What makes the battle with menopause symptoms more challenging is the scarcity of tested, natural treatments so that women would not have to rely on pharmacology. Luckily, Iranian researchers aimed to put some of the natural alternatives for menopause symptoms to the test, namely the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant curcumin and vitamin E.
This triple-blind randomized controlled trial was done at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (Tabriz, Iran). The results were published in the 2020 edition of the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal.
They recruited 93 postmenopausal women. All participants had natural menopause and had similar scores for hot flash severity and frequency, sexual function, anxiety, and other menopause symptoms before the intervention.
Women were assigned to three groups. Each group received a different treatment for eight weeks, which included:
- Group 1: Oral capsules with 500 mg curcumin
- Group 2: Oral tablets with 200 IU per day of vitamin E
- Group 3: Placebo tablets
Thorough assessments took place at three occasions: one week before the study as well as at weeks 4 and 8. The tools used included a hot flash checklist, the Anxiety Scale, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), and the Greene Climacteric Scale.
Participants in both the curcumin and vitamin E group showed a significantly lower frequency of hot flash episodes (adjusted mean difference of -10.7 and -8.7, respectively) in comparison to the placebo group.
At the 4th-week assessment, the most observable effects were seen only in the curcumin group. It was not until the 8th-week check-up that the vitamin E group showed substantial improvements.
Researchers did not observe significant effects on anxiety, sexual function, and other menopause symptoms.
What Does It Mean?
The findings of this study provide solid evidence that curcumin and vitamin E supplementation can reduce hot flashes. It does not, however, improve sexual function and other menopausal symptoms.
While the effects of vitamin E for hot flashes have been revealed in previous studies, the effects of curcumin on vasomotor symptoms have never been tested before.1,2 So, this study provides new findings that may be used for novel formulations of natural supplements for menopausal hot flash relief.
More studies are recommended to establish proper dosage of curcumin and vitamin E for hot flashes.
- Complementary Therapies in Medicine. (2020). The effect of oral capsule of curcumin and vitamin E on the hot flashes and anxiety in postmenopausal women: A triple blind randomized controlled trial. Retrieved September 22, 2020 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229919313068
- Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation. (2007). The Effect of Vitamin E on Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women. Retrieved September 22, 2020 from https://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/106491
- Nutrition & Metabolism. (2014). Pharmacological potential of tocotrienols: a review. Retrieved September 22, 2020 from https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-11-52