Getting older often comes with some unwanted changes. Entering menopause can bring on nagging symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, bone loss, and wrinkles and fine lines. Luckily, nature is here to help, and there’s one supplement that should be on your radar — red clover.
Red clover is a flowering plant in the legume family native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northwest Africa. The flowers contain high amounts of isoflavones — a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that have a similar molecular makeup to estrogen, the hormone in women’s bodies that declines as we age.
Phytoestrogens like red clover are therefore often used to treat the symptoms of menopause. Specifically, studies have shown that taking a red clover supplement could help with hot flashes, skin aging, bone density loss, and even high cholesterol.
Red Clover for Menopause Symptoms
According to one review of studies, red clover supplementation was found to effectively alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women. In another study, 109 menopausal women were divided into two groups. Group A took an 80 milligram red clover supplement while group B took an identical placebo for a period of 90 days. By the end of the trial, the group taking the red clover supplement saw significant improvements in daily hot flashes and night sweats compared to the placebo group. Just as well, once the women stopped taking the supplement, their symptoms returned, confirming the effectiveness of red clover.
Our skin changes after menopause, too. Declining hormone levels cause us to produce less collagen — the protein responsible for our skins firmness and elasticity. Less collagen unfortunately means more fine lines and wrinkles, but red clover may be able to help. One animal study showed a significant increase in the amount of collagen in subjects given a red clover supplement compared with a control group. The researchers therefore determined that red clover could be an effective treatment for skin aging related to decreases in estrogen levels.
Bone loss is another problem that comes along with menopausal changes. Estrogen is involved in keeping our bones strong and healthy, and when levels decline, our bones can start to become weak and brittle. Luckily, taking red clover could help you fight the issue. One study showed that women who took a supplement of red clover isoflavones lost significantly less bone density than the women who took a placebo.
While high cholesterol isn’t necessarily a menopause symptom, heart health is something we should all be concerned about as we get older, and red clover may help manage it. Several studies have pointed to red clover’s ability to improve heart health, especially for menopausal and postmenopausal women. One in particular was conducted among 40 healthy menopausal women of average age 56. They were divided into two groups: one that took a red clover isoflavone supplement, while the other group did not take the medication. The subjects’ blood was tested at four-month intervals for a one year period. Results showed that the group taking red clover had lower levels of LDL (that’s the bad one) cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels in the blood, while their levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased. The group that did not take the red clover supplement did not experience these benefits.
A few things to note before trying red clover as a supplement. As with any phytoestrogen, there is a small risk of side effects if you take it long term. If you experience headaches, vertigo, hypertension, breast tenderness, or skin rashes, stop using the supplement. Just as well, red clover isn’t recommended for folks with at risk for endometrial cancer, since the disease is caused by having too much estrogen in the body. All this being said, always talk to your doctor before incorporating any new supplement into your routine. Once you’ve gotten the OK, check out this red clover supplement from Nature’s Way (Buy on Amazon, $9.47).
We hope that in the midst of your worst menopause symptoms, this info helps to bring some relief. Nature is truly equipped to help us navigate through this stage of life, and thanks to supplements like red clover, we can gain our health and vitality back.