical role in a wide variety of bodily functions, but many women aren’t getting enough of this essential mineral from food. Magnesium supplements can help prevent deficiency and have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes.4
Since magnesium isn’t readily absorbed by the body, look for a magnesium complex that contains multiple sources for increased bioavailability.
Vitamin D for Hot Flashes
Vitamin D is sometimes called “the sunshine vitamin” because your body needs sunlight to produce it. This means if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun (or you dutifully wear sunscreen), you may be D-deficient.
Vitamin D is also typically thought of as a bone health supplement, but don’t undervalue its role in supporting a healthy immune system as well. It can be tough to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, since it is usually found only in supplemented products like milk or cereal, rather than naturally occurring food sources.
Low vitamin D is associated with hot flashes in postmenopausal women,5 so supplementation may help you get your levels up — and your hot flashes down.
Vitamin E for Hot Flashes
This fat-soluble vitamin is thought to act as an antioxidant in the body. Research indicates supplementing with vitamin E may slightly reduce the number of hot flashes experienced during menopause.6 Nuts like almonds and peanuts, as well as red peppers and pumpkin are all good, natural sources of vitamin E.
Menopause Supplements for Weight Gain
Do you find yourself gaining weight during menopause even though your diet and exercise routine haven’t changed? You’re not the only one. Hormonal changes, along with age-related slowing of metabolism, leave many menopausal women struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Vitamins and supplements may help to provide support.
Vitamins for Menopause Weight Gain
Just as at any other time during your life, maintaining a healthy weight during menopause can largely be accomplished through diet. Eating a plant-based diet that includes a variety of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables is key to fueling your body without weighing it down.
As mentioned, a multi vitamin can also be helpful, because it can help to plug any nutritional holes in your diet and provides you with energy to stay active.
Black Cohosh for Menopause Weight Gain
Black cohosh is a plant native to North America with a long history of traditional use for supporting women’s health. It functions as a phytoestrogen, meaning it contains compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.
Because weight gain during menopause is partly due to decreased estrogen, phytoestrogenic black cohosh may prevent menopausal weight gain by helping to balance hormone levels.7
The popularity of black cohosh for menopause symptoms has led to the overharvesting of the plant in some states, so it’s a good idea to try and purchase yours from a reputable source that cares about sustainability.
Menopause Supplements for Mood Swings
While physical symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats get a lot of attention, the toll menopause takes on a woman’s emotions and mental health isn’t always discussed as openly as it should be. Symptoms like mood swings or increased anxiety and sadness may seem to come out of nowhere for women as they approach menopause. Mood swings may also be exacerbated in women who already have them.
If you’re feeling more anxious, you may be lacking vitamin B. Science suggests supplementing with a quality vitamin B complex may provide mood support for women experiencing anxiety.8
Vitamin C, too, has been found to relieve anxiety — researchers believe this antioxidant’s ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells may have a calming effect.9 Antioxidants like vitamin C as well as vitamin E and vitamin A may also provide mood support for women with depressive moods. 10
And, though not a vitamin, fish oil or high purity omega-3s is another supplement that may help to provide emotional balance to women during menopause. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the polyunsaturated fats responsible for the majority of the brain and mental health benefits associated with taking this supplement.11
Any time you consider trying a new vitamin or other dietary supplement, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first, to make sure it’s appropriate for your unique health situation. And since some supplements interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, it may be a good idea to check in with your pharmacist as well.
Natural Support for Menopause Symptoms
No matter which menopause symptoms you’re dealing with, you don’t necessarily have to turn to pharmaceuticals to find relief. You may find vitamins, minerals and other supplements to be powerful allies on your personal menopause journey.
- Milart P, Woźniakowska E, Wrona W. Selected vitamins and quality of life in menopausal women. Prz Menopauzalny. 2018;17(4):175-179. doi:10.5114/pm.2018.81742
- Weber P, Raederstorff D. Triglyceride-lowering effect of omega-3 LC-polyunsaturated fatty acids--a review. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2000;10(1):28-37.
- Kiefer D, Pantuso T. Omega-3 fatty acids: An update emphasizing clinical use. Agro Food Ind Hi Tech. 2012;23(4):10-13.
- Park H, Parker GL, Boardman CH, Morris MM, Smith TJ. A pilot phase II trial of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes in breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer. 2011;19(6):859-863. doi:10.1007/s00520-011-1099-7
- Arslanca T, Korkmaz H, Arslanca SB, Pehlivanoglu B, Celikel Ö. The Relationship between Vitamin D and Vasomotor Symptoms During the Postmenopausal Period. Clin Lab. 2020;66(7):10.7754/Clin.Lab.2019.191116. doi:10.7754/Clin.Lab.2019.19111
- Johnson A, Roberts L, Elkins G. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Menopause. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X19829380. doi:10.1177/2515690X19829380
- Martin BR. Complementary Medicine Therapies That May Assist With Weight Loss: A Narrative Review. J Chiropr Med. 2019;18(2):115-126. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2018.10.004
- Kubala, Jillian MS, RD. B-Complex Vitamins: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-complex#_noHeaderPrefixedContent. Healthline 2018
- de Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015;18(1):11-18. doi:10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18
- Scott, Elizabeth, MS. Vitamins for Stress Relief. https://www.verywellmind.com/vitamins-for-stress-relief-3145074. VeryWellMind 2020
- Pearson, Keith PhD, RD. How Omega-3 Fish Oil Affects Your Brain and Mental Health https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-fish-oil-for-brain-health. Healthline 2017