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pears to improve short-term and
long-term memory (avoid soy
supplementation if taking Ta-
moxifen). Soy foods appear to
be more effective than supple-
ments for managing menopausal
symptoms according to a study
of 29 randomized controlled tri-
als of CAM.
In addition to a healthy diet,
certain nutritional supplements
can help manage symptoms and
reduce chances of heart disease
and osteoporosis. Vitamin E ap-
pears to not only reduce the hot
flashes but can also decrease the
risk of cardiovascular disease. A
good-quality calcium and magne-
sium supplement protects bone
and cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D can enhance ab-
sorption of calcium and help
to reduce the incidence of frac-
tures. Other nutrients such as
Boron, Copper, Zinc, Folic Acid,
Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Vita-
min K are important for bone
Some herbs have been prov-
en to be effective in menopause
support. For example, Black Co-
hosh can help reduce hot flash-
es. Valerian may improve sleep
and reduce anxiety. Hawthorne
solid extract, Ginger and Garlic
appear useful at lowering cho-
The results using individual
herbs can be variable, and it is
best to seek the guidance of a
healthcare provider well-trained
in herbal medicine. Often a cus-
tom herbal formula yields the
greatest results.
The importance of exercise
and stress management tech-
(Continued from page 21)
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niques shouldn't be overlooked.
Walking as little as 4 hours per
week reduces hip fracture risk
and more exercise further re-
duces the risk. Aerobic exercise
and weight training helps lower
triglycerides and cholesterol.
Improving body composition
(increasing muscle-to-fat ratio)
is an important component of
enhancing the body's ability to
balance hormone production.
In addition to the physical
benefits, exercise can also help
soothe the mind. Other stress
management and relaxation
techniques should be integrat-
ed into a natural approach.
One study found that listening
to soothing music (especially
Classical) reduced the amount
of time it took for postmeno-
pausal women to fall asleep and
it reduced the number of night
time awakenings.
The Women's Health Initia-
tive study evaluated hormone
replacement therapy in 16,608
women. The trial was stopped
because there was an increased
risk of breast cancer, heart at-
tack, heart disease and stroke.
Even though there was a reduc-
tion seen in fracture and colo-
rectal cancer, risks outweighed
the benefits.
Synthetic hormones, or hor-
mones made from the urine of
pregnant mares, aren't the same
hormone molecules as our own.
Since these foreign hormones
are excreted more slowly than
our own hormones, they can
potentially negatively affect our
Natural hormones are plant
derived and considered bio-
chemically and molecularly
identical to human hormones.
Natural sources are less like-
ly than synthetic hormones to
cause unwanted side effects
such as weight gain, depres-
sion, and breast tenderness.
Estrogen, progesterone tes-
tosterone, and DHEA and can
be manufactured from plant-
derived substances, usually soy-
beans or Mexican wild yam. Or-
al, sublingual, patches, creams,
and gels are some of the avail-
able forms. Even though these
hormones are called natural,
they do affect the hormone lev-
els of the body and can be mis-
used. It is important to seek the
care of a healthcare provider
educated in the proper use of
natural hormones.
· An individualized approach
to symptom management and
disease prevention yields the
greatest results. Every woman
has unique circumstances that
may require individualized at-
· Eat a whole foods diet high
in fruits, vegetables, high qual-
ity protein, whole grains and
legumes. Avoid or limit your in-
take of caffeine, sugar, alcohol,
and processed foods.
· Avoid nicotine which can
bring on menopause symptoms
earlier and increase the risk of
cardiovascular disease and os-
· Exercise: strength training
regular weight bearing, and aer-
obic exercise.
· A well-selected homeo-
pathic remedy can help alleviate
many symptoms of menopause
and can strengthen vitality.
· A custom herbal formula
and nutritional supplements
aid in promoting health, reduc-
ing symptoms and preventing
osteoporosis and heart disease.
· If natural therapies don't
provide sufficient results, prop-
erly-prescribed natural hor-
mones can be used. Sometimes
natural hormones still are not
enough to manage symptoms,
so short-term use of HRT can
help relieve symptoms. Risks
versus benefits should always
be considered.
· Participate in a yearly doc-
tor-supervised cleansing pro-
gram to enhance liver function-
ing and proper hormone metab-
· Practice stress management
techniques and treatments such
as meditation, breath work, guid-
ed imagery, hypnosis, counsel-
ing, massage and CranioSacral
Dr. Cates is a licensed naturopath-
ic physician and received her medi-
cal degree from the National College
of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR
in 2000. She is a primary care phy-
sician specializing in women's and
children's health with an integrative,
holistic approach. Nutrition, herbal
medicine, homeopathy, environmen-
tal medicine and craniosacral therapy
are her modalities of choice. She is a
frequent lecturer and writes articles
on natural medicine for various local
and national publications. Visit: www. and www.