Formulas You Feel
On July 9, 2002, the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced that it had stopped a proposed eight and a half year study on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after only five years because of an unexpected 26% increase in breast cancer in study participants.1,2,3 Furthermore, the unexpected negative effects went beyond increased breast cancer to include increased heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and blood clots.
The study, involving 16,000 healthy postmenopausal women, had been designed to evaluate the benefits and risks of combined hormone replacement therapy. The hormone combination used in the study, Prempro, was one of the most commonly used estrogen-progesterone hormone preparations in the United States, a combination of Premarin & Provera. The results of the study disclosed that in addition to its benefits, this hormone combination had the following five risks.1,2,3
Although these increases actually translated into only a few cases per thousand, the release of this information by the NIH has caused millions of women to begin looking for a safe alternative.
What Should A Safe Alternative Do?
A safe alternative should as closely as possible provide the same relief from the major problems of the menopausal and post-menopausal years as hormone replacement therapy, but without the risks associated with the commonly prescribed form of combination HRT used in the study.
Science Has Already Discovered Safe, Nutritional Alternatives
There are no nutritional substitutes for the estrogen lost during and after menopause. Nonetheless, there are thousands of published scientific studies archived in the National Library of Medicine, some dating back over 30 years, that together demonstrate that six vitamins (Vitamins C, D, E, B-6, B-12 and folic acid) and two minerals (calcium and magnesium), supplemented in specific nutritional potency ranges, can help rebalance metabolism enough to compensate for accelerated bone loss and to ensure heart health approximately as effectively as estrogen replacement. Furthermore, these nutrients do this without the dangers associated with the HRT in the prematurely terminated study.
Since 1980 it has been scientifically documented that reduction of hot flashes can be achieved for over half of menopausal and postmenopausal women, with no known side-effects, both by the herb black cohosh and by specific life-style modifications.
Will These Nutritional Alternatives Work For Every Woman?
There is no guarantee that these alternative approaches will work for every woman
any more than there are guarantees that HRT will work for every woman. However, research indicates that a significant number of menopausal and postmenopausal women will experience benefits.
The Nutrients That Work And Their Potencies
Following are details on the benefits of specific nutritional alternatives to HRT, along with references to scientific studies documented in the National Library of Medicine. The results show the potency ranges that are required for each nutrient to achieve its targeted nutritional effect.
Note: Each nutrient potency quoted or statement made that is based on published scientific research is endnoted. These notes indicate a scientific study that confirms that the potency has been effective or that verifies the statement made in the text. The referenced study, with the author and title, is listed in the “References” section at the end of this report.
SuperNutrition’s Menopause Multiple includes a synergistic blend of safe and natural herbs that have been used for thousands of years. The effects of this blend are also verified by scientific research.
In a recent double-blind study of 149 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, black cohosh was reported to be effective at doses as low as 40 mg of extract per day in 70% of the women evaluated.4 Additionally, a review of the effectiveness of black cohosh5 reported that as far back as 1982, research showed that black cohosh helped to reduce hot flashes in as many as 80% of users within one month.6 Furthermore, there has never been a report of black cohosh toxicity. These reports do not mean that black cohosh necessarily stops hot flashes entirely, but they certainly demonstrate that it can reduce them significantly for many women. The Menopause Multiple includes 80 mg of black cohosh extract.
There is little scientific research on herbs to help reduce hot flashes aside from black cohosh and soy. We include black cohosh, but not soy, because of concern about soy-caused allergies as well as some still unanswered questions about soy’s complete safety.
The Menopause Multiple also includes two phytoestrogen-rich herbs, red clover and alfalfa, plus six herbs with small amounts of phytoestrogens which have been used traditionally in herbal practice to help rebalance women’s hormonal systems and reduce hot flashes: avena sativa, Vitex, dong quai, sage, mortherwort and damiana.
Herbs To Support Normal Blood Flow
Since hot flashes involve circulation, the Menopause Multiple Blend also includes herbs known to help relax the blood vessels, help blood flow more easily, increase arterial elasticity and reduce internal stress in general. Gentle Amounts of Herbs
The herbs in the Menopause Multiple, some of which are standardized extracts, are not provided in therapeutic doses, but rather in moderate amounts which act synergistically to help rebalance the imbalanced cellular chemistry involved in hot flashes. However, since this is a new herbal combination, there are not yet statistics that tell just how effective the synergy of this natural gentle blend of herbs is.
Note: The FDA has not reviewed these herbs for this application and they are not meant to be used as drugs.
