Amberen Menopause Review

Have you heard the radio ads for Amberen? Amberen, is a supplement that’s supposed to be a natural remedy for menopause. Most of the ads I’ve heard included a testimonial from a registered nurse. That got me curious as I usually don’t hear nurses touting supplements. Another thing that made me want to write an Amberen review  was that I discovered that most of the info on Amberen online seemed to be written for the sole purpose of selling Amberen to women. Some websites even say Amberen is the fountain of youth! I know that’s not true, but can Amberen provide menopause relief? I wanted to write a review on Amberen, based on the clinical research I could find, and along the way, help women answer some questions that they may be wondering about.

Amberen research

The Amberen website says that “Amberen has been clinically tested and extensively studied for over 30 years“. There are studies listed on the Amberen website. Let’s look at each study briefly and see what we can find out about them.

2008 Amberen study. A Succinate-Based Composition Reverses Menopausal Symptoms Without Sex Hormone Therapy. This is a lab rat study. Amberen was given to older laboratory mice for 4 weeks. Amberen treatment was noted to improve several menopausal symptoms in the mice.  The study was supported by Lunada Biomedical, makers of Amberen and published in Advanced in Gerontology, 21,2 298-305 (2008).

2007 Amberen study. A Succinate-Based Composition ”Rejuvenates” Aging Mice and Alleviates Menopausal Symptoms in Women Without Sex Hormone Replacement Therapy. This study was a little hard to find. The citation on the Amberen website lists  “Medline”  as the source of the study but it is actually the “Russian” version of medline – Medline.Ru where the study is found.  This study appears to be the very same study as the 2008 study mentioned above.

I think the studies are the same because the authors for this 2007 study are the same as the 2008 study. It just seems to be published in a different journal. This 2007 study was published in Gerontology Endocrinology, vol. 8, Art. 46, pp. 497-517.

2005 Amberen study. Succinate-Based Preparation Alleviates Manifestations of the Climacteric Syndrome in Women.

Here is the first page of the 2005 Amberen study. I was unable to find a full text version of the study online. Basically, 70 women were given either an Amberen like preparation or placebo for 3 weeks. Those receiving Amberen appeared to improve more than those who got the placebo.  Study was published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine (September 2005), 140 (3), pg. 312-314.

Several of the authors of this study were the same as those in the 2007 and 2008 studies.

The 5 year study. The Amberen website also lists a “5 year study”.  But no details of this study are given. As such it is hard to say how good it is or how the study was performed. This may not be a published peer reviewed study since I cannot find any citation for where the study was published.

The 4 week animal study. The Amberen website lists a 4 week study of older laboratory mice. No details are given about this study,  but  it sounds similar  to the 2007 and 2008 Amberen mice studies mentioned above. I  could not tell for sure since no details about this study were listed. This may not be a published peer reviewed study.

The 6 week animal study. Again, the Amberen website gives no details about this study other than that Amberen was given to older female mice for 6 weeks and it helped them.

The studies of Amberen’s ingredients are also listed on the Amberen website. ALL of these studies appear to be investigating one specific ingredient in Amberen called , succinic acid (also called succinate) –  and not Amberen itself.

The studies of the Amberen ingredients (specifically succinate acid) date back to 1972 while the studies on Amberen itself dont seem to begin until 2005. This is how they are able to say that” Amberen has been clinically tested and extensively studied for over 30 years.” It’s over 30 years if you include in the studies on the ingredients (specifically succinic acid).


Succinic acid is compound formed during the Krebs cycle. This is the aerobic energy system that we all use when we break down fats and carbs (sugars) aerobically. That’s not really important but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone wondered.

Amberen Trivia: Amberen gets its name from succinic acid. An older name for succinic acid is “Amber Acid”.


Amberen ingredients

According to the Amberen website (AmberenOnline.com) I find that Amberen is composed of the following active ingredients:

  1. Ammonium succinate
  2. Calcium disuccinate
  3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  4. Glycine
  5. Magnesium disuccinate
  6. Zinc disuccinate hydrate
  7. Tocopherol acetate

Since this is a proprietary blend, the label only says that each of these ingredients adds up to 400 mg (in 2 capsules). We are not told how much of each ingredient is in Amberen.

