From hot flashes to hair loss to weeping and weight gain, perimenopause can be an uncomfortable time in a woman's life due to hormone imbalances. Watching your diet and taking the right vitamins can help tremendously by bringing a good balance back, says Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., nationally known nutritionist and bestselling author of "Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause" (HarperCollins,1998).
Multivitamins are important. Gittleman says it's especially important to ensure yours has a vitamin B complex with 50mg to 100mg of vitamin B6, the precursor to serotonin (often called the "feel-good brain chemical)." You also need 400 to 1,200 international units of vitamin E along with vitamin C. You should take 1,000mg of vitamin C three times a day in the beginning, she says. After you're in balance, you can cut back to 1,000mg a day of vitamin C and 400IU of the vitamin E, she says.
Magnesium helps with irritability and anxiety, she says. Take 500mg to 1,000mg daily before going to sleep.
Zinc builds strong bones, keeps your immune system strong and helps to lower estrogen and increase progesterone levels, she says. Take 15mg to 50mg daily.
Progesterone Topical Cream
Progesterone topical cream is important because women are usually deficient during perimenopause due to estrogen dominance, Gittleman says. Estrogen dominance symptoms include depression, irritability, decreased sex drive, abnormal blood sugar levels, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, water retention, bone loss, fat gain and low adrenal function, she says. Use 1/8 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. of the cream from the 12th to the 26th day of your menstrual cycle to start, in one to two applications per day. You can massage it into your face, neck, breasts, inner arms, upper chest, hands and the soles of your feet. Change the area you apply to daily, she says.
High-lignan flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds can help you, too, Gittleman says. Flaxseeds are high in lignans, which aid with skin conditions, fatigue and depression. Take a tablespoon daily. You can use this in salad dressing or on top of grains or vegetables that are not heated, she says.
Black Currant Seed Oil
Black currant seed oil helps with breast tenderness, headaches, water retention, mood changes, irritability and anxiety, Gittleman says. Take two 500mg capsules two times a day after food.
Hesperidin helps to reduce hot flashes, Gittleman says. It's a bioflavonoid that increases your capillaries' strength and improves lymphatic drainage. You can get hesperidin in pith, the whitish substance under citrus peels, she says.