Study: Natural Menopause Treatment May Ease Depression & Anxiety
Posted Mar 22 2010 12:27pm
If your peri-menopause and menopause symptoms include depression and anxiety, there’s good news! A new medical study on red clover shows relief may be closer than you think! By Colette Bouchez
If you’re one of millions of women doing daily battle with hot flashes , night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause, you may be already turning to one or more herbal remedies to make life easier.
Now a new study shows that one of those remedies – a natural compound known as red clover – may also help boost your mood, alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety by as much as 80 percent.
That’s the conclusion of new research conducted at the General Teaching Hospital in Korneuberg, Austria, where women taking red clover supplements for just 90 days saw dramatic symptom relief.
“Although clinical data regarding phytoestrogens [ a type of weak natural estrogen that comes from plants] and mood disorders is still scarce, the present series determined that red clover derived isoflavones were effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms among post menopausal women,” write the study authors in the paper recently published in the journal “Maturitas.”
Isoflavones are an “umbrella” term covering a number of compounds known as “plant estrogens” or “phytoestrogens”. Among the most potent are believed to be daidzen and genistein, both of which are also found in soy – one reason it has been frequently touted as a way to reduce menopause symptoms.
But as I explain in greater detail in my books “ The Hot Flash Solution “ and “Your Perfectly Pampered Menopause” , these same compounds are found in much greater amounts in red clover. Moreover, while some research has suggested that soy based products may increase the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers in some women ( particularly breast cancer), the same is not true for red clover. Indeed, studies show it does not carry the same risks as some suggest are linked to soy.
More specifically a number of studies have shown that while red clover acts like an estrogen in terms of mediating menopausal symptoms, it does so without increasing breast tissue density or increasing the thickness of the uterine lining - both of which can occur with traditional hormone therapy. Red Clover, Menopause And Depression
Although the “classic” signs of menopause – the ones we always hear about – are common problems like hot flashes and night sweats, for many women equally as troubling are the mood swings, anger, anxiety and depression that can slowly seep into our daily lives in the years following “ the change.”
Certainly, there has been some research suggesting that it is, in fact, the preponderance of physical symptoms, including not only hot flashes and night sweats, but also sleep disturbances that are the real culprits behind the mood changes. And as any woman who is sleep deprived can tell you, a lack of shut eye makes everything seem worse.
That said, other research has strongly suggested that the mood changes of menopause occur independent of the physical symptoms - and certainly this latest study on red clover helps bolster that point of view.
In the new study 109 post menopausal women over age 40 underwent mental status testing and were scored using The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), a system used to measure and quantify depression and anxiety symptoms. The group was then randomly assigned to receive either 80 mg of red clover isoflavones twice daily , or a placebo, for a total of 90 days. Afterwards, the women were again tested and scored for anxiety and depressive symptoms.
The study result: The women taking the red clover experienced a whopping 76 percent reduction in anxiety and a 78 percent reduction in depressive symptoms, compared to only a 21 percent reduction in these symptoms among women taking the placebo. Not All Red Clover Alike
Now if you’re grabbing for your car keys and heading right to health food store to pick up some red clover ... not so fast. What’s important to note is that not all red clover is created equal!
Like soy, it is a legume - but unfortunately it’s not quite as easy to consume in its natural food state. While it is available as a tea, an infusion, and in various forms of "dried leaf products", not all are created equal. That’s because a variety of factors can greatly influence the level of key compounds found in red clover - including the conditions under which the plants are grown, when in their life cycle they are harvested, and the portion of the plant used in making the food product.
For these reasons the most reliable form of red clover may be found in supplements. And here again, you have to be a bit mindful of which one you choose. Key thing to look for : That supplement is “standardized” to contain at least 40mg of four key isoflavones including genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin A.
Also important – that the compounds come directly from the red clover plant with no chemical synthesization.
If you have trouble choosing a brand, it may help to know that the one form of Red Clover used in most of the clinical trials – including research on over 1,000 women worldwide – is Promensil. My independent research has shown it is also the brand most often recommended by physicians who suggest isoflavone supplement use. However, there are other supplements on the market that may be equal in terms of what they can provide. For more independent information on how to choose a red clover supplement, click here.
For more health and beauty information be sure to stop by www.RedDressDiary.com – your source for fabulous women over 40. Or visit www. yourMenopause.com for some specific new information on menopause symptoms and relief.
Copyright by Colette Bouchez 2010 - All Rights Reserved. In addition to US Copyright, the text of this RedDressDiary article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. All formatting and style elements of this page are not available under this license, and Colette Bouchez retains all rights in those elements.