When I say the word “menopause,” I’ll bet I can guess the first thing that came to your mind: hot flashes. It’s what we all think of when we think of menopause. After you read this, I hope that word will be resveratrol, instead.
Because what’s talked about less is what happens after menopause, and research shows resveratrol can help…
So much attention is paid to managing hot flashes that maintaining overall well-being for postmenopausal women is often overlooked.
Following menopause, women are at a higher risk of conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease, urinary incontinence and osteoarthritis. Also, many postmenopausal women experience chronic pain, a symptom that isn’t discussed nearly as much as more familiar menopausal and postmenopausal ailments.
Recently, researchers have zeroed in on how resveratrol may help relieve not only this chronic pain but also improve general well-being and circulatory function in postmenopausal women…
The postmenopausal power of resveratrol
While hormone replacement therapy can help protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis and heart disease, it can raise the risk of other health problems like blood clots and stroke. With that in mind, researchers are exploring alternative options to manage these symptoms and improve the well-being of postmenopausal women.
One of those options is resveratrol, an estrogen-mimicking compound and antioxidant found in plants like grapes, mulberries, blueberries, raspberries, cacao, peanuts and pistachios. An earlier pilot study showed that supplementing postmenopausal women with resveratrol for 14 weeks improved some aspects of well-being, including chronic pain.
To confirm those benefits, researchers in Australia reviewed data from a larger, 24-month study during which 125 healthy postmenopausal women were given 75 milligrams of resveratrol twice daily to evaluate its effect on their cognitive performance. The study also measured other aspects of well-being such as pain perception, along with menopausal symptoms, mood symptoms, sleep quality and quality of life.
Results of the long-term study found that resveratrol supplementation lowered participants’ composite pain scores by 18 percent. Those who were overweight reported an even more dramatic reduction in pain scores.
The change in pain scores was associated with improved cerebrovascular responsiveness to excess carbon dioxide in the blood, which enhanced circulatory function.
Participants also reported improvements in menopausal symptoms and general well-being after resveratrol supplementation.
Researchers say these results confirm the pilot study’s finding that resveratrol can reduce chronic pain in age-related osteoarthritis and improve menopause-related quality of life in postmenopausal women.
As we’ve discussed in a previous issue, if you’re postmenopausal and looking to add resveratrol to your diet, it’s found in berries, red wine and dark chocolate. You can also take resveratrol supplements, but bear in mind that the nutrient is rapidly used up by the body. So, it may be wise to spread out the doses, maybe by taking one in the morning and one in the evening.
Tips for lowering your osteoarthritis risk
This isn’t the first research to feature resveratrol’s positive effects on osteoarthritis.
- In studies of mice with osteoarthritis, resveratrol has successfully been able to slow the progression of the disease.
- In other studies in people with osteoarthritis, resveratrol reduces pain, lowers inflammation biomarkers associated with disease, improves function and decreases symptoms overall.
- A 2019 research review from Central South University in China found that resveratrol can switch on a gene that may stop the progression of osteoarthritis.
Getting enough exercise can also help decrease your osteoarthritis risk, so be sure to add some walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming to your daily routine.
Exercise is also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, which is another way to lower your osteoarthritis risk. This is especially important during menopause when it becomes much easier to gain weight. Make sure your diet includes plenty of whole, unprocessed foods and healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil.
If you do develop postmenopausal osteoarthritis, don’t stop exercising. While you make think exercise will make your osteoarthritis worse, it actually helps ease the pain and stiffness in your joints. Just keep it to low-impact, joint-friendly activities like walking, swimming, yoga and water aerobics.
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Latest RESHAW findings show improvements of quality of life in postmenopausal women — Nutritional Outlook
Long-term resveratrol supplementation improves pain perception, menopausal symptoms, and overall well-being in postmenopausal women: findings from a 24-month randomized, controlled, crossover trial — Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society
Benefits of Exercise for Osteoarthritis — Arthritis Foundation
The Superstar Antioxidant That Stops Osteoarthritis In Its Tracks — Easy Health Options