Do you suffer from poor sleep, anxiety, headaches, migraines, spotting and irregular periods? These symptoms can often be signs pf perimenopause and low progesterone. When I started noticing some of these symptoms, I began to try Vitex and after 1 month, my sleep had improved and my cycle regulated.
Vitex, also known as Chasteberry which comes from the Chaste Tree, has been used for centuries as a female balancing herb. It is known as the progesterone enhancing herb but has no direct hormonal activity and is not phyto-estrogenic, like plant estrogens such as flaxseed and soy that can impact estrogen levels in the body). Chasteberry is not a hormone, but rather a herb that helps the body make its own levels of progesterone. This makes chasteberry a very gentle and effective way to increase progesterone naturally.
According to Dr. Christianne Northrup, “Vitex has been shown to have a profound effect on pituitary function, increasing the secretion of LH (luteinizing hormone) and decreasing the production of FSH (follicular stimulating hormone),which in turn shifts the production of hormones toward more progesterone and less estrogen. This is thought to be the main reason why it helps balance the irregular periods that result from hormonal swings of perimenopause.” This improved balanced of progesterone and estrogen can also be significant for women who experience estrogen dominant symptoms and conditions.
Vitex also blocks the production of prolactin which is often high in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), who have excess facial hair growth and in women who struggle with fertility. Prolactin levels are also often found to be high in women with underactive thyroid. It can take some time for prolactin levels to drop when using Vitex but with regular use, estrogen : progesterone can find better balance.
Vitex can be very helpful to relieve PMS (breast tenderness, edema, tension, headaches, irritability, constipation, depression, mood swings and hormonal acne), especially if many of these symptoms are a result of low progesterone and excess estrogen. We find these symptoms also worsen when eating a high sugar, refined carbohydrate, insulin spiking diet as elevated insulin increases estrogen, further tipping the balance. Vitex is probably one of the most effective PMS remedies that has been used for thousands of years.
In Sexy Hormones by Lorna Vanderhaegue, she shares the many ways Vitex can help support women:
And for any men reading this, Vitex also showsto improve an enlarged prostate!
The recommended amount to take is 150-250mg/day, and up to 400mg a day for PMS.You can purchase Vitex/Chasteberry in any health food or supplement store and follow the recommended dose on the bottle. It can take 1-3 cycles to really notice the difference, but if used regularly it could make a world of difference. Whether you experience symptoms of PMS, perimenopause or menopause, or any hormonal related issues in between, Vitex may just become your new best friend!
Yours in health & vitality,