Let’s now look at each ingredient separately.

Ammonium succinate

This is likely the succinate that has received most of the research since the 1970s. When I Googled ammonium succinate, practically everything I saw had to do with Amberen.

The “ingredient studies” on the Amberen website are ALL on succinate. Therefore, I believe succinate is the main active ingredient in Amberen.

When I the searched the national library of medicine for ammonium succinate and menapause” I discovered the 2008  study summarized above.

This study does indicate that it was supported and initiated by the makers of Amberen, Lunada Biomedical.  That’s not really a bad thing. I appreciate it when a company supports research on their supplements -most companies do not do this.

Tip. if you read through the comments you will find women who say that an anti-hangover supplement called RU-21 helped their hot flashes. RU21 contains 200 mg  of succinic acid. I have no idea if it helps hangovers (or hot flashes) but RU-21 is less expensive than Amberen.  While I can’t guarantee that it will work for everybody, here is RU-21 on Amazon  and here is Amberen on Amazon for those who are interested.

Calcium disuccinate

This is just another name for the mineral, calcium. The addition of calcium to Amberen does make some sense given that low calcium levels seem to increase PMS symptoms. But studies on this issue tend to use more calcium than is found in Amberen (about 1ooo mg/day). Less calcium may also work but I could not find any research on this.

Monosodium glutamate

This is MSG, a popular food additive and is something to think about if you are sensitive to MSG. MSG can cause headaches in some people.  If you read the comments section below, you will see that some people have reported headaches after taking Amberen. Other side effects of MSG can include, heart palpitations, sweating, facial numbness and chest pain.

Monosodium glutamate is related to the non essential amino acid, glutamine. Bodybuilders often like glutamine supplements because they think it will help them recover faster following hard core exercise sessions. For more on glutamine, read my review of glutamine supplements.   Exercise not withstanding, the question is, would glutamine (or MSG) help women recover faster from PMS or menopausal symptoms? I’m not sure because I can’t find any research one way or another.

Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid (non essential amino acid, meaning we make this in our body). There is some evidence that glycine may help memory in both young and middle age adults. Since some women report memory problems with menopause, this may be why glycine was added to Amberen. People with schizophrenia should avoid glycine. Glycine may make schizophrenia worse when combined with schizophrenia medications.

Magnesium disuccinate

This is another name for the mineral, magnesium. There are a few studies that magnesium might help with PMS symptoms like fluid weight gain and mood changes. Studies are far from complete and tend to use more magnesium than is in Amberen, but the research does exist.

Zinc disuccinate hydrate

This is the mineral, zinc. Zinc might help muscle cramping. I could not find any specific research on zinc helping PMS or menopausal symptoms. In those who eat well, being deficient in zinc is rare in the USA. Some may have heard that zinc is needed in women who take birth control pills. But, according to one study, there is no good proof that that oral contraceptives cause zinc deficiency. Keep in mind that zinc supplements might reduce HDL levels (“good cholesterol”). Amberen likely has very little zinc but the RDA for zinc is 8 mg/day in women.  As such, its  pretty easy to get more than the recommended daily allowance.

Tocopherol acetate

Most know by its usual name – vitamin E. There is not much evidence one way or another when it comes to vitamin E and menopause symptoms. A t least one study noted that vitamin E did not help hot flashes. I feel the jury is out on this issue until better studies can be done.

Because vitamin E is an antioxidant, its sometimes added to a supplement to help the product from spoiling. I’m obviously guessing, but this may be why Amberen has vitamin E.

Can Amberen reduce belly fat?

Amberen radio commercials state that Amberen targets “stubborn belly fat.” From the research that I have seen there appears to be no proof of this statement. If Amberen really did promote fat loss from the belly, it would mean Amberen was capable of spot reduction. There is no credible proof for spot reduction. I don’t know why the makers of Amberen are trying to promote it as a weight loss supplement. Amberen is a menopause supplement, not a weight loss supplement. None of the research I have seen shows that Amberen helps weight loss in the belly – or anywhere else.

Amberen side effects

So far no studies have reported bad side effects from taking Amberen. If you have had Amberen side effects please comment so other women can benefit from you.

