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Hops & Lignan: Lesser-Known Solutions for Menopausal Symptoms

If you are in your 40s or 50s, you may be starting to experience symptoms of menopause, including irregular periods, mood swings, and hot flashes. Even though it’s completely normal and every woman experiences menopause, the symptoms can be unpleasant and drawn out over several years.

One of the most common forms of treatment to address menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but there are risks and health issues that come with HRT. If you don’t want to use HRT, there are other options you can explore, namely phytoestrogen.

Phytoestrogen is a type of estrogen that isn’t created by your own body, but is absorbed by eating plants that produce it. The two biggest sources of phytoestrogen are hops (yes, the ones used in beer) and lignans.

Hops and 8-PN

Hops secrete many different phytoestrogens, but the most notable is 8-PN. Considered one of the most potent phytoestrogens on record, 8-PN was first observed through a study on rats that had their ovaries removed to produce hot flashes and menopausal symptoms. The rats were either given estrogen or 8-PN, and both were able to reverse the hot flashes. Humans are genetically similar to rats, so human trials began soon after.

In one trial, women undergoing menopause took a hop extract standardized to 100 or 250mg a day of 8-PN or a placebo over 12 weeks. Even the women who took the lower 100mg dose of 8-PN saw a significant advantage over placebo after just six weeks. Another study found similar results; the women who took even the 100mg dose experienced a huge reduction in hot flashes.

Phytoestrogen from Lignans

Lignans are a type of fiber that can be ingested to receive phytoestrogen, similar to hops, though not as strong. Most research uses Norway spruce lignans, and women supplemented with 36 or 72mg doses once a day for eight weeks discovered that it was easily absorbed, and increased lignan levels in the bloodstream by 191 percent with the lower dose. The group of women who took the higher dose of 72mg saw a spike of more than 1,000 percent in lignan levels, cutting the instance of hot flashes by as much as 50 percent.

Phytoestrogens may also have implications for breast cancer, since they can bind to estrogen receptors. Although not as strong as human estrogen, phytoestrogen can block receptors and decrease the growth of breast cancer. Researchers are currently looking into hops and lignans as an adjunct therapy for breast cancer.

If you want to avoid HRT as much as possible, hops and lignans can provide the added support you need to get through menopause. When you are looking for hop extract to take, make sure it’s not a generic supplement but rather the standardized dosage levels of 100 or 250mg of 8-PN.

In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Mike discusses how hops and lignan can help ease your menopausal symptoms in a natural way.

Alonso is a long-time health and wellness advocate who loves to write about it. His writing spans the scope of blogs, educational magazines, and books, both on and offline.