With a previous career in narrative research, Rebekah Brown has a pre-existing skillset in helping companies to better understand consumers.
So after unsuccessfully seeking help for symptoms at the age of 43, Brown took matters into her own hands, utilising her skills in narrative research to find a solution.
A personal quest
“Seven years ago, I hadn't even heard the word perimenopause, so I had no idea that there was this life stage that we go through,” she explains.
“I was putting on weight, my hair was falling out, I wasn't sleeping. I became concerned I had something wrong with my brain,” she explained.
Yet when describing symptoms to medical professionals, she notes: “Like many women in our community, because I was 43, I was told I was too young to be menopausal and probably I was burnt out, because I ran a business, because I've got kids, I've got ageing parents, as many of us do at this point in their life.”
She continues: “I declined the offer of antidepressants, I knew that I wasn't depressed and that something else was going on.
“Because I'm a researcher, there's nothing I love better than getting into the weeds of things.
“As I learned more about this natural transition our bodies go through, I started looking into people at the forefront of research, those digging into hormone management and the biochemistry of the female body, which remains woefully under-researched.”
She started finding her way into functional medicine conferences and meeting with acupuncturists, naturopaths, and nutritionists, as well as medical graduates who were coming out of university for a better understanding of nutrition.
From there, she started blending her own menopause powder at home with a dehydration machine, making use of herbs and foods with recorded therapeutic effects.
“It all tasted disgusting, but I was feeling better,” she muses.
A community launch
One night Brown set up an Instagram account to see if any other women would be happy to discuss similar experiences. Overnight, an online community was born, with women getting in touch to share their perimenopausal stories.
Brown explains that she had this huge body of research and wanted to create something that could serve more people and this led her to the creation of MPowder.
Now, MPowder’s recipes are formulated by its naturopathic, herbalist, and lifestyle medicine experts, guided by peer-reviewed clinical testing of functional food, vitamins, and botanicals, as well as direct questionnaire feedback from consumer tracking studies.
The inaugural product and consistent best-seller, ‘Peri-Boost’ aims to address an array of symptoms: anxiety, bloating, hormonal equilibrium, skin elasticity, sleep quality, fatigue, and joint discomfort.
Drawing from a pool of 29 scientifically validated wholefood-driven components, including DracoBelle Nu, flaxseeds, moringa leaf, cacao, pea protein, soya isoflavones, and ginger root, the supplement boasts a complex formulation that also provides vitamins A, D, E, K2, B6, B12, and magnesium.
The powder is designed to fit into existing morning rituals, as an addition to drinks, smoothies, or breakfast bowls.
Since MPowder’s launch, two other products have joined the range.
‘Meno-Boost’ is designed to target a range of symptoms including hot flashes, weight concerns, energy levels, sleep quality, anxiety, brain fog, libido, blood pressure, and heart health. It contains 36 whole food-led ingredients, including ashwagandha, maca, lemon balm, rosehip, slippery elm, and red clover.
And a couple of weeks ago, the brand launched its first capsule supplement called ‘Mood-Food,’ based on the consumers' responses they had gathered over the last two and half years of tracking symptoms.
Brown explains: “We realised that there are these cluster symptoms that we didn’t realise tend to come together as a result of our hormonal pathways.
“Mood boost looks to tackle anxiety, cognitive function, and poor sleep, as they tend to be the most persistent issues across the 10 years of a menopause journey.”
She continues: “We wouldn’t have known that had we not been tracking and talking to our consumers all the time.
“We’re very conscious it’s the women’s generosity of spirit and desire to help each other, along with very open-minded practitioners who are prepared to collaborate across different disciplines which has enabled this product to develop.”
The sticking points
Even amongst MPowder’s success, Brown notes that there have been difficulties in its launch.
She explains: "There are well-documented challenges being a female founder in terms of where the investment goes.
“On top of that, you're talking about a sticky topic, where many of the people sitting opposite you won’t experience it and have no concept of its impact.
“That's been tricky, but I kind of relished it. I feel like in a weird way that's part of the retraining needs to happen.”