Introduction to supplements for menopause belly fat
Reaching our 40s and 50s brings a whole new set of challenges when it comes to health and fitness. Despite our best efforts to eat right and exercise, many women find it easier than ever to put on extra pounds, especially around the midsection. The dreaded “menopause belly” is real and frustrating.
The hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause – falling estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels – trigger shifts in body fat storage. Research shows that declining estrogen is particularly tied to increased abdominal and visceral belly fat in women over 40.
Additionally, your metabolism can slow down by about 2-3% every decade. This means your body is burning fewer calories throughout the day, making it much easier to gain weight. Loss of muscle mass due to aging also reduces your resting metabolic rate.
Not to mention, stress levels tend to increase during midlife. This can disrupt hormones like cortisol and lead to more deep belly fat accumulation.
The good news? You don’t have to resign yourself to buying a whole new wardrobe. Targeted weight loss is possible if you know how to get your body and hormones working together again.
Along with following a healthy menopause diet and staying active, science shows certain supplements can safely support your fat loss goals after 50.
Let’s explore 14 of the top menopause supplements for losing stubborn belly fat and maintaining a healthy weight through perimenopause, menopause, and beyond.
1: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
What it is: CLA is a naturally occurring trans fat found in grass-fed beef, dairy, and poultry. Available in supplement form, it is among the most well-researched weight loss ingredients.
How it helps: CLA can help reduce body fat through several mechanisms:
Increasing basal metabolic rate and fat-burning
Blocking the production and storage of fat
Suppressing appetite to reduce calorie intake
Preventing fat accumulation in fat cells
Look for a CLA supplement delivering at least 3 grams daily to assist with weight loss. CLA is safe but can cause mild stomach upset in some.
2: Green Tea Extract
What it is: Green tea extract is a concentrated supplemental form containing compounds called catechins. The most researched catechin is EGCG, which has benefits for metabolism and fat burning.
How it helps: Research on green tea extract demonstrates it can:
- Increase the rate at which fat is broken down for fuel (fat oxidation)
- Boost thermogenesis and calorie-burning
- Suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake
- Shrink fat cells and reduce waist size and body fat
- Enhance exercise endurance for better workouts
Specific studies on postmenopausal women show beneficial effects on abdominal obesity. Look for a supplement delivering 400 to 500 mg EGCG and take it with breakfast. Green tea extract is very safe but does contain caffeine.
What it is: Chromium is an essential mineral that plays a role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. By improving the action of insulin, chromium helps control blood sugar levels.
How it helps: Getting enough chromium appears to support healthy body composition and weight loss:
- Balances blood glucose to prevent overeating and fat storage
- Reduces cravings, especially for carb-heavy foods
- Increases lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat
- Research shows chromium deficiency is tied to excess belly fat
Food sources of chromium include whole grains, broccoli, and meat. Supplements may help fill the gap. Take 200-400 mcg chromium picolinate daily. This form is well-absorbed.
What it is: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. About 99% of the calcium in your body resides in your bones and teeth to support their structure and density.
How it helps: Calcium supports several functions related to fat loss:
- Promotes the breakdown of fat for fuel
- Discourages fat accumulation and lipid production
- Increases thermogenesis and stimulates metabolism
- Helps reduce cortisol levels to decrease belly fat
- Research ties low calcium intake to greater abdominal adiposity
Calcium from supplements or calcium-rich foods like yogurt, milk, and leafy greens may support weight control. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily from a mix of food and supplements.
5: Whey Protein
What it is: Whey protein comes from dairy and is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. It is quickly digested and absorbed by the body.
How it helps: Consuming whey protein provides many benefits that aid weight loss:
- Boosts muscle protein synthesis to increase lean muscle mass
- Reduces appetite and promotes feeling full after meals
- May increase resting metabolic rate and calorie-burning
- Improves body composition by decreasing fat and increasing lean mass
- Helps maintain muscle and a revved metabolism during weight loss
Research shows whey protein is more effective for weight control compared to other protein sources. Consume 20-30 grams of protein in shakes or snacks daily.
6: Fish Oil/Omega-3s
What it is: Fish oil provides the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Cold water fatty fish like salmon and tuna are among the best food sources.
How it helps: Omega-3s benefit weight loss and body composition in a few key ways:
- Reduce inflammation that contributes to obesity
- Improve hormone balance to reduce belly fat storage
- Optimize levels of leptin to reduce appetite
- Increase fat-burning and resting metabolism
- Preserve and build muscle mass
For weight loss, aim for 2 to 3 grams of total EPA+DHA from fish oil daily. If using capsules, choose a quality oil without a fishy aftertaste.
What it is: Glutamine is a key amino acid involved in protein metabolism, gut health, and immune function. Your body makes glutamine on its own, but supplementing can be beneficial.
