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The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Perimenopause and Menopause


Menopause may be characterised by three stages:

STAGE 1 - Early menopausal transition

STAGE 2 - Late menopausal transition

STAGE 3 - Menopause: the absence of menstruation for a 12-month period.


I like to explain that perimenopause is the gradual decline in reproductive hormones after a woman’s child bearing years.  Typically the rate of decline increases over the last 2 to 7 or so years before a woman reaches menopause.

Menopause is marked by the absence of menstruation for a 12-month period... a 1-day event.

Post Menopause – The remainder of wonderful years after menopause has occurred.



It is unfortunate that many people in our modern western world look upon menopause as a time to fear, a sign of old age, a period of decline and uncomfortable symptoms – when in actual fact it does NOT have to be this way.  Other cultures around the world have shown us that if we reframe our mindset and alter our lifestyle to honour our body's, then this period of transition and beyond can actually be one of great enlightenment, beauty and joy.  There are many factors that we have control over that help support a beautiful transition from our child bearing years through to our years of wisdom and inner freedom to be who we truly want to be, and beyond.  Do not to fear this time – Choose instead to embrace change and love your body for its magnificence.



I have developed 4 pillars for health and wellness, that if established and worked on throughout life, I believe will help to support a grounded and more stable journey, no matter what stage of life you are at.

My 4 pillars are:

Move  - Daily, with joy, in nature where possible.

Nourish  - With real, whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible.

Breathe - Deeply, daily and with intention.

Connect – With nature, others and most importantly, yourself.

When it comes to transitions in life, yes all 4 of these are crucial, however, this article focuses on NOURISHING the body, specifically with Omega-3 fatty acids to assist your journey through perimenopause, menopause and onto a vibrant, well-lived life in post menopause.



What we put into our body and how effectively we digest and utilise these nutrients has a huge role in how we feel, think and age.  Now I don’t know about you, but I plan on striving to feel my best and live as actively as possible for as long as possible.  It’s not so much about living a really long life (although I’d love that), it’s more about living a quality life – symptom and disease free, filled with vibrant energy. 

When it comes to the food we choose to nourish our bodies with we have complete control of our choices.  We know the basics:

These basic food principles will stand you in good stead for life and throughout your hormonal transitional years.

Maybe you are not there yet.  No worries.  Keep working away, improving your diet with every meal you make – think with every mouthful you choose to put into your mouth – “Is this food going to fuel me or flatten me?

Maybe, like me, you’ve been making the changes for a while now, nourishing your body the best way you can, most of the time, and yet there are still some missing pieces to your wellness puzzle.



In either case, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, or your balance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids may need tweaking, or massively improving.  After all they are not called essential fatty acids for no good reason.  The 3 groups of essential fatty acids omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 are just that…essential!  Our bodies must have them, via food, in order to function effectively.  Without them, especially decreased levels of omega-3’s or excess levels of omega-6’s, our transitioning perimenopausal bodies and beyond are not able to thrive (of course this may not be the only factor, however it is a BIG one and a simple one to rectify).



A 2021 study highlights that in comparison to normal tissues,  most cancerous tissues show an increase in omega-6 fatty acids and a decrease in omega-3’s EPA and DHA.  Plus, there is “compelling evidence that omega-3’s, particularly EPA and DHA, together with a healthy balance of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, play a massive role in most physiological and biochemical processes occurring in cells and organisms, having great significance in decreasing the risk of many diseases or even resolving their inherent inflammation condition.” [8][7].

Very simply put…

Inflammation creates heat and acidity within the body,  aggravating the cells and microbiome, leading to disharmony within the body that overtime leads to an array of unwanted signs and symptoms, eventually leading to illness and dis-ease.



Research and anecdotal evidence has shown that the right balance of omega-6 to omega-3 in perimenopausal and post-menopausal women does help to reduce and manage many of the common symptoms that women struggle with.  Obviously, results are often far better when natural supplements to support the body are used in conjunction with a natural, healthy diet and balanced lifestyle, however optimising the omega 6:3 ratio and thus supporting your body to reduce inflammation, is a great step forward.



