Avoiding the Risks of HRT with Dietary Supplements

  • Added:
    Aug 16, 2013
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Prescription estrogen was first introduced in the 1930s to relieve women of menopausal symptoms. In the 1950s, doctors discovered that estrogen,when combined with progesterone, can confer more benefits on health than estrogen alone. Since then, the medical community has been touting the benefits of what began to be called Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)not only as a means for women to remain young and feminine but also as a way for women toreduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and resulting fractures that are often associated withwomen going through menopause. In the last 60 years, however, HRT has been riddled with controversy and there is much speculation today whether the benefits are worth the risks.

Why You Should Consider Manufacturing Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms
Because of the demographics
The sheer number of women who have entered or who will be entering menopause shows a wide target market.

  • It is estimated that 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause every day. By the year 2020, approximately 46 million women will be over the age of 55.
  • Although life expectancies are increasing, the age at which women enter menopause remains the same and usually occurs between the ages of 45 to 55. About 50 percent of women who live to the age of 50 are expected to live up to the age of 80. This means that an increasing number of women will spend 40 percent of their lifetimegoing through menopause.

Because of the Need for Relief
Because of the dramatic drop in estrogen levels, many women experience changes in their bodies that may be difficult to cope with. Typical menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, body aches, fatigue and mood swings. How widespread is this amongst women?

  • Approximately 75 percent of peri-menopausal women experience hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Amongst North American postmenopausal women, it is estimated that two-thirds will have hot flashes; out of these, 10 to 20 percent will have severe hot flashes.
  • About 25 percent of women who experience night sweats and hot flashes have them for at least 5 years.
  • Out of the 44 million Americans with osteoporosis, 80 percent are women. Approximately 50 percent of women, older than 50, will have a bone fracture related to osteoporosis.

The Dangers and Side Effects Associated With HRT
Almost 50 percent of postmenopausal women report having used hormone replacement treatment, mainly in the form of pills. In 2010, 38 million prescriptions for HRT were dispensed. In 2000, before the results of the controversial Women’s Health Initiative were released, there were 129 million prescriptions dispensed for HRT.

  • 14 percent of the women had taken HRT pills for 10 years.25 percent started taking the pill 5 or more years after menopause.
  • According to breast cancer.org, the use of combination HRT, even when used for a short time, can increase the risk of breast cancer by 75 percent.HRTs that contain only estrogen can increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer after 10 years of use.

More Women Are Turning to Herbal Options
With such dangerous risks associated with HRT use, more and more women are looking at botanical or herbal alternatives to HRT. There is potential that the number of HRT user statistics mentioned above may switch to herbal and nutritional supplement options, especially if the supplements are well-formulated.

There are several ingredients that strongly show efficacy in relieving symptoms associated with:

  • Peri-menopause (before menopause occurs)
  • Menopause (when menstruation ceases)
  • Post menopause (after the cessation of menstruation)

Consumer interest in herbal therapies is growing both in the United States and Canada.

Ingredients that may relieve menopausal symptoms include:

Black cohosh has been demonstrated to improve hot flashes and mood swings in peri-menopausal women. Scientists believe it exerts estrogen-like effects in some tissue and anti-estrogen effects in others. Black cohosh must be taken for at least 6 weeks before benefits are seen.

Much controversy surrounds the safety of black cohosh as an ingredient in dietary supplements but recent investigations have brought to light the inconsistencies in prior reporting of facts and eventsrelated to black cohosh. In several cases, the dietary supplement did not contain genuine black cohosh, but a different species entirely. In other cases, users had pre-existing health problems. With the truth now brought to light, authentic black cohosh is considered to bea safe herbal option and a potentially strong ingredient for relieving menopausal symptoms.

St. John’s Wort has undergone studies in patients suffering from mild to moderate depression and the results across 23 randomized controlled trials show that it appears to be as efficient as a standard antidepressant, without the common side effects typically linked to anti-depressant drugs. It may be used by menopausal women to manage mild mood swings and mild depression.

Valerian has been used as an herbal remedy for sleep disturbances and anxiety for over a millennium. It may be used as a short term therapy to manage sleep disturbances that often occur during menopause.

Ginkgo biloba may be effective for memory. Many menopausal women experience confusion or have difficulty remembering things. At least 3 clinical randomized controlled trials show that gingko may be useful in improving memory in postmenopausal women.

Soy isoflavones may reduce hot flashes by 50 percent according to one study.

Other botanical ingredients for relieving menopausal symptoms include red clover, hops, and chasteberry.

Get the right supplement manufacturer
One way to build your brand image as a high-quality supplement business owner is to use contract supplement manufacturers who offer a number of manufacturing solutions under one roof—right from formulation, logo/label design, packaging, storing and even order fulfillment—making it easy, convenient and cost-effective for you. Look for supplement and protein manufacturers who work within a GMP-certified facility. Choosing an award-winning manufacturer can help boost the marketability of your product line and increase your bottom line.

Author's Profile

Nutricap Labs is a full service protein manufacturer. We primarily are nutritional supplements manufacturers and also offer label and packaging design services and order fulfillment services to our customers.


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