The Benefits Of Micronutrients In Women’s Health - Part 2
In our previous Health Science News Page, we discussed that although biological changes in the female body such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause are natural, they represent major physiological transitions. They are accompanied by both changes in the body appearance as well as the functioning of various organs including the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems which undergo several changes under the influence of hormones. Many of these changes make women more prone to autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular problems, mental health issues, and others, and require appropriate nutritional support to mitigate or prevent these problems.
In our previous issue we addressed the importance of vitamins C, E, the B group of vitamins, and other minerals in supporting a woman’s health during these life transitions. There are also various herb extracts and components with health benefits during specific life stages in a woman’s life.
Soy extracts contain a type of phytoestrogens that can mimic actions of the hormone estrogen in the body. These include isoflavones genistein, glycitein, and daidzein which help in balancing the female hormones. They especially can act as pro-estrogens in postmenopausal women, and may also act as anti-estrogens in premenopausal women. It has been shown that soy can reduce menopausal hot flashes, and also help in warding off osteoporosis by promoting bone density and protecting against breast cancer. Soy isoflavones are also known to reduce lipid levels and have been shown to reduce blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure but not in people with normal blood pressure.
Red clover contains active phytoestrogens and may help to regulate the menstrual cycle in childbearing years. When used in menopause, the red clover helps in reducing hot flashes, vaginal dryness and osteoporosis. One of the studies also proved that menopausal women taking red clover supplements had stronger and more flexible arteries which may help prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Red clover also has anticancer properties and has shown to induce cancer cell death (apoptosis) especially in uterine cancer cells.
Rosemary extract has potent anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties and improves immune function. The extract also helps to balance estrogen and may help in excessive menstrual bleeding and painful menstruation. It has antioxidant actions that help in improving hair loss, physical and mental fatigue, memory, and learning. Specific actions of rosemary extract on the nervous system may help to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, diabetic neuropathy, and may decrease symptoms of Parkinson’s as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Chaste tree fruit derived from a native Mediterranean plant is known to balance the pituitary hormones, which in turn optimize functions of estrogen, and progesterone. This may contribute to reducing menstrual pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and certain menopausal issues such as hot flashes, and mood swings. Chasteberry may also help in symptoms related to polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD).
Our research documented that a combination of these plants and specific vitamins and minerals can support various cell functions important for women’s health throughout various life changes.