Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Breast Cancer Research > Table 64: Other supplements for menopausal symptoms


Table 64: Other supplements for menopausal symptoms


This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables offer an informative look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, they should be viewed with some caution. In order to read and interpret research tables successfully, it is important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.

Introduction: Although menopausal hormone therapy (postmenopausal hormones) containing estrogen and progestin may ease menopausal symptoms, long-term use increases the risk of breast cancer (see Table 8) [1]. For this reason, many women seek other ways to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms.

Taking dietary and herbal supplements has been suggested as a way to relieve menopausal symptoms. However, findings from most randomized controlled trials and one meta-analysis have not shown a benefit.

Learn more about flaxseed, omega-3 fatty acids and other dietary supplements in the Integrative and Complementary Therapies section.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies.

Study selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials with at least 60 participants and meta-analyses.

Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk.    


Study Population
(number of participants)

Type of Supplement 

Treatment Duration 

 Supplements Reduced Hot Flashes More Than Placebo? 

Randomized controlled trials 

Tice et al. [2]

cancer-free women

Red clover extract

12 weeks


Pruthi et al. [3]

breast cancer survivors and cancer-free women

Flaxseed bar

6 weeks


Lucas et al. [4]

cancer-free women

Omega-3 fatty acid capsule

8 weeks


Lipovac et al. [5]

cancer-free women

Red clover capsule 

13 weeks


Colli et al. [6]

cancer-free women

 Flaxseed capsule or ground flaxseeds

6 months


Lewis et al. [7]

cancer-free women

Flaxseed muffin

16 weeks



Cochrane review [8]

5 studies

Red clover extract



  1. Rossouw JE, Anderson GL, Prentice RL, et al. for the Writing Group for the Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results From the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 288(3):321-33, 2002.
  2. Tice JA, Ettinger B, Ensrud K, Wallace R, Blackwell T, Cummings SR. Phytoestrogen supplements for the treatment of hot flashes: the Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 290(2):207-14, 2003.
  3. Pruthi S1, Qin R, Terstreip SA, et al. A phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of flaxseed for the treatment of hot flashes: North Central Cancer Treatment Group N08C7. Menopause. 19(1):48-53, 2012.
  4. Lucas M, Asselin G, Mérette C, Poulin MJ, Dodin S. Effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on hot flashes and quality of life among middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Menopause. 16(2):357-66, 2009.
  5. Colli MC1, Bracht A, Soares AA, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy of flaxseed meal and flaxseed extract in reducing menopausal symptoms. J Med Food. 15(9):840-5, 2012.
  6. Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, et al. The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 28(3):203-7, 2012.
  7. Lewis JE, Nickell LA, Thompson LU, Szalai JP, Kiss A, Hilditch JR. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of dietary soy and flaxseed muffins on quality of life and hot flashes during menopause. Menopause. 13(4):631-42, 2006.
  8. Lethaby AE, Brown J, Marjoribanks J, Kronenberg F, Roberts H, Eden J. Phytoestrogens for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (4):CD001395, 2007.
Updated 05/16/14