Menopause supplements: The best menopause vitamins for women

Menopause supplements: The best menopause vitamins for women

Irritability, anxiety, mood swings… our hormones have a lot to answer for. When they’re all working together in harmony you barely notice them. But in the years leading up to the menopause, fluctuating levels of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone can not only play havoc with your emotions, they can also affect the quality of your life.

While not everyone experiences problems, common symptoms include night sweats, hot flushes, insomnia and joint pain[1]. If you’re suffering, your doctor may suggest menopause medication such as HRT to help. But could filling your diet (or your supplement shelves) with the best vitamins for menopause help to ease your symptoms without a prescription?

It may surprise you to learn that the nutrients we eat every day have been shown to affect both the timing of the menopause[2]. and how severely you may be affected by it[3].

So what vitamins are good for menopause? And what are the best vitamins for perimenopause? Let’s delve into the details of this fascinating life stage to find out.

What is menopause?

Menopause is the stage of life when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels. Affecting everyone who has periods, menopause can happen naturally (usually between the ages of 45 and 55), for reasons such as chemotherapy, surgery to remove the ovaries or the uterus, or for a genetic reason. You reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months. 

Natural menopause occurs when the ovaries’ supply of eggs, known as the ovarian reserve, as you get older, slow down the reproductive system.

What are the three stages of menopause?

The menopause can be divided into three stages: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.

Perimenopause or “menopause transition”

Lasting from a few months to 10 years, perimenopause is the time leading up to a natural menopause. Typically occurring between the ages of 35 and 55, a quarter of women are thought to be perimenopausal by the age of 40[4].

It happens because of a depletion in the number of eggs in the ovarian reserve. Women are born with around two million oocytes (immature eggs), but by puberty this has reduced to roughly 400,000 and in the run-up to the menopause (the period known as the perimenopause), there may be just 1,000 left[5].

Having fewer eggs available leads to irregular ovulation during the perimenopause, before finally stopping altogether[6]. This irregular ovulation can cause levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone to fluctuate.

But because there are sex hormone receptors in almost every tissue and organ in the body[7]these fluctuating levels can affect us anywhere, from our bones and skin to our joints and muscles. Hormone fluctuations can also affect the part of the brain that regulates body temperature, causing vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats[8].

Other common symptoms of the perimenopause include vaginal dryness, insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, weight gain, low mood and urinary tract infections.


You are officially said to be “in menopause” when you mark one year since your last menstrual period. Some symptoms, such as night sweats, may ease but others, such as joint pain and vaginal dryness, can carry on after your periods stop.

At menopause the ovaries are no longer releasing eggs, but that doesn’t make them redundant. While they may not make the same amounts of oestrogen or progesterone as they did during your reproductive years, ovaries have been demonstrated to produce both testosterone and androstenedione, androgens that are converted to estrogens[9]. In fact after menopause, our ovaries are responsible for producing 50% of our androgens, and continue making testosterone for up to 20 years[10].

This important life stage marks the next phase of a woman’s life. Many cultures around the world celebrate menopause as a time of renewal, transformation and improved social status - even spiritual awakening[11]. Interestingly, women living in cultures with a more positive attitude towards menopause and ageing report fewer and less severe menopausal symptoms[12].


In postmenopause, symptoms of menopause may have eased or stopped entirely, but some women may continue to have symptoms for longer[13]. 

A time of greater nutritional need, the change in your body's hormones is a sign to keep looking after your health and wellbeing. Taking post menopause supplements that include calcium, vitamin D and B-vitamins is a key way of preventing deficiencies. The American Heart Association states that 40% of a woman’s life is spent in perimenopause or postmenopause - a considerable amount of time to prepare and care for[14].

Common Signs of Menopause

There are 48 known symptoms in perimenopause and menopause[15]. These include the symptoms we’ve listed below.

But while the list may sound scary, it’s worth pointing out that many women experience only mild symptoms. According to a survey by the British Menopause Society, 50% of women aged 45 to 55 who have gone through the menopause in the last ten years have not had to seek help from a healthcare provider[16].

  • Hot Flashes
  • Night sweats and/or cold flashes
  • Vaginal dryness that causes discomfort during sex
  • Urinary urgency (a pressing need to pee more frequently)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings or mild depression)
  • Dry skin, dry eyes or dry mouth
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular periods or periods that are heavier or lighter than usual
  • Racing heart (palpitations)
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory lapses (often temporary)
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • The best vitamins for menopause

    A fascinating four-year study on menopause vitamins followed 14,000 women between the ages of 40 and 65. Blood serum levels of different nutrients were analysed - and the results were astonishing. Higher intakes of vitamin B6 were found to delay the menopause by seven months per milligram, while zinc delayed it by three and a half months per milligram[17].

    The women in the study also kept food diaries, and researchers discovered that a daily portion of oily fish, rich in Omega 3, delayed the age of natural menopause by three years. This is important when you consider that a later age at menopause is associated with greater longevity[18], lower risk of heart disease[19], osteoporosis[20] and stroke[21].

    Another study of over 17,000 women going through the menopause found those eating more vegetables and fruit had a 19% reduction in their hot flushes compared to the control group[22].

    It’s clear that choosing the right foods and supplements can provide some much-needed menopause support. But which nutrients should a good menopause diet really consist of – and how do they work to reduce your symptoms? The best perimenopause supplements and diets should include the following nutrients.

    B complex vitamins

    The vitamins that make up the B-complex play a key role in maintaining a positive mood and reducing feelings of stress while your hormones are changing[23]. The B-group can also help you produce energy from the food you eat, making them the ideal vitamins for menopause fatigue, anxiety, and lethargy. 

    As oestrogen levels fall, there is a researched link between an increase in the inflammatory marker, homocysteine[24], a marker identified with cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia. The B-complex vitamins help to reduce homocysteine.

    Vitamin B6

    Oestrogen and serotonin are inextricably linked[25]. As oestrogen levels fluctuate during the perimenopause, so do your serotonin levels, making you vulnerable to mood swings or even depression[26]. But B6 has been shown to help[27], and for good reason. Your body needs vitamin B6 as a co-factor to make mood-soothing serotonin in the first place[28] making it one of your essential vitamins for perimenopause.

    Vitamin B9

    Otherwise known as folic acid, supplementing with vitamin B9 has been shown to help with both the severity and duration of hot flushes[29]. In one study, 46 healthy menopausal women who suffered from vasomotor symptoms were given 5mg of folic acid each day. After the trial period, there was a 65% improvement in hot flush severity, compared to the control group[30].

    Vitamin B12

    Low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to cognitive decline in post menopausal women[31], but it’s also very important when it comes to maintaining your bone mineral density as you age[32]. As women going through the menopause are susceptible to getting weaker bones and even conditions like osteoarthritis, taking in extra B12 through daily multivitamin supplements is often recommended.

    Where to find B-complex vitamins

    B-vitamins are found in a wide range of foods, from meat to green leafy vegetables. But despite their important benefits, research has shown that many menopausal women are not getting enough from their diet[33].

    This could be because they’re not eating enough foods containing B-vitamins, or because they’re not able to absorb it properly due to poor gut health or alcohol use[34]. Vitamin B12 is particularly difficult to obtain through your diet if you don’t eat meat. A daily supplement can help, and the best multivitamin for menopause should include B-group vitamins.

    Vitamin E

    Although more well-known as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, research has shown that vitamin E can cool hot flushes, too. A 2007 study found that menopausal women taking 400mcg of vitamin E everyday for four weeks had fewer hot flushes and that those flushes were less severe[35].

    Vitamin E may also be useful if you suffer from dry skin during the menopause, as it can help the dermis produce more natural oils (sebum)[36]. Used topically, vitamin E has also been shown to improve vaginal dryness and atrophy[37].

    Where to find vitamin E:

    You’ll find vitamin E in avocados, olive oil, seeds, nuts and oily fish.