Science always recommends caution when large numbers of people begin a new nutritional approach. Although hundreds of thousands of women have been using a blend of these herbs for thousands of years, there are no large scientifically-controlled studies that have investigated the herbs’ safety when taken together.
There are, however, some studies looking at phytoestrogens that have found them not to be associated with increased heart attacks and heart disease, 8,9,10 with breast cancer, 11,12,13,14,15 or with uterine endometrial cancer.15,16,17
Warfarin (Coumadin) and Anticoagulants – A Caveat
Red clover, alfalfa and dong quai help blood flow more easily. If you use Warfarin, other blood thinners or anticoagulants, please contact your medical doctor to ensure that you will have no adverse effects if you use this combination of herbs concurrently with your blood-thinning or anticoagulant medication.
Vitamin E – A Small Reduction In Hot Flashes
In addition to the phytoestrogens, the Menopause Multiple Blend contains 800 IU of Vitamin E, a dosage shown to reduce hot flashes by one hot flash per day.7
Scientific research has shown that an extremely effective nutritional method to maintain bone health (thus reducing hip fracture) and even possibly regrow some bone is to take 1200 mg 18-22 to 1700 mg of calcium per day paired with 700 IU or more 18,19,23,24 to 1000 IU or more22 of Vitamin D.
Also, 600 mg of magnesium,25 1000 mg or more of Vitamin C and 57 mg of isoflavone phytoestrogens from red clover extract 26 per day each have been shown to increase bone density.
The Menopause Multiple contains 1500 mg of calcium, 1000 IU of Vitamin D, 600 mg of magnesium, 1500 mg of Vitamin C and 200 mg of red clover extract.
Note: The FDA has not reviewed these nutrients or herbs for this application and they are not meant to be used as drugs.
Note: Researchers from the Netherlands reported that calcium supplementation at doses lower than 500 mg per day is associated with continued bone loss.27
Vitamin E has been shown to reduce HDL(2) cholesterol oxidation by 10 times.28 Supplementing Vitamin C at 1000 mg per day has been shown to nutritionally protect heart health by lowering blood fat oxidation by 19%.29
The Menopause Multiple contains 800 IU of Vitamin E and 1500 mg of Vitamin C.
Studies also show that phytoestrogens support heart health.26,30,31,32 An analysis of the landmark Framingham study stated that “High intake of phytoestrogens in postmenopausal women appears to be associated with a favorable metabolic cardiovascular risk profile.” 33
Homocysteine Levels and Heart Health
Scientific research has also shown that elevated blood homocysteine is a very important independent predictor of impaired cardiovascular function.34 Although science has not yet determined whether or not high homocysteine levels are involved as a symptom or the cause of this effect, it is known that adequate intake of three B-vitamins can reduce elevated homocysteine levels:
Taken together in similar dosage ranges to the above, these three B-vitamins acted synergistically to lower homocysteine levels by 56%,37 9% more than the total result of all three vitamins taken separately.
The Menopause Multiple Blend contains 1000 mcg of folic acid, 1000 mcg of Vitamin B-12, and 200 mg of Vitamin B-6.
Note: The FDA has not reviewed these nutrients or herbs for this application and they are not meant to be used as drugs.
Safety Of The Nutrients Confirmed By The Institute of Medicine
And The Council For Responsible Nutrition
The scientifically-determined vitamin and mineral potencies discussed above in the Menopause Multiple are well below published safety limits.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine states that there have been “no observed adverse effects” ever reported for up to 5000 mg per day of calcium and up to 3800 IU of Vitamin D.38
In addition, the Council for Responsible Nutrition states39 that there are no reports of toxicity for:
SuperNutrition’s Menopause Multiple
A Multivitamin Alternative With Scientifically Proven Potencies
All of the vitamins, minerals, herbs and phytoestrogens mentioned in this report are available separately in natural food stores across the country. However, SuperNutrition’s Menopause Multiple is the only supplement that contains all of them together in the potent ratios confirmed by research to provide the nutritional support necessary to help reduce these major menopausal problems. The Menopause Multiple is totally nutritional and does not carry the health risks of the HRT in the terminated study.
Menopause Multiple is not a substitute for HRT. It works nutritionally, not as a drug. It is an excellent alternative if you decide not to use the commonly prescribed HRT in the study or as a complement to a natural HRT program. Furthermore, the Menopause Multiple, a powerful broad-spectrum menopausal woman’s multivitamin, may prove a beneficial addition to your program if you are using any type of HRT.