Amberen & Carol Nicholson

Carol Nicholson (Carol Nicholson-Kriegel), a registered nurse, is often heard in the Amberen radio commercials. She is also featured  in a video clip on the Amberen website. Carol is identified on the Amberen website as “our menopause expert”. In the video, Carol indicates that in addition to being a registered nurse, she also owns an advertising agency and indicates that she “is in the natural products industry“. Carol also has a blog on the Amberen site.

I noticed  as I watched the video clip of Carol, that her voice doesn’t sound like the voice I’ve heard many times on the Amberen radio commercials. Just something that occurred to me.

Does Amberen work?

Based on what I could find, it seems that there are currently 3 published peer reviewed studies on Amberen itself. The first study was done in 2005.  All of the studies I found were conducted by basically the same group of people. All studies appear to have been performed in Russia. If Amberen works, it seems to me that the ingredient called succinic acid is the active ingredient. You may be able to get succinic acid on Amazon.com.

I have no proof either way that the other Amberen ingredients offer any advantage over just taking succinic acid. Succinic acid supplements are available and cost less than Amberen. If Amberen really works it would be interesting to see how it compares to women who only take succinic acid.

It’s hard to tell whether Amberen will help  all women with menopause or not. In theory there may be something to Amberen but how much it help might vary. While I have some reservations about the Amberen research, the studies (while fewer in number) do exist and that does set Amberen apart from many of its counterparts. Amberen is on Amazon for those who want to try it out.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Jane says

    I had several very adverse reactions to Amberen and would NOT recommend it to anyone! Problems I experienced included: severe dizziness, extreme fatigue, mental disorientation, weakness, and drowsiness. I also gained 5 unwelcome pounds in a month!

    Upon doing some Internet research, I’ve come to believe the main problem behind all these symptoms was the MSG (which incidentally is used in labs to cause rats to gain weight). In one of the 3 calls I made to the company’s nurses during the month I tried Amberen, they claimed they’d never had anyone have an adverse reaction to the MSG (which frankly I doubt is true).

    I also noticed the nurses didn’t seem to have extensive knowledge of their own product (e.g., they didn’t know if it increases testosterone in women), and I think they should have told me to discontinue it immediately when I first reported such adverse effects, instead of recommending I take it every other day.

    And I realize I should have discontinued it myself, but I wanted to give it a good try, after investing so much money and having experienced long-term, severe menopausal symptoms, which have seemed largely impervious to other treatments I’ve tried.

    I heard tonight the FDA has approved a new drug for menopausal symptoms (an SSRI, I understand), which I will definitely NOT be trying, because I think a more natural approach would be far less likely to cause problems. So, my quest continues!

    • Joe says

      Jane, for what it’s worth I’ve also wondered about the nurses who field calls at Amberen. Are they RN’s, LPNs nurse practitioners (does anybody know?). Nobody has ever told me the nurses said stop to taking Amberen when they call with problems. The idea of having nurses field calls (rather than call center people) is a great idea but I wonder how much autonomy the nurses have in what they can say.

      • marcy says

        I am a nurse and work for lunada. We are all licensed nurses who take nurse consults. We provided proof of licensing upon our positions for lunada. We always try our best to give safe and effective advice to our clients. Clients seldom tell their doctors about taking amberen and some fear admitting taking amberen to their doctors. This causes some to ignore important chronic illnesses they may have.

        Lunada nurses can not give medical advice over a phone. Therefore some clients become unsatisfied when nurses tell them to talk with their doctors before using amberen. I stand by amberen and use it myself. It works.

        • Joe says

          Macy, thanks for writing. Are the nurses RNs, LPNs, nurse practitioners or a mix of the three? Do you all work at the Lunada building or at a call center? Just tryig to get an idea how questions are fielded.

  2. Marcia Kamps says

    I gave Amberen six expensive months to work…all I can say is it’s a rip off and the ads on radio and television are untrue. My hot flashes are MUCH worse, sleep is harder to come by, belly fat is NOT dropping off even with exercise and a sensible diet, energy levels are not higher, and libido is not enhanced. DO NOT waste your money on this product. I waited too long and can’t get a refund…don’t make the same mistake.