Depression and mood disorders are becoming increasingly common and evidence suggests that for some women, during “windows of vulnerability” where there is an increase in hormonal fluctuation such as the menopause transition,  this risk for developing depression may be increased [1].

As perimenopause kicks in our levels of oestrogen and progesterone start to fluctuate, eventually diminishing, and follicle stimulating hormone increases.  These fluctuations may lead to cycle irregularity, hot flushes and night sweats, cognitive decline and mood disorders [1].

Studies have indicated that increased dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, via quality supplementation, is related to a general reduced risk of developing depressive and mood disorders or fewer symptoms [1].  This occurs because of the effect of omega-3’s on cell membrane fluidity which supports serotonin (the happy hormone) and dopamine (the chill hormone) pathways.



Hot flushes, a common sign of menopause, may be described as a sensation of heat that may be associated with sweating, increased heart rate and a subsequent drop in core temperature [1].  Trials exploring the connection between hot flushes and omega-3 fatty acids have had varying results.  Some studies have shown a link between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and a significant decrease in the frequency of hot flushes [2], while others show no significant reduction.

Factors to be considered when reading these results should include;



How is your sleep? 

Often, during the years of menopausal transition, women notice more regularly, either an inability to fall asleep easily or stay asleep.  I recall my grandmother waking during the night and reading for hours on end.  Plus, I too have struggled with sleep at times throughout my journey through perimenopause.  Now I have been working on my sleep for quite a number of years and improvements have been fantastic, however over the past 50 or so days, since introducing the Zinzino Omega-3 Balance Oil to my daily diet, I can honestly say that falling asleep has become a dream! (Pun intended).

The exciting news is…. that emerging scientific evidence backs what I am already noticing - that consuming adequate, good quality, omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with better sleep quality.  That’s a BIG woohoo for me and others out there who struggle with sleep [3].

Studies, where there is a dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, have revealed a number of ways in which sleep may be affected.

These all contribute to disorganised sleep patterns [3].

Furthermore, higher levels of DHA (found in omega-3 fatty acids), through supplementation, is linked to:



Studies have shown a significant increase on women’s triglycerides levels during the menopause transition, due to their age and hormonal changes, in particular reduced oestrogen secretion.   

Elevated triglycerides increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and you guessed it…quality omega-3 supplementation has been shown to lower triglyceride levels.

Essential fatty acids, support the contraction and expansion of blood vessels, blood coagulation, regulation of blood lipids (fats) in the body, and reduced inflammation.  They are cardioprotective, and insulin sensitising, as opposed to omega-6 fatty acids which are proinflammatory and increase the risk of cardiometabolic disorders and cancer [4] [7].

It is highly recommended that women of menopausal age adhere to a nutritious diet filled with beneficial foods, and natural food supplementation as required, in order to minimise the effects of lipid (fat) metabolism changes and the risk of elevated triglycerides and associated disease [4].  For most women this means:




Research has indicated that the influence of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet may affect osteoporosis in two identifiable ways.


Cytokines are critical messengers that watch over and regulate immune and inflammatory responses via complex networks and serve as biomarkers for many diseases [6].  Cytokines play an important role in our health, however an excessive pro-inflammatory response drives chronic inflammation and disrupts some of our biological pathways that support homeostasis (balance) within the body.  This lack of homeostasis is the springboard for disease. 

After menopause and in conjunction with aging, we often see an increase in cytokine reactions.  One way in which osteoporosis develops is via this increase in cytokines and subsequent upsurge in inflammation [5].

Calcium Absorption

The second suggested way in which omega-3 fatty acids support healthy bones is via effective calcium absorption.  We all know that Vitamin D is essential for bone health, however did you know that not everyone is actually utilising this vitamin to its full potential?  Essential fatty acids, in particular EPA and DHA, found in omega-3’s, are actually necessary for maximal Vitamin D absorption [5].  DHA and EPA work to decrease urinary calcium excretion, therefore increasing calcium absorption [5] and ultimately improving bone health.

