Purpose: Menopause is associated with well described symptomatic issues for women that affect health, fitness and quality of life, especially in the psychological domain. Many menopausal women exercise yet note that results both in the physical as well as psychological dimension lag behind results that were typical or expected before menopause. This study assessed the effect on these variables of a unique nutritional supplement based upon the polyphenol-rich citrus phytonutrient Bergamot when consumed by already exercising women.
Methods: Eighteen (n=18) women matched for exercise and menopausal status were prospectively randomized and assigned to a placebo or intervention product group. Prior to the intervention period, initial study parameters included results for the Utian Quality Of Life scale and a battery of physiological and performance measures. Participants consumed either the active product or a matched placebo for eight weeks and then all study parameters were retested.
Results: As measured by the physiological testing battery and when compared to the placebo group, participants consuming active product demonstrated statistically significant improvement in muscular power, endurance and energy system fitness including anaerobic threshold and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 Max). The Utian Quality Of Life (UQOL) survey also showed dramatic improvement in the total UQOL or overall mood/outlook rating (+15%), Health QOL (+15.3%), Emotional QOL (+14.3%) and Sexual QOL (+9.7%).
Conclusion: Based upon previous polyphenol research, these results were consistent with expected physiological improvements likely due to decreased inflammation and increased ability to perform physical work. However, the results in the psychological dimensions were most noticeable and promising because menopausal women typically report little changes in these measures despite trying a wide variety of interventions. This study demonstrated that while a proprietary high concentration bergamot combination can beneficially influence physiological results from exercise, more interesting is the increase in positive mood state of post-menopausal women. Further research should be undertaken to further explore the breadth of the health benefits found in this beta study.
Keywords: Menopause, Women, Mood, Polyphenol, Fitness, Health