In my previous blog post, Hot flashes: 5 Tips for Considering OTC Supplements, I provided you with tips for taking OTC supplements to improve your hot flashes. Now, I would like to discuss which supplements to take, the appropriate dosage, and the products in which you can find the supplement. Later this week I’ll talk about two “foods” you can use to lessen the effects of hot flashes as well.
- Black Cohosh: Black Cohosh is very common. It comes in dosages of 20 mg taken in divided dosages twice a day. You can take it either separately as a proprietary supplement like the product Remifemin, or you can get it in an ingredient in other combination products that are out there. Some studies say that Black Cohosh is very effective; other studies say it doesn’t work as well. Try it. It is one of the supplements that is very commonly used and it may work for you.
- i-Cool: Another very popular option for you is called i-Cool, a non-soy proprietary isoflavone. I-Cool is available either by itself or as a combination with Vitamin D. Both of these are taken twice a day and you can find them in most of the stores in the over the counter supplement.
- Estroven: Estroven combines both Black Cohosh and soy with Magnolia Bark, Melatonin, Ginko Biloba and L-theanine, and B Vitamins.
- Vitamin E and Evening Primrose: I personally don’t find that Vitamin E and Evening Primrose (the active compound is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) one of the essential fatty acids) work as effectively as some of the other products, however, it may work for you. Vitamin E is usually taken in dosages of between 100 and 400 mg daily with an upper dose of 1500 milligrams. Evening Primrose is taken in divided dosages over the day for a total of 3000 milligrams a day. There are some people who have benefitted. There’s one study of Evening Primrose that showed an improvement in hot flashes from 11 hot flashes a day to 10 hot flashes a day. All I can say is that it works for some people. However, it’s not at the top of my list of over-the-counter supplements.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a very important vitamin because It is actually a hormone itself. Vitamin D is known to have many different functions in the body such as making your bones strong, reducing the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, and may also effect your mood and muscle strength. Make sure your vitamin D levels are good; you want to get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level drawn to find out. What I have found is that in the women who have low vitamin D levels, once I correct the vitamin D level, it is not infrequent that the hot flashes go away, so it can be very effective for some women.
All of these supplements will work for some women and none of them will work for all. As I have said in my previous post about OTC supplements, the most important thing to remember with supplements is to keep an open mind. Try each supplement for at least 3 weeks before giving up on it, then try another one. Be patient and set ideal expectations for supplements. In most cases, OTC supplements won’t completely alleviate your hot flashes, but they might reduce them enough to have a better quality of life. And remember to ALWAYS talk to you doctor or medical team about anything you add to your health regimen, even OTCs.
Until next time, Dr. Mache Seibel
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