Vitex can be a great help for women with a number of different conditions and in a number of different situations. However, we do not recommend Vitex to those who have been diagnosed with PCOS, except in one specific circumstance, which we will explain below.
Vitex is a fantastic tool - it’s well-researched and evidenced as being helpful for women with problematic menstrual cycles - but, as with any herb or supplement, it does not have a chance of helping you if it’s the only thing you choose to change about your daily routine. Any kind of period or cycle-related problem needs to be addressed from a functional medicine perspective - food first, then supplements, then specifically targeted lifestyle hacks, which means living in your FLO. Supplements of any kind are best seen as a way to super-charge your other efforts with diet and lifestyle changes. They are never a solution in themselves.
Why most women with PCOS shouldn’t use Vitex
Vitex increases progesterone levels by increasing LH (luteinizing hormone) levels, and it suppresses prolactin levels. The result is increased ovulatory cycles. This sounds like a perfect scenario for PCOS sufferers, but there’s a problem. Vitex can actually worsen PCOS for some because their LH levels are already high. If you know your LH level is high (if you don’t know, ask for a hormone panel blood test from your doctor), you should not use Vitex. Most women have the kind of PCOS that is insulin-resistant and comes with high LH, and should avoid Vitex.
When you should take