It is believed that the same profound anti-inflammatory, health promoting effects of omega-3 fatty acids upon heart health and a host of other diseases and conditions, may also support diseases of the bones such as osteoporosis [5].  Although this is an area requiring more research, some studies have highlighted a connection between higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and improved bone turnover and bone mineral density [5].  These results are even more significant when a good quality omega-3 supplement is used in conjunction with a natural whole foods diet, high in bioavailable calcium.



Many women suffer from monthly cyclical pain either leading into their period or throughout the duration of their period.  It is here that I’d like to note, that although these symptoms are incredibly common, they are a far cry from normal.  Often, the symptoms we see during our initiation into our child bearing years are seen and felt again during perimenopause.  Many factors may influence the intensity of period cramping and pain, including dietary and lifestyle habits, however particular attention must been paid to omega-3 fatty acids and the omega 6:3 ratio within your body. 

One clinical trial completed in 2012, concluded that after 3 months supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, period pain intensity among trial participants was significantly lowered and the use of ibuprofen was reduced [9].

Another clinical trial [10] focusing on premenstrual syndrome produced the following hopeful results after 45 days of taking omega-3 supplementation:

And after 90 days of omega-3 supplementation…

This trial also concluded that as the length of duration of omega-3 supplementation was extended, so too were the positive effects upon PMS [10].



Were you aware that more than 50% of women, around menopausal age, suffer from joint pain, otherwise known as arthralgia?  Although difficulties lie in pinpointing perimenopause/menopause as a specific trigger due to the timing of menopause and the general rising incidence of chronic rheumatic conditions around this age [11], one thing is for sure…inflammation is a driver and the drop in oestrogen levels does not help!

The report by Malgorzata Magliano concludes that although there are no specific treatments for menopausal joint pain, women with vasomotor symptoms (meaning they have poor regulation or dilation of the blood vessels) may be more at risk [11].  As discussed under the heading ‘Triglycerides’ in this article… Essential fatty acids, support the contraction and expansion of blood vessels [4] [7], therefore supporting joint pain.  Pain reduced outcomes become even more significant when omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is used in conjunction with any necessary weight loss and regular physical exercise.

The prevalence of joint pain, in particular rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, is again highlighted in older adults in a paper published in 2021 [8].  This paper discusses findings on a substance called Oxylipin – which is a bioactive (has an effect on living tissue) lipid (fat) derived from omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  This lipid has the ability to either increase whole body inflammation, in the case of omega 6’s, or promote a decrease in inflammation, as seen with omega-3 fatty acids [8].

The interesting part of this study is that it reports that the oxylipins derived from omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, “potently” support healthy immune regulating actions including blocking the production of inflammation [8].

Results also illuminated a correlation between rheumatoid arthritis and increased omega 6:3 ratio.



Vaginal dryness is a common complaint associated with menopause.  The question is… Can omega-3 fatty acids help to improve lubrication and promote more joyful intimate interactions?

A number of factors during the menopause transition may be associated with changes in sexual function, including hormonal, psychological, relational and social factors.  Omega-3 fatty acids come to the fore by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the body.  These hormones play a significant role in both sexual function and mood [12]. 

Plus, some studies indicate that optimal levels of omega-3’s are associated with increased uterine blood flow, leading to enhanced sexual function [12] [13].

Furthermore, a study conducted in 2017 [14] suggests that DHA (from omega-3) could be effective in  balancing some perimenopausal symptoms and improving sexuality and quality of life [14].



Throughout life, especially during the menopausal transition and beyond, ensuring that our body is functioning optimally is crucial.  Part of this optimisation involves monitoring and balancing our omega 6:3 ratio of essential fatty acids (Essential… meaning they are essential for our body and we must consume them!).  If omega-3’s are low and omega-6’s are high then some or all of these symptoms, may very well be exacerbated, plus your risk of disease increases significantly.



Getting a clear picture of what your current fatty acid profile looks like is super simple.  A Zinzino Test Kit available at Radiate Wellness is all you need to get started.  Click the link HERE to find out more.


The quality of the omega-3 preparation is important. It should have an appropriate antioxidant content to ensure that these delicate essential fats do not oxidise (i.e. go rancid – which actually promotes inflammation).