  3. Cheryl says

    I have been taking amberen for two weeks now and my symptoms have gotten worse. I now wake up every hour with hot flashes and have 5 to 6 a day. I also gained 2 pounds. I doubled my dosage yesterday and I seem to be worse. I know we are in the middle of a heatwave in NJ but before amberen I was waking up only 2 to 3 times a night and only 1 to 2 hot flashes a day.
    I’m going to discontinue use of this product and get my money back. I’m glad I found this site and I’m not the only one who had adverse reactions to amberen.

  4. revgirl says

    For hot flash relief I took regular dose for 3 weeks – no reduction at all, so started taking double-dose. Hot flashes totally disappeared after another week. Have been double-dosing for 2.5 weeks now and am hot-flash free. Not sure if it’s worth the very high price – guess I’ll figure it out once I take the recommended break.

  5. Joann says

    I have been taking Amberin for over two years for 3 months than off for about 9 months before my perimenopause symptoms come back. It really works for me and the only side effect is typically the first 30 days I get an upset stomach for about 15 minutes after taking it. It takes about a month of taking Amberin before I start to see a difference in the symptoms.

  6. M.E. says

    I ordered Amberen as a last-ditch effort to get some sleep and relief from hot flashes. After about 10 days, frequency of hot flashes significantly decreased. At the end of 3 months, I reorderd Amberen, but I didn’t get it before my first batch ran out. Within 3-4 days, I started getting hot flashes again and having trouble sleeping. Just got the new box today.

    My question is: How long can you continue to take it? I don’t have any noticeable side effects.

    • Joe says

      M.E. I have no idea how long people can take Amberen. I have not heard anything bad happening from long term use if that makes you feel better. Run the ingredients past a pharmacist and see what they think.

  7. says

    Hi all – Wow & Thanks! for all of the information, research & comments. This is an amazing site. I was looking at taking Amberen just for belly fat weight loss. all of this information has helped me decide to Not take the Amberen and to continue with the natural approach that I’ve been working on slowly but surely. Thanks again! Melanie :

  8. Wendy says

    I am an Amberen success story. In a matter of a week my horrendous hot flashes ceased and my night sweats reduced until eventually they stopped. After taking Amberen for 4-5 weeks my night sweats have returned so I am going to double up for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference. I will keep you all posted.

  9. Donna M says

    I tried Amberen for over 90 days and didn’t find any of their professed results of help with hot flashes, weight loss or improved sleep patterns. Shortly after I discontinued the product I noticed increased light and sound sensitivity, tinnitus and then constant (24/7) dizziness….a feeling like I just stepped off the boat and my head/eyes are having trouble functioning.

    It has been over a year and a half searching with specialists and physical therapists all over the country to find the cure/cause for my symptoms. I had to stop working at a company I had been with for over 27 years because I could no longer sit behind the computer screen all day.

    Although I cannot probably prove that Amberen is responsible, I am highly suspicious based on the timing of the events.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I would recommend this product to anyone.

    • Joe says

      Donna, I am so sorry you have been going through all of that! I sincerely hope you find an answer to what is ailing you.

    • Bethany M. says

      I finished 90 days of Amberen (hot flashes did subside). I have been off for 3 days and am having very unpleasant heart palpitations, tinnitus, foggy dizziness, very achy legs, anxiety.

      Rebound effect?

      (Rebound effect of Prozac is, if you go off cold turkey, symptoms come back much worse than before. Took me years of roller-coastering to figure that out and understand it. Wondering if I’ve got myself into trouble again.)

      • Joe says

        Bethany, that’s strange. I dont think any one has said that before. I’m going to say go to your doctor today. I have no idea what is going on. I wish I had a better answer for you.

  10. Linda says

    I have ordered two 3-month supplies of Amberen, taking off a month between each three-month course. I’m 63 and can honestly say that I love taking this product. Not only did I lose 12 lbs (and have kept it off), but my mood and libido improved dramatically!

    My only concern is if there would be any negative side effects with continuing to take it after laying off of it for a month. I called the “nurse” and of course she advised it would be okay to take it again. Have to agree with above comments about a nurse making these calls without really knowing the person, etc.

    So I guess one has to be smart and read all the pros and cons and decide what is best for them. As I indicated, I really like the way this product makes me feel (and so do the people around me)! It works for me!

