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Dietary Recommendations

Suggestions to Help Reduce Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Fatigue and Mood Swings

Sugar, starch and carbohydrates
To prevent fatigue and mood swings keep your sugar, starch and carbohydrate intake at an even level. You should not go for long periods without eating and you should not eat large amounts of sweet and starchy foods at one time. Four slices of bread or two pieces of cake are examples of too much at one time. If symptoms continue, try eating small frequent meals throughout the day, as well as eliminating concentrated sugars.

Soy products
Soy foods include soy milk, tofu, soybeans, tempeh, and a variety of other products. Soy contains isoflavones that act as a weak estrogen. This may help ease some of the symptoms and side effects of menopause. Soy protein in the form of foods (60 gm/day) has been shown to relieve hot flashes, but the supplement products have not been studied.

Whole grains
There is evidence that the use of whole grains in your diet can help relieve menopausal symptoms. Whole grains are capable of stabilizing blood sugar thereby reducing fatigue and mood swings. They also contain many nutrients that can help with healthy hormonal balance and the regulation of estrogen levels. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat crackers and cereal, whole-wheat pastas, brown rice, wild rice, millet, flax seed, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa and bulgar. Read labels to make sure they say "whole" grain.

Vitamin E
While recommended in the past, research has shown Vitamin E to be no more effective than a placebo in treating hot flashes. There is no information to support its use for anxiety and mood swings.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent cell damage and other changes caused by oxidation. Vitamin C is needed to maintain skin tone and strength, can help decrease the symptoms of fatigue, and assists with the prevention of heart disease. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 60 mg, but many believe there is a need to take higher doses. A recommended dose is up to 500 mg a day. Some studies suggest taking the vitamin in two doses of 250 mg each - one in the morning and one in the evening. Research is being conducted on the benefits of higher doses. One side effect can be diarrhea.

Vitamin B Complex
Many health care providers suggest taking a multivitamin that contains a vitamin B complex. This may improve mood changes, anxiety, stress, and fatigue. The B vitamins also play an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and good liver function. Remember, it is important to check with your health care provider if you are taking other medications, especially tetracyclines, calcium channel blockers, digitalis glycosides and thiazide diuretics.

Vitamin B Dose range:

B1(thiamine): 1.3 mg - 120 mg

B2 (riboflavin): 1.2 mg - 100 mg

B3 (niacin): 50 mg - 1500 mg
(Higher doses of B3 may cause excessive flushing)

B6 (pyridoxine): 1.6 mg - 50 mg

B9 (folic acid): 200 - 800 mcg

B12 (cyanocobalamin): 2.0 mcg - 100 mcg


Black cohosh and red clover appear to provide the best sources of substances that relieve the symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh has been used in Germany for the relief of menopausal symptoms for approximately 40 years. The German Government recommends a maximum use of six months. This recommendation was made many years ago and may not have been supported by newer toxicity studies. Recent research of black cohosh shows it reduces sweating more than hot flashes. Red clover contains plant estrogens that are similar to those found in soy, however, the proportions are not the same. Black cohosh products, such as Remifemin® have been used successfully by many women.

Many other herbal products have been used to relieve the symptoms of menopause. These include dong quai, motherwort, fenugreek, wild yam, vitrex, chaste tree, etc. We cannot recommend any of these products due to a lack of reliable information on either safety or efficacy.

If you are taking any medications, you must check with your health care provider before taking supplements, including vitamins, herbs, etc. Serious or life-threatening side effects could occur.

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