Sources of omega-3 should be made from all natural ingredients, sourced from animals and plants found in their natural wild environment.

Look for polyphenol protection to protect your cells from rusting (oxidation).

I personally use and trust the Zinzino Balance + Oil and have noted fantastic results.


A Loving Disclaimer

Drawing on my background, training, skills and life experiences, I support my clients—spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I am not a medical doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist. I do not hold a degree in medicine, dietetics, or nutrition. I make no claims to any specialised medical training nor do I dispense medical advice or prescriptions.

This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational and self-empowerment purposes ONLY.

Please consult your doctor or wellness team if you have any questions regarding your wellness and supplements, and then make your well-informed decisions based on what is best for your unique genetics, culture, conditions and stage of life.



  1. Ciappolino, V., Mazzocchi, A., Enrico, P., Syren, M. L., Delvecchio, G., Agostoni, C., Brambilla.  (2018) N-3 Polyunsatured Fatty Acids in Menopausal Transition: A Systematic Review of Depressive and Cognitive Disorders with Accompanying Vasomotor Symptoms. doi: 10.3390/ijms19071849
  2. Freeman M.P., Hibbeln J.R., Silver M., Hirschberg A.M., Wang B., Yule A.M., Petrillo L.F., Pascuillo E., Economou N.I., Joffe H., et al. Omega-3 fatty acids for major depressive disorder associated with the menopausal transition: A preliminary open trial. Menopause. 2011;18:279–284. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181f2ea2e. 
  3. Patan, M., Kennedy, D., Husberg, C., Hustvedt, S., Calder, P., Middleton, B., Khan, J., Forster, J., Jackson, P.  (2021).  Differential Effects of DHA- and EPA-Rich Oils on Sleep in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.  doi: 10.3390/nu13010248
  4. Ko, s., Kim, H.  (2020).  Menopause-Associated Lipid Metabolic Disorders and Foods Beneficial for Postmenopausal Women.  doi: 10.3390/nu12010202
  5. Orchard, T., Pan, X., Cheek, F., Ing, S., Jackson, R.  (2012).  A systematic review of omega-3 fatty acids and osteoporosis.  doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001638
  6. Lui, C., Chu, D., Kalantar-Zadeh., George. J., Young, H., Lui. Guozhen.  (20201).  Cytokines: From Clinical Significance to Quantification.  doi: 10.1002/advs.202004433
  7. Zárate R, El Jaber-Vazdekis N, Tejera N, Pérez JA, Rodríguez C. Significance of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human health.  2017;6(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40169-017-0153-6 
  8. Coras, R., Pedersen, B., Narasimhan, R., Brandy, A., Mateo, L., Prior-Espanol, A., Kavanaugh, A., Armando, A., Jain, M., Quehenberger, O., A=Martinez-Morillo, M., Guma, M. (2021). Imbalance Between Omega-6- and Omega-3-Derived Bioactive Lipids in Arthritis in Older Adults.  doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa113
  9. Rahbar, N., Asgharzadeh, N., Ghorbani, R.  (2012).  Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on intensity of primary dysmenorrhea.  doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.11.019. 
  10. Sohrabi, N., Kashanian, M., Ghafoori, S., Malakouti, S.  (2012).  Evaluation of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: "a pilot trial”  DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.12.008
  11. Magliano, M. (2010).  Menopausal arthralgia: Fact or Fiction.  doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.04.009.
  12. Khanjari, Z., Iravani, M., Abedi, P., Ghanbari, S.  (2022).  Effect of Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on sexual function of pregnant women: a double blind randomized controlled trial doi: 10.1038/s41443-022-00598-w
  13. Saldeen., P. Saldeen, T.  (2004).  Women and omega-3 fatty acids. doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000140038.70473.96. Cicanci, A., Maiolino, L., Giunta, G., Rapisarda, A., Mauro, P., Caruso, S.  (2017).  Neurovegetative disorders of perimenopausal women treated with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 625 mg)  doi: 10.1080/09513590.2017.1334200.