  11. brenda says

    I used Amberen for the 90 day course then went off as directed. I had some relief from symptoms of sleeplessness, etc. Shortly after I stopped taking it, I developed symptoms of heart palpitations, fatigue, emotional extremes. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Graves disease, a condition that includes hyperthyroid conditions, I now will have my thyroid oblated, and my health has been terrible. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

    • Joe says

      Brenda, Ive never heard of hyperthyroid or Graves disease being associated with Amberen. None of the studies I saw when I reviewed it mentioned it either. I’m at a loss as to whether it was a strange coincidence or if there was a connection? Hoping others will weigh in on this if it happened to them.

      Really sorry to hear this happened to you..

  12. melissa says

    I started taking amberen in June 2013 I noticed results after taking double doses after about three weeks. I decided to go to single dose two times a day and then down to just once a day. Doing the once a day was not enough the hot flashes came back just as bad as before I started taking it.

    Ordered more and have been taking double for almost three weeks and have found nighttime hot flashes not as severe but daytime there is little improvement we will see if after another week they lessen otherwise I am at my wits end this was pretty much my last resort I’ve tried every herbal and natural remedy I could find and none of them made a difference

    Estroven did work for about a month then I broke out in hives so I am afraid to try that again so far no real adverse side affects from amberen except constipation. Which is sort of miserable. Just thought I’d throw my hat into the ring on the subject

  13. Lesley says

    Like all supplements and drugs, the research is always done by who ever has the most to gain. Directly or indirectly. You dig deep and far enough you will always find the research is funded by those who will profit the most.

    Hot flashes, like periods, come then go. it is part of being a woman. You can however manage the severity of the symptoms with a good, fresh, organic when you can, diet, exercise and what I found was Omegas 3’s, fish oils, etc.

    My own experiment, and using friends and family, (very scientific!) all found that symptoms were greatly reduced by just upping your oil intake. Because society has everyone on a low fat diet, our brains are no longer working at capacity because it is starved of good healthy oils. Getting oils into your bodies, either from capsules or foods; fish, avocados, olive and vegetable oils etc. will greatly reduce moods swings, hot flashes, ached and pains, and you will sleep better.

  14. Lisa says

    I tried Amberen about a year ago and it did not seem to help any of my symptoms, so I sent it back. Then a few weeks ago I decided to give it another try as my hot flashes had gotten worse since the last time I tried it, so I thought maybe it would help me this time. Well, big mistake.

    After taking it for 8 days, I started getting headaches, dizziness, palpitations and what I would describe as panic attacks. I also had pressure in my face, chills, and my teeth were sensitive. The panic attacks happened while I was driving and I thought I might have an accident. I have never felt like this before and do not take anything else.

    I thought I was having stroke or something, but the dr ruled that out so I can only say it has to be the Amberen. It will be a week tomorrow that I discontinued it and I still feel like im in a cloud, its a little better but I still will not drive till its all cleared up. My dr said it should be out of my system within a week and not to take it anymore.

    I researched it and it seems that MSG can cause all of the symptoms I am having. This is what I believe it to be. I will never take it again and I didn’t get my money back, They told me only one refund per household. See my husband purchased it for me the first time and I purchased it the second but they said no.

    Would not recommend to anyone as MSG is so bad for you. I hope my symptoms go away soon. I have already had one trip to the Dr. and so much money lost already.

    • Joe says

      Lisa, really sorry that happened to you! Thanks for letting everybody know about the 1 refund per household policy. I didn’t know that.

      • Lisa says

        Yes, Still does not seem legitimate to me, if two different people order a product they should both have to same right to return it. I probably should look into this further. I have lost $89.00 and my sense of well being along with it. I am still struggling to get it out of my system.

        Today is day 7 since I stopped taking it and I’m better but I can still feel it. They say that there are no known side effects, however, with so many people complaining of side effects, how come they do not take that into consideration.

        This is the strangest, scariest feeling I have ever had. I would rather have the hot flashes.

        • Joe says

          Lisa I do hope you feel better soon. I think you are the first person to have these odd side effects, which I’m sure is little consolation.

