Monday, September 24, 2012

Fighting the Onset of Menopause

A few years back, a friend and I were swapping girl talk and we happened to talk about symptoms women go through when they hit their 40s and 50s. There’s the dreaded hot flashes, moodiness, osteoporosis risk, to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or not, and many other things that perimenopausal and menopausal phases bring.

That was when she first told me she was taking Evening Primrose Oil. Of course, at that time, I thought it was just one of those numerous health supplements you find in health stores. I was just too overwhelmed with the number of choices available that I chose not to choose.

If you still don’t know, I am already at that stage of my life where I am supposed to experience the usual symptoms besetting an aging woman to be thrown at me. But I felt that instead of just “bearing and grinning” this whole phase, I could go and do something about it.

It began when I discovered the benefits of yoga. I really went into it at first more for the exercise and mind-body discipline but what was amazing was that the beginnings of my hot flush episodes suddenly disappeared. And my monthly period which began skipping suddenly turned regular again. Intervention was possible!

This time, you can again call it providential that I was asked if I could sample a Health Express product. Lo and behold, it turned out to be the evening primrose oil my friend was talking about! I was sent a month’s supply of evening primrose oil and as of this writing, it's been close to a month already that I've been taking this supplement. During this period, I have had time to read up on what evening primrose oil is really all about so let me share what I’ve learned with you.

Evening Primrose Oil, 50 500 mg softgels, PhP 325
(photo from Health Express website)

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

It’s the oil derived from the crushed seeds of the evening primrose plant which can be found in America and Canada as well as in other areas worldwide where there is a mild to moderate climate. The plant produces beautiful flowers and can reach up to a height of 8 feet. Most gardeners actually classify this plant as a weed.

The oil gathered is rich in omega-6, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and Cis-linoleic acid (LA) which have healing properties. This is important because our bodies are unable to produce omega-6 fatty acids and must get this essential compound from external sources.

Based on some of my readings online, I have seen some benefits and uses attributed to evening primrose oil including (not a comprehensive listing):
  • Absorption of insulin
  • Inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Women’s health conditions such as PMS, breast soreness during the menstrual period, and menopausal symptoms like hot flushes
  • Reduce symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema, acne and psoriasis and reduces sebum production which is responsible for acne and lesions
  • Osteoporosis, when combined with calcium and fish oils
  • Potential prevention of heart disease and some types of cancer
  • Prevent nerve damage attributable to diabetes
  • Treatments for infertility, inflammation and cholesterol levels

I have been following the dosage specified in the bottle of evening primrose oil I was given, which is one 500mg softgel, three times a day, taken with meals. The directions said I could take up to 6 softgels a day but I decided to stick with the minimum dosage as maintenance dose.

The timing of taking evening primrose oil is just right because this past month, my blogging activities have spiked to the point that my yoga practice has become erratic. For a while, I was afraid that hot flushes would come back with a vengeance because it did when I stopped a few years ago to do part-time consulting work. But after almost a month of taking the evening primrose oil -- surprise, surprise. No hot flushes! And my body did not have any adverse reaction to taking it (which confirms my readings that this supplement is generally well tolerated by most people).

Of course, I will have a better gauge of other benefits of evening primrose oil as I continue to use it beyond just one month. But for women who are approaching their prime and are already considering how to combat the effects of menopause, rethink before you go into hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I opted not to take HRT because of the risks of breast cancer and instead, am addressing the risk of non-HRT treatment (i.e. osteoporosis) via yoga, calcium-rich food and herbal supplements like evening primrose oil.

Like all medications, it is always prudent to consult your doctor. Pregnant, breastfeeding women as well as those with bleeding disorders or those about to undergo surgery must ask their doctor before taking evening primrose oil.

You can get your supply of evening primrose oil from Health Express.

Choose to become a Health Express Card Platinum member for an annual membership of P450 and you are entitled to 20% discount on all regular products and 15% discount on all Pascual products. You will also receive monthly newsletter updates and health tips.
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   Robinsons Supermarket, Lacson St., Mandalagan, Bacolod City, Tel (034) 441-1000
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   2103 A Northwing SM City, Cebu City, Tel (032) 236-6486
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   Level 2, Robinsons Big R Supercenter, Cagayan de Oro City, Tel (088) 852-0400

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