A Note About Estrogen
It is important to understand that these nutrients, herbs and phytoestrogens together cannot do what estrogen does. Estrogen is an important hormone that touches and influences many varieties of biochemical reactions in the body. Reducing hot flashes, slowing bone loss and protecting the heart are just three of estrogen’s jobs. When the body no longer has estrogen, many functions are compromised.
Nutrition can only substitute for HRT in a limited way to protect bone health and heart health. It does not increase waning estrogen levels during menopause or make up for the estrogen deficit. Though nutritional supplements support heart and bone health differently, nutrition alone does have enough benefits in those areas to substitute for estrogen replacement therapy.
The Menopause Multiple is a scientifically balanced, nutrient-rich multivitamin with herbs designed to ensure that perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women have full potencies of all of the nutrients and herbs that have been shown to help maintain high energy and optimum health, and which further significantly impact hot flash frequency and intensity.
Safe Simple Scientifically-Proven Techniques
To Help Reduce Hot Flashes
Outlined below are the studies detailing the only four non-nutritional techniques listed in the National Library of Medicine archives that have been shown scientifically to aid the reduction of hot flashes. Also included is a study finding that stress is associated with increased hot flashes.
Six women with postmenopausal hot flashes were taught progressive relaxation techniques for the arms, face, neck, shoulders and whole body along with cue-controlled relaxation and rapid relaxation until they were able to relax within 20 to 30 seconds of recognizing a vasomotor symptom (associated with hot flashes). The success rates in reducing hot flash incidents were: 59% for the first woman, and 61%, 62%, 67%, 89% and 100% for each of the others.40
In another study with four menopausal women using the same general relaxation techniques, hot flash incidents were reduced by 41%, 73%, 76% and 90% respectively.41
Thirty-three menopausal women who were experiencing five or more hot flashes per day were trained by personal instruction and a video tape to elicit the relaxation response through diaphragmatic breathing and breath awareness. Though the frequency of hot flashes did not appreciably diminish, there was a significant reduction in the intensity of the hot flashes.42
Progressive muscle relaxation exercises along with slow deep breathing reduced hot flash incidents about 50%.43
Another study showed significant reductions in hot flashes from slow deep breathing exercises.44
A survey of 1246 women, 52 to 54 years old, found that those who exercised regularly experienced about half the number of hot flashes as the control group who did not exercise.45 Another study found that women who spent about 2 ½ hours per week exercising experienced moderate to severe hot flashes, while women who spent about 3 ½ hours per week exercising experienced no hot flashes.46 Another study did not show any effect of exercise on hot flashes.47
A Swedish study reported that acupuncture decreased hot flashes.48
A study in Canada found that stress increases the frequency of hot flashes.49
The five referenced studies above together indicate that (1) learning progressive relaxation from a professional instructor or teaching yourself to progressively relax (head to toe) until you can relax within 30 seconds, (2) regular sessions of slow deep breathing, (3) 2½ to 3½ hours of exercise divided over the week, (4) perhaps receiving acupuncture, and (5) controlling or reducing stress in your life all may combine to give a significant reduction in the frequency and perhaps the intensity of hot flashes.
Adequate nutritional levels of calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and Vitamin C have been shown for dozens of years to offer a significant number of women a strong enough increase in bone health to resist the rapid bone loss associated with menopause and postmenopause. Adequate levels of Vitamin E have been shown to support heart health by decreasing HDL(2) oxidation rates 10-fold. Adequate levels of Vitamin C have been shown to support heart health by decreasing lipid peroxidation and oxidant loads. Adequate levels of folic acid and Vitamins B-6 and B-12 have been shown to keep homocysteine levels closer to normal. Adequate levels of black cohosh have been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in a significant number of women. Indeed, scientific research has already shown an effective, less costly, and much safer natural alternative to HRT.
We advise you to consult a medical doctor with any medical questions. This paper is provided for educational purposes only and is in no way a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical doctor. It is not meant to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or as a substitute for the advice of your doctor.
Printed November 2005
This report prepared November 2002 • © 2002 SuperNutrition
SuperNutrition • 1925 Brush Street • Oakland, CA 94612 • (800) 262-2116
At 65 years of age, Michael has been studying health and ageing for almost 50 years. After experiencing re-growth and darkening of his own hair, as confirmed by numerous friends, caused by experimentation with specific nutrients, he has also experienced a tremendous reduction in facial wrinkles because of the use of various nutritional supplements, biological peptides, botanicals and a specific whole foods diet. Michael further experienced tremendous improvements in his long-term and short-term memory with nootropics.