How it helps: Research on glutamine for weight loss is promising:
- Converts readily into fuel for the body to burn as energy
- Improves body composition and decreases fat mass
- Triggers growth hormone release for increased fat-burning
- Helps reduce sugar and carb cravings
- Promotes muscle protein synthesis to build lean mass
Glutamine can improve gut health by reducing inflammation linked to belly fat gain. Take 5,000 to 10,000 mg of powder or capsules daily.
What it is: Zinc is an essential trace mineral with roles in immune health, protein synthesis, DNA, and metabolic function. Oysters have the most zinc per serving.
How it helps: Studies link zinc deficiency with increased visceral fat accumulation and obesity:
- Plays a role in fat breakdown and energy metabolism
- Improves blood sugar control to reduce fat storage
- Corrects leptin and appetite hormone imbalances
- Boosts testosterone in women, which decreases with age
- Deficiency linked to more belly fat and insulin resistance
Eat zinc foods and/or take 30-50 mg of supplemental zinc daily to aid weight loss. This is safe for most women.
9: Maca Root
What it is: Maca is a Peruvian root veggie that is dried and ground into powder. Maca is considered an adaptogenic herb and is gaining popularity.
How it helps: Early research suggests maca may help with body composition and weight loss:
- Alleviates hot flashes and improves hormone balance
- Increases energy levels to improve workout performance
- Reduces waist circumference and abdominal fat
- Improves BMI and body fat percentage
- Decreases cravings for sweets
Look for maca powder or capsules providing 1,500 to 3,000 mg daily. Maca is generally safe and well-tolerated.
What it is: Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber derived from the konjac root. It is one of the most viscous and bulking fibers known.
How it helps: By forming a gel in your digestive tract, glucomannan promotes weight loss by:
- Promoting feelings of fullness and satiety
- Delaying stomach emptying to reduce food intake
- Supporting healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
- Feeding good gut bacteria linked to lower weight
- Reduces absorption of fat and protein calories
For weight loss, take 2 to 4 grams of glucomannan powder or capsules with water before meals. It is generally well tolerated.
What it is: Carnitine is an amino acid that plays an essential role in energy production. It helps transport fatty acids into cells to be burned for fuel.
How it helps: Supplementing with carnitine aids weight loss through:
- Increasing fat burning and breakdown
- Improving endurance and workout performance
- Reducing fat mass while preserving muscle
- Supporting healthy blood sugar control
- Research shows it specifically reduces abdominal fat
Take 500 mg L-carnitine before exercise and up to 2,000 mg daily for weight loss support. Look for L-carnitine tartrate or L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT).
What it is: Forskolin is a natural compound derived from the Coleus forskohlii root. It has been used medicinally for centuries and has gained fame as a weight loss aid.
How it helps: Researchers have found that forskolin:
- Increases fat-burning and lipolysis
- Boosts cellular levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)
- Can specifically target abdominal fat loss
- Prevents new fat formation and storage
- Increases bone mineral density
Look for a Coleus forskohlii supplement delivering 50 mg forskolin, 2 to 3 times daily. It may cause flushing or low blood pressure.
13: HMB (Beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate)
What it is: HMB is a byproduct of the amino acid leucine. Your body produces small amounts of HMB naturally when it breaks down leucine.
How it helps: Studies show HMB supplementation can:
- Increase strength, muscle gains, and exercise performance
- Reduce muscle breakdown from exercise and weight loss
- Increase fat oxidation and healthy metabolism
- Lead to greater reductions in body fat percentage
- Result in more lean muscle retention during calorie restriction
Take 1 to 3 grams of HMB powder or capsules daily. Spread doses throughout the day for best results.
14: Green Coffee Bean Extract
What it is: Green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee beans. Green coffee bean extract provides beneficial plant compounds like chlorogenic acid.
How it helps: By regulating blood sugar and metabolism, green coffee bean shows the potential to:
- Reduce the absorption of fat and glucose
- Increase fat metabolization in the liver
- Provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits
- Improve body composition by decreasing body fat
- Clinical studies show fat reductions in as little as 4 weeks
Take 400-600 mg of green coffee bean extract capsules daily before meals. Avoid caffeine-sensitive side effects by starting with a lower dose.
Lifestyle Strategies: The Menopause Belly Fat 1-2 Punch
While supplementation can provide key nutrients to support your fat loss goals, don’t underestimate the power of diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle strategies during menopause:
- Follow a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Emphasize lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs while limiting sugar and alcohol.
- Engage in regular exercise. Mix up cardio, strength training, and HIIT workouts. Stay active daily.
- Reduce stress. Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing, massage, and other relaxing activities.
- Get enough sleep. Stick to a regular sleep-wake cycle and aim for 7-9 hours per night.
- Drink water. Stay well hydrated by sipping water all day long.
Consult Your Doctor Before Supplementing
Always talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your routine. They can review your health history, risk factors, and medications and help determine which options are right for your individual needs. Bloodwork can also identify any nutritional deficiencies to address.
With consistency, hard work, and a few metabolism-boosting supplements on your side, you can overcome menopause belly fat and feel fabulous at 50 and beyond. Don’t wait to take control of your health, hormones, and body composition.