    Vitamin C

    While vitamin C is needed for growth and repair throughout the course of our life, our need for it only increases during the menopause.

    According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, levels of collagen decline by 30% within the first five years of the menopause[38], something that’s been implicated in rapid bone loss, vaginal thinning and ageing of the skin. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen synthesis and can help protect your skin, joints and bones[39].

    Where to find vitamin C:

    Vitamin C is abundant in fruits and vegetables.

    Vitamin D

    Oestrogen helps to protect our bones, so declining levels of the sex hormone during the menopause can increase the rate at which bone tissue breaks down[40]. Vitamin D is important for warding off the bone disease osteoporosis as it helps our intestines to absorb calcium[41]. In fact, increasing levels of vitamin D deficiency seen in the West in recent years has been linked to rising cases of osteoporosis[42].

    Where to find vitamin D:

    Made in the skin during exposure to sunlight, you can also find vitamin D in cheese, fatty fish and egg yolks. Current UK guidelines say that everyone (including newborns, pregnant, and breastfeeding women) should also consider taking a daily supplement of 400iu vitamin D, at least throughout the autumn and winter months[43].

    However, many experts working in the field believe this is far too low to reach blood levels linked to better health outcomes. Based on current research, it’s believed that consuming 1,000 to 4,000iu[44] of vitamin D daily is the only way for most people to achieve healthy blood levels linked to lower risks of osteoporosis[45].

    Taking just one Inessa Advanced Multivitamin each day will provide you with a clinical 50mcg dose of bone-strengthening vitamin D, which equates to 2,000iu as well as providing all the vitamins and menopause supplements mentioned above in therapeutic doses.

    Natural menopause supplements & minerals

    Apart from vitamins and a healthy diet, is there anything else you could be taking to ease your symptoms naturally and improve the way you feel? Here’s why these menopause minerals and essential fatty acids all deserve their rightful place on your shelves.


    You need calcium to maintain bone mass, and prevent and treat osteoporosis. But at menopause, our bodies are less able to retain calcium from dietary sources[46]. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, brazil nuts, almonds, and green leafy vegetables.


    A mineral that is crucial for energy, stress hormone production and sleep, it is often described as nature’s Metformin when it comes to managing blood glucose levels[47]. With poorly managed blood glucose levels implicated in weight gain[48], magnesium is possibly one of the best menopause supplements for weight loss  

    A 2021 study of women of menopausal age revealed that all had insufficient dietary intakes of magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D and E, which were relieved with supplementation[49].

    Good sources of magnesium include watercress, broccoli, parsley, leeks, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pulses, beans, lentils, brown rice, peaches, bananas, dates avocados, raisins and sea vegetables.

    Omega 3

    An increased risk of metabolic syndrome appears at menopause, particularly postmenopause. A 2015 study showed that a dietary switch to a Mediterranean diet, alongside supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids, improved both insulin resistance and inflammatory markers[50].

    A high-strength Omega 3 fish oil is also known to be one of the best supplements for menopause joint pain.

    As oestrogen levels lower, a major menopausal symptom can be painful joints, although the reasons for this are still unclear[51]. The EPA and DHA in Omega 3 help to ease the pain thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. It works much the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with several studies showing Omega 3 can be as effective as ibuprofen when it comes to treating joint pain[52].

    Good sources of Omega 3 include oily fish like salmon, kippers, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, avocados, nuts and seeds. However, getting enough Omega 3 each day through diet alone can be difficult, either because you don’t like the taste of fish or due to fears of high toxin levels. For that reason it’s always a good idea to take a high-strength fish oil supplement as part of your menopause diet plan.


    Although you only need tiny amounts of this trace metal in your diet, it’s a true essential when you’re going through the menopause. Our body relies on zinc for growth, maintenance and to create and balance our hormones. Increasing levels of zinc has also been shown to improve mood[53].

    Herbal remedies for menopause

    For centuries, women have sought relief from their symptoms in natural menopause supplements. The best menopause supplements use herbs known as adaptogens because of the way they can help balance the hormones of your body[54]. If you’re already taking HRT, always ask your GP’s advice before taking any herbal remedies or supplements for menopause.

