Menopause symptoms may respond to dietary antioxidants that combat oxygen stress


Menopause symptoms may respond well to dietary antioxidants that combat oxygen stress.

"Menopause is often accompanied by hot flashes and degenerative processes such as arteriosclerosis and atrophic changes of the skin that suggest an acceleration of aging triggered by estrogen lack. Therefore, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been considered the most suitable treatment for the above symptoms and processes," investigators in Spain reported.

"However," noted J. Miquel and colleagues of the University of Alicante, "because of the possible serious side effects of HRT (especially the increased risk of thrombo-embolic accidents and breast cancer) there is a growing demand for alternative treatments of the symptoms and pathological processes associated with menopause.

"In agreement with the above, we review research that supports the concept that oxygen stress contributes to menopause and that some of its physiopathological effects may be prevented and/or treated improving the antioxidant defense of menopausic and postmenopausic women," the authors noted.

"Accordingly, a selection of micronutrients may be useful as a dietary supplement for protection against the decline of physiological functions caused by age-related oxygen stress," they reported. "Since aging is accompanied by a progressive oxidation of the physiological sulfur pool, we emphasize the role of the vitamins B that help to maintain the GSH/GSSG ratio in its normal reduced state. Nutritional supplements should also include the key antioxidant vitamins C and E, as well beta-carotene and the mineral micronutrients found in the oxygen radical-detoxifying enzymes as beta-glutathione peroxidase and Superoxide dismutase."

"Moreover," they continued, "the reviewed data support the concept that other antioxidants such as lipoic acid and the precursors of galutathione thioproline (TP) and L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (OTC), as well as the soy isoflavones and the 'coantioxidants' of an hydroalcoholic extract of Curcuma longa may help to prevent antioxidant deficiency with resulting protection of mitochondria against premature oxidative damage with loss of ATP synthesis and specialized cellular functions."

The reviewers concluded, "Therefore, the administration under medical advice of synergistic combinations of some of the above mentioned antioxidants in the diet as well as topically (for skin protection) may have favorable effects on the health and quality of life of women, especially of those who cannot be treated with HR, suffer high levels of oxygen stress, and do not consume a healthy diet that includes five daily rations of fresh fruit and vegetables."

Miquel and colleagues published their study in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Menopause: A review on the role of oxygen stress and favorable effects of dietary antioxidants. Arch Gerontol Geriatr, 2006;42(3):289-306).

For additional information, contact J. Miquel, ASAC Pharma, C Sagitario 14, Alicante 03006, Spain; E-mail: [email protected].

The publisher's contact information for the journal Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics is: Elsevier Ireland Ltd., Elsevier House, Brookvale Plaza, East Park Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland.