Naturally Supporting Women’s Hormonal Health

April 2019

By Christine Cheng, R.Ph. and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.

There are many hormones that function as messengers throughout the body. The female hormones, estrogen and progesterone play an important role in a woman’s overall health throughout her life. None may be as striking as when the hormones work together to initiate menstruation or when their levels begin to decline resulting in menopause. There is a lot to discuss due to the complexity of these hormone systems, but we wanted to touch on a few supplements that we have found to be useful in treating symptoms that are more common than many people realize.

The effects of various sex hormones are mediated by their metabolites.  A diet rich in indoles may guide the metabolic pathway towards beneficial metabolites.  Indoles are found in cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.   It has been known for a long time that eating more of these plants brings better health.  Now it is known that the health benefits of these veggies come from the anti-oxidants, vitamins, fibres, and phyto-indoles that they contain.  Estradiol, one of the main female sex hormones is broken down through two main channels: the 2-hydroxy pathway and the 16-hydroxy pathway.  The 2-hydroxy pathway produces beneficial or good metabolites while the 16-hydroxy pathway brings forth “bad” metabolites.  Good metabolites maintain cardio-vascular health, smooth and healthy skin, appropriate secondary sex characters, balanced mental health, whereas the bad metabolites are responsible for obesity, acne, strokes, heart problems, insomnia, depression, hormone dependent fibroids and cancers.   Phyto-indoles help to divert the metabolic pathway towards the beneficial 2-hydroxy pathway and deter the 16-hydroxy pathway thus preventing the formation of detrimental metabolites.  The end benefits include lower risk for cardiovascular diseases, lean body mass, better mood, improved memory, healthier libido, better physical conditioning, stronger bones, slower aging, etc.  To get the most benefit from these indoles, one would need to consume very large quantities of raw veggies every day.  Fortunately, absorbable forms of these indoles have been developed by vitamin manufacturers, and today we can get Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) and Di-indolyl-methane (DIM) as a supplement.  These supplements are virtually free of side effects and suitable for all adults.  Cyto-Matrix™ makes a I3C supplement that contains 200mg making it easy to achieve the 200-400mg daily dose for most indications.

Women entering into menopause report many different symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal symptoms (such as dryness), difficulty sleeping, and mood changes. By far, the most commonly reported symptom is the hot flashes. MENOSMART PLUS® by Lorna Vanderhaeghe Health Solutions contains herbal and nutraceutical ingredients that can effectively remedy hot flashes and night sweats through non-estrogenic mechanisms. ESTROVERA® by Metagenics® contains   a specific extract of Siberian rhubarb that was shown to decrease hot flashes by 83% in clinical trials and also works via non-estrogenic mechanisms.

Come talk to one of our Integrative Health pharmacists about these supplements and others that can help with symptoms related to hormone health. Our pharmacist colleague, Lyle Sunada is a North American Menopause Society certified Hormone Specialist and is available for one-on-one consultation for those who may need more support.

Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-owned and operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore. 

Naturally Supporting Women’s Hormonal Health Estrovera

***All information posted and shared by Cloverdale Pharmasave is offered to provide information and choices regarding nutritional support for various health concerns, none of which is intended to be a treatment protocol for any disease state. The information does not replace seeking professional advice from your physician. Consult your health care practitioner before taking dietary supplements.

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