    Agnus castus

    One of the most important herbal remedies for the menopause, agnus castus works as an adaptogen to balance your hormones. It appears to normalise the function of the pituitary gland[55], which controls and regulates the hormones in the body.


    Although recent medical trials have proved inconclusive, the valerian root has been used for thousands of years to improve insomnia and sleep quality[56]. It has also been successfully used to treat vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes[57].


    Part of the mint family, sage is used to relieve several menopausal symptoms, including night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings. A 2011 study found it reduced the severity of hot flushes in a group of perimenopausal women by 64% within eight weeks[58]. If you don’t fancy adding the herb to your food, it’s also available in the form of sage tablets for menopause.

    Menopause Vitamin & Supplement FAQs

    What vitamins do you lack during menopause?

    Menopause is a time of greater nutritional need, something which could lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The top three nutritional deficiencies during menopause are thought to be vitamin D, calcium and B-vitamins[59]. 

    Taking just one of our award-winning Inessa Multivitamin each day will provide you with a clinical dose of vitamin D and a full spectrum of B-vitamins. It also contains 100mg of CoQ10, to help support your heart health and energy levels and vitamin K and other minerals which help support bone health. Combined with our highly bioavailable Calcium & Magnesium, this dynamic duo makes one of the best menopause supplements UK wide, giving you everything you need to look after your health during your transition.

    Do any supplements work for menopause?

    Every woman is different. And, with 48 symptoms that can appear in any number of combinations, every menopause transition is unique, too. Because of this, it becomes almost impossible to run a study on the benefits of supplementation specifically for menopause symptoms. 

    However, certain conditions associated with the menopause do have individual studies that suggest improvements after supplementation. These include cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, outcomes of which can all be improved by supplements such as vitamin D[60].and calcium[61].

    What are the best supplements to take with HRT?

    According to the NHS[62], it's important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting to take any herbal remedies alongside your HRT. Some, such as St John’s Wort, may stop HRT tablets and capsules from working as well (but does not affect patches). 

    However it is important to keep taking a good multinutrient alongside your HRT, such as Inessa’s Advanced Multivitamin. One of the best perimenopause supplements in the UK, it contains clinical doses of essential vitamins and minerals, such as zinc[63], iodine[64], and vitamin C[65], all of which may be depleted by taking oestrogen-containing medications. 

    What are the best supplements for menopause UK?

    Developed and made in the UK to strict EU guidelines, Inessa’s own award-winning collection contains the best vitamins for menopause UK wide. Here’s how they can help smooth and support you on your own transition.

    Inessa Advanced Multivitamin - ideal to support hormonal balance and synthesis, energy, cardiovascular health and mood. With vitamins D and K for healthy bones, B-complex for and CoQ10 for energy metabolism and chromium and inositol for blood sugar regulation, it doesn’t contain iron, making it one of the best supplements for menopause UK once menses has ceased.

    Inessa Advanced Omega 3 - contains 840mg of both EPA and DHA in one single capsule, to support brain, heart and mental health, care for joints and keep skin hydrated. 

    Inessa Calcium & Magnesium - used alongside our Advanced Multivitamin it can help support healthy bones. Magnesium also provides all important energy metabolsm, stress management and blood glucose regulation.

    How can I boost my menopause naturally?

    You can take a tip from how different cultures approach the menopause worldwide. For example, did you know that, while we see night sweats and hot flushes[66].as a near-inevitable part of the perimenopausal experience here in the West, neither are as prevalent in Japan?

    While hot flush symptoms in Japan have risen in the last 20 years, they’re still significantly lower than here in the UK[67]. Just one in five Japanese women suffer from daytime hot flushes, compared to approximately eight in ten women in the UK.

    So what is it about the lifestyle in Japan that makes for a smoother menopausal transition? And what can we learn from it that will help us support our own hormonal health more naturally?

