What are the best supplements for menopause? A Houston area doctor explains

HOUSTON – If you’re in menopause or getting close to it (and by the way, perimenopause symptoms can start as early as 35 years old), you might be wondering if there’s a way to fight symptoms, which include weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, depression, etc.

The list is long and turns out supplements can help. But which ones are women supposed to take?

We spoke with certified OB-GYN and founder/creator of “The Galveston Diet” Dr. Mary Claire Haver about what women need to be taking to feel good as we age as our estrogen levels decline.

  • Nutrition is everything. You cannot undo the damage of eating junk food and expect all the inflammation to be fixed by swallowing pills.
  • Eat whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, lean protein, beans, and other foods with high fiber.
  • Limit added sugars, and then supplement from there.

RELATED: The ‘Galveston Diet’: How one Houston-area doctor is revolutionizing menopause care

Dr. Haver revealed her top 4 must-have supplements during menopause and how to determine how much you need.

“How do I know I’m deficient? How do I know I need something? Blood tests won’t tell you because so many vitamins and micronutrients are water-based, changing on a minute-to-minute basis,” she said. “So you should track what you eat and see where you’re falling short. My favorite things to supplement are fiber, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and magnesium. Those are the top 4.”

So, let’s break it down:

  • Fiber (at least 25 grams per day) - Soluble fiber reduces cholesterol and can help lower your risk of heart disease. A high-fiber meal slows food digestion, which may keep blood sugar from spiking and also helps you feel full longer.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids - These aid in developing and maintaining a healthy body. This can also help reduce joint pain, and in some studies, has been shown to help depression. You can find Omega-3′s in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed. And, if you can’t get enough of it in your diet, you can supplement daily with fish oil, or algae oil if you don’t eat fish.
  • Vitamin D - You’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities as you age if you don’t get enough Vitamin D. It’s also been shown to fight disease, reduce depression, and aid in weight loss.
  • Magnesium - If you suffer from interrupted sleep, this might be a game changer for you. Not only does it help regulate muscle and nerve function, but it also plays a larger role in sleep regulation and can even improve symptoms of insomnia.

Her favorite app to determine how deficient you might be in micronutrients like these is called “cronometer.” It also tracks fiber and added sugars.

For more on easing symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, check out Dr. Haver’s website at GalvestonDiet.com.