Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Improving hair, skin, and mood

Red clover is a perennial herb that contains phytoestrogen-rich isoflavones. In this study, 109 postmenopausal women, aged at least 40, took 80 mg of red clover extract per day, or a placebo–or the reverse–in two 90-day periods. The women rested without taking any supplement for seven days in between the two 90-day trials. At the end of the 90-day period, while there was no change for placebo, women in the red clover group believed that the quality of their ¬†scalp hair and skin had improved. In addition, the red clover group reported increased libido, better mood, less tiredness, and more restful sleep.


Fewer hot flashes, night sweats

For the same group of 109 women over the same study period, doctors measured three additional symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, and overall menopausal symptoms before the study, at 90 days, after a seven-day pause at 97 days, and at 187 days. Before the study, all participants had a similar intensity of hot flashes, frequency of night sweats, and overall menopause symptoms. After taking the placebo, the three symptoms improved by an average of less than 10 percent each. After taking red clover, each of the three symptoms improved by an average of more than 25 percent.

In discussing their findings, doctors said that women and their physicians are questioning conventional hormone therapy because the benefits are uncertain, leading to more individualized treatment focusing on alternative therapies. Phytoestrogens, such as those in red clover, have estrogenic effects that are less potent than hormone therapy, but may prove to be a more beneficial alternative.


Reference: Gynecological Endocrinology; 2012, Vol. 28, No. 3, 203-7

From the June 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on June - 26 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Omega-3s plus exercise

The lower estrogen levels in postmenopause cause bone loss, and inflammation, if present, increases chances of fracture. Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids help strengthen bone by suppressing the activity of osteoclasts, cells that remove healthy minerals from bone. In this study, 79 healthy postmenopausal women split into four groups. One group did not exercise or take supplements. A second walked and jogged only, up to 65 percent of maximum heart rate. A third group took 180 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid plus 120 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) per day, while a fourth group took the omega-3s and exercised.

After 24 weeks, while there were no changes in the other groups, the exercise/omega-3 group had 40 to 80 percent lower signs of inflammation, 15 percent greater bone mineral density (BMD) in the lower back, and 19 percent more in the thigh bone and hip.


Copper, magnesium, zinc

In this BMD study, 224 postmenopausal women, aged 51 to 80, took a multivitamin providing adequate vitamin D, plus 600 mg of calcium alone, or 600 mg of calcium with 12 mg zinc and 2 mg copper. The women kept a food diary to measure total nutrients from food and supplements.

After two years, women who got less than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for copper, magnesium, or zinc had poorer bone health than women who got at least the minimum RDA. The RDA for copper is 0.9 mg, for magnesium 237 mg, and zinc 8 mg per day. For zinc, women who got between the minimum RDA of 8 mg per day and up to 20 mg per day; 2.5 times the RDA, had healthier bones than the women who got more or less zinc.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; December, 2011, Vol. 106, No. 12, 1872-9

From the March 2012 newsletter