    Eat more fibre

    Fibre is excellent for digestion[68].and it’s one of the mainstays of the traditional Japanese diet. But what’s less widely known is the way fibre affects our levels of oestrogen. The amount of fibre in your diet can determine how much oestrogen you excrete and how much you store, making it very important during times of hormonal fluctuation such as the menopause[69].

    Soluble fibre (found in fruit, oats and beans) also binds with some of the cholesterol in the food we eat, reducing the risk of heart disease post-menopause[70].

    Pass on sugar

    The Japanese diet has low levels of sugar[71], something that may play a part in greater hormonal balance. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone affect how our cells respond to insulin[72], so changes in hormone levels can trigger fluctuations in your blood sugar too. Many women see blood sugar levels rise during menopause, making excess sugar one of the foods to be mindful of during menopause. Having too much sugar in your diet can also overwork your liver[73] and make it unable to process oestrogen effectively[74].

    Drink less alcohol

    Women in Japan drink less alcohol than we do here in the UK, which may benefit their hormonal health during the menopause[75]. One of the liver’s jobs is to convert oestradiol (a more toxic form of oestrogen) into the less toxic oestrone and oestriol[76]. During the menopause, the liver is known to function less efficiently[77]. Alcohol, processed foods and smoking can overload the liver still further, forcing organs such as the skin and adrenal glands to pick up the slack.

    Include oily fish

    Oily fish is thought to be beneficial to the body during the menopause, primarily because it contains such large amounts of the essential fatty acid Omega 3. Japanese women eat about 100g of fish daily, and nutritional studies show that Japanese women get 1,300mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per day from their diet, compared to just 200g here in the UK[78].

    In a study of 120 menopausal women carried out in Canada, those who took Omega 3 were found to have a 50% reduction in the frequency of their hot flushes[79].

    Add more phytoestrogens

    When people say you should include plenty of oestrogen-rich foods for menopause, what they’re really talking about is phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens have a similar chemical structure to the oestrogen in your body which may explain their balancing effect. This similar structure allows them to take the place of the natural oestrogens and increase their levels when they are too low, and reduce them when they are too high[80].

    Isoflavones are the richest source of phytoestrogens, and they’re found in legumes such as lentils, soya beans and chickpeas. In Japan, women have as much as 50 times the amount of isoflavones in their diet then we do here in the West, eating some 50mg per day compared to less than 1mg in countries such as the States[81].

    But you don’t just have to rely on soy for menopause to get enough phytoestrogens into your menopause diet plan. Lignans are another important phytoestrogen, and they are found in high levels in flaxseed.

    Embrace positivity

    The traditional Japanese diet is low in sugar, but high in fibrous vegetables, fish and soybean products such as fermented miso and tofu, But could the Japanese experience of menopause be down to their positive attitudes as well as their healthy diet[82]?

    Menopause is a healthy and natural part of a woman's life, yet in the West it is steeped in negative stereotypes. But it’s worth noting that other cultures do not view this natural life stage quite so negatively[83]. In Japan, for example, the word for menopause (konenki) translates as both ‘renewal years’ and ‘energy’[84].

    While it may feel impossible to feel upbeat when you’re experiencing challenging symptoms, many studies show that it’s worth trying to adopt a more positive mindset. Women who report negative attitudes towards menopause and ageing are more likely to report a greater number and severity of menopausal symptoms[85]. Conversely, women who viewed menopause in a more positive light reported fewer and less severe symptoms[86].

    Struggling to stay cheery in the face of unpredictable hot flushes, insomnia and night sweats? Practising mindfulness might just be the answer. Otherwise known as ‘paying attention to the present moment’, mindfulness helps you accept your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Over time, it’s thought to  help reduce stress and increase resilience.

    Scientific research bears this theory out. In a study of over a thousand midlife women, those who had higher mindfulness and lower stress scores reported fewer menopausal symptoms[87].

    If you enjoyed reading this article, you might like Best vitamins to boost your energy.



    Post author

    Inessa Team

    Our team pull together science-backed information to bring you up to date health and wellness insights.