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Top 5 Supplements for Women Postmenopause

by JJ Virgin on June 27, 2024

Postmenopause brings unique challenges that can impact your health, happiness, and quality of life. This life stage typically starts around age 51. 

While other hormone shifts can occur during postmenopause, declining estrogen has the most significant impact. Estrogen is essential for regulating your menstrual cycle and making sure your body functions properly. It helps maintain bone density, keeps cholesterol levels in check, and more. However, when estrogen levels drop, you may start experiencing symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and changes in bone density. These can indicate that your body is no longer producing enough estrogen.1, 2

These changes can increase the risk of osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weak and brittle) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle strength and mass). Hormonal changes also elevate the risk of heart disease, dementia, and weight gain around the abdomen.3

The good news is that you can learn to manage these obstacles effectively. An eat-protein-first meal approach and resistance training provide a powerful combo to maintain muscle strength, support bone density, reduce disease risk, and age powerfully.4, 5 A few specific supplements can complement these efforts, promoting vitality and overall well-being during this phase of life. 

The Top 5 Supplements for Women Postmenopause

1. Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, forming a significant portion of your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Often referred to as the “glue” that holds everything together, collagen provides strength and structure to various tissues. Its multitasking abilities keep your skin supple, support joint health, and strengthen your hair and nails.6

Collagen production decreases by about 1% each year after age 20.7 This decline contributes to signs of aging that become more pronounced during postmenopause, such as wrinkles, joint stiffness, and reduced skin elasticity.8

A high-quality collagen peptide supplement, which breaks down this protein into easily digestible amino-acid chains, can help manage these issues.9 Benefits include:

  • Skin health: Postmenopausal women experience a significant decrease in estrogen levels, which accelerates collagen loss, leading to drier, less elastic skin and more pronounced wrinkles. Collagen peptides can help mitigate these effects by supporting elasticity, hydration, and resilience to harmful exposure, such as ultraviolet (UV) light.10
  • Bone health: Collagen supplementation helps maintain bone density, which is crucial for bone strength and reducing the risk of fractures and conditions like osteoporosis. It also supports joint health and cartilage integrity.11
  • Mood: Hormonal changes during perimenopause can significantly impact mood and emotional well-being. Collagen supplements provide essential amino acids that help produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which regulate mood.12 
  • Muscle mass: Maintaining muscle mass is crucial for postmenopausal women. Collagen preserves muscle mass by providing essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth.13
  • Heart health: Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of heart disease due to lower estrogen levels. Collagen peptides help maintain the structure and health of your arteries, reducing risk factors associated with heart disease, including arterial stiffness.14
  • Hair and nail growth: Postmenopausal women often experience hair thinning and brittle nails due to hormonal changes. Collagen strengthens your nails, reducing brittleness. It can also support thicker, healthier hair growth.15
  • Gut health: Estrogen plays a role in maintaining the lining of your digestive tract as well as a diverse range of good gut bacteria. Lower estrogen levels can slow digestion and upset the balance of healthy bacteria. Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your gut wall, helping you better absorb nutrients and keep out harmful substances.16

2. Fish Oil

Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, provides numerous benefits for postmenopausal women. Omega-3s can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering triglycerides, normalizing blood pressure, preventing arterial plaque formation, and enhancing cholesterol levels by increasing your HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol)17

Omega-3 fatty acids also offer extensive anti-inflammatory support. Chronic inflammation is a common issue postmenopause due to hormonal changes and age-related factors. This persistent, low-grade inflammation can contribute to various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and metabolic disorders.18 Omega-3s can help manage chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and can alleviate joint pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis.19

Additionally, omega-3s support bone density, counteracting bone loss caused by lower estrogen levels and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.20 They also improve skin health by moisturizing, reducing acne, and offering UV protection.21

DHA, a type of omega-3, can benefit brain health by enhancing mental performance and protecting against mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.22 It can also help prevent macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome, which can impact eye health.23

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week.24 However, even if you’re regularly eating fish, you may not be getting enough omega-3s in your diet. A supplement can help. 

Look for a quality fish oil that provides 1g of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in every softgel, like Omega Plus, which also contains vitamin E and the enzyme lipase to support digestion and absorption. Omega Plus comes in triglyceride form, as it occurs naturally in fish and other seafood. Many mass-market fish oil supplements are in the synthetic ethyl ester form, which is less stable and less easily absorbed by the body than the triglyceride form. Research shows the triglyceride form of fish oil may be more effective in raising omega-3 fatty acids in the blood compared to ethyl ester.25

3. Vitamins D and K 

Vitamins D and K are best taken together because they work synergistically to provide several benefits for postmenopausal women. One is optimizing calcium absorption, a mineral you need for strong bones. Vitamin D helps your gut absorb calcium, while vitamin K directs this calcium to strengthen bones.26, 27 Together, they enhance bone density.