          • Bethany M. says

            I am having some of the same symptoms since stopping Amberen 3 days ago. I just commented a few posts up, regarding possible rebound effect. It wasn’t till today that I made the connection — thought I was depressed & panicky because of situational issues — which really aren’t worth panicking about. The heart palpitations started today (after 2 days of depression, fatigue, achy legs) — which led me to this site by googling “amberen withdrawal.”

            Anyhow, if Lisa is the first to have these side effects, then I’m the second. It’s just that I’m having them after going off the product!

            I did have some bouts with very sore gums while on Amberen, and I’ve developed a weird numbness in one side of my face that comes & goes — hadn’t associated that with Amberen before.

  15. Kelly Morris says

    I’ve been on Amberen for 6 months and have had great relief from my menopause symptoms. I was having at least five hot flashes a night and about that many or more a day, now I occasionally have one a night. I was feeling terrible, I think mostly from lack of sleep, and a friend recommended Amberen. I was ready to try anything, including hormones if necessary, but fortunately Amberen has worked for me. I didn’t realize people cycle on and off of it until now, but I don’t want symptoms coming back so I’m just staying on it.

  16. Cheryl says

    I went back to amberen, just to start losing weight again, since it is the only thing that seems to work for me.

    I am so grateful that I found this review, because it opened my eyes as to why it is working, and it is probably the succinic acid, because I am taking all the other ingredients in my daily vitamin, minus the MSG which is something I never wanted to take. In view of the fact that I take the other ingredients I never lost weight from any of them so it must be the succinic acid.

    I never had hot flashes or night sweats like most menopausal women, I took it to lose the weight, and it works for me. However, it is only temporary, because I start gaining it back within three months regardless of a strict diet.

    When women are desperate, they will try anything for relief. For temporary relief it works, but I think diet and exercise would work just as well, just at a slower rate.

  17. Cheryl says

    I tried just succinic acid, and I have already lost 2 lbs from the 20 lb weight gain from menopause.

    Thank you so much for blogging on Amberen. You have helped me more than 2 doctors I had seen, who diagnosed me with hashimotos, and syndrome X, along with a high sugar level. It turns out I do not have any of those diseases. They both told me I had a chronic health problem. Oh really? I think that I just have a hormonal imbalance, and this might just work for me.

    It is a funny thing, if you do enough research, you can help yourself much more than any doctor can. I think they are trained to over-diagnosis, which can be very dangerous.

    • Joe says

      Cheryl, you are very welcome and I wish you continued success with succinic acid. keep me posted on your progress.

  18. Delphiene Martin says

    I did a chat with an Amberen associate and she said “Monosodium L-Glutamate is a salt of an amino acid, which functions as a neurotransmitter and also regulates the chemical reactions of transamination. We use a safe, small amount (40mg per each dose of Amberen) of pharmaceutical-grade bioactive Monosodium L-Glutamate, which is very different from the quality and quantity of MSG used in processed foods.”

    I would think that MSG is MSG no matter what your quality is.
    I will definitely take a look at the succinic for my friends and family who are having issues with menopause.

    I am 58 and started going to a Maximized Living clinic several years ago and thankfully I bypassed the menopause symptoms of the hot flashes and weight gain.

    • Cheryl says

      I am having a very hard time losing menopausal weight. I am taking Succinic all by itself, but it does not work like Amberen. I have taken amberen for many years and lost a lot of weight, but one day I just gained 20 lbs in a week and it is taking forever to lose again. I eat right and work out everyday, but nothing seems to work.

      Do you have any suggestions for me? Nobody seems to be able to help, especially not practitioners. I do not like the MSG in the formula either.

  19. mommywithsix says

    I took Amberen when I was about 49. It really helped with the whole gamut of perimenopausal symptoms I was having at the time. It especially helped with mood and weight gain issues. I took two or three (can’t remember) courses of it with a breather in between.

    Since then the gamut of menopausal symptoms have slowly returned, especially the belly fat, sleep issues and night sweats. Mood is not so much an issue this time. I’ve decided to give it another go since I had a good response the first time. (I lost about 7-8 pounds while on it before and they stayed off for several years after stopping the Amberen.)

    I will be extra careful to get a refund within the allotted time, if needed, as a result of reading this blog. I will be trying Succinic after this round, either way, whether the Amberen works or not.

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