Vitamin D also helps regulate blood pressure and support immune function.28 Meanwhile, Vitamin K maintains the strength and integrity of your heart and blood vessels.29 Both vitamins possess anti-inflammatory properties, easing joint pain and stiffness that can be common during menopause.30

Combining higher doses of vitamins D and K into one easy-to-take softgel like Vitamin D Plus provides optimal amounts of each nutrient while enhancing its effectiveness. They work together to improve bone calcium levels, decrease your risk of fractures, and lower your chance of heart disease.

4. Magnesium

According to Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of the groundbreaking book The Magnesium Miracle, magnesium is responsible for up to 800 enzymatic reactions throughout your body, playing a crucial role in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.30 Optimal magnesium levels can provide numerous benefits for postmenopausal women: 

  • Bone health: Magnesium helps maintain bone density by influencing the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the cells responsible for building and breaking down bone tissue.31 Additionally, magnesium enhances calcium absorption.32
  • Heart health: Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and maintain a normal heart rhythm, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.33
  • Muscle function: Magnesium is vital for muscle function, helping muscles contract and relax properly. This prevents cramps and supports strength and movement so you can work out and build muscle more comfortably.34
  • Stress management: By managing mood-regulating receptors, magnesium improves your brain’s stress responses. Optimal levels can help manage anxiety, depression, and mood swings that may occur with postmenopause.35
  • Sleep quality: Magnesium enhances sleep quality by calming your nervous system and helping you relax.36
  • Insulin sensitivity: Postmenopause increases your risk of insulin resistance, a condition where cells become less responsive to insulin.37 Magnesium helps regulate blood-sugar levels and support insulin sensitivity, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic issues.38
  • Hormone balance: Magnesium helps make and manage hormones involved in sleep, stress response, and metabolism, indirectly contributing to overall hormone balance.39

Not all magnesium supplements are equal. Magnesium chelate (the form we use in Magnesium Body Calm), which binds this mineral to amino acids, absorbs better, ensuring you utilize more of the mineral. It’s also gentler on the stomach, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort associated with other forms of magnesium. 

5. Creatine

Creatine, a compound produced naturally by the body and found in some foods, helps produce energy within your cells. By boosting muscle energy levels, creatine enhances strength, power, and endurance during physical activity.40 

As estrogen levels drop during menopause, muscle loss can occur. Supplementing with micronized creatine powder can counter these effects by increasing muscle mass and strength.41 

Additionally, creatine supports bone health, particularly when combined with resistance training. Creatine can improve bone density and protect against osteoporosis.42

Creatine’s mental benefits are every bit as impressive. This nutrient enhances brain energy and improves cognitive function and mood stability.43 This support can be valuable during postmenopause, which for many women involves mood and mental changes.

For beginners, a good starting point for creatine is around 0.06 grams per kilogram (or about 0.0272 grams per pound) of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that’s about 4 grams of creatine daily.

Consistency matters. It takes roughly a month to saturate your tissues with creatine thoroughly, so you must take it daily. You can take the recommended amount (about 5 grams) daily for a month or 5 grams four times a day for five consecutive days. After that loading phase, you’ll switch to a maintenance dose of about 3-5 grams daily, depending on your size.

If you’re sensitive to supplements, have digestive issues, or experience fluid retention, start with a lower dose (around 1 gram) and gradually increase to your full dose over one to two weeks. Once you reach your full dose, it will take about four weeks to saturate your tissues. After achieving saturation, the timing of your supplementation becomes less important, but taking creatine before your workouts can be beneficial as you build up your stores​.

Bonus: The Magic Macronutrient for Managing Postmenopause

Optimal protein provides many benefits during postmenopause. It supports muscle maintenance and repair, helping to counteract age-related muscle loss and maintain strength and function. Protein provides the necessary building blocks to support bone density, reducing your risk of osteoporosis. Hormone balance, a strong metabolism, blood-sugar balance, and a healthy weight demand optimal protein intake.44, 45 

Aim for 30-50g of protein at every meal to get those benefits. My Protein Cheat Sheet provides an at-a-glance guide to building a meal if you need 30, 40, 50, or even 60 grams of protein. 

Download your FREE Protein Cheat Sheet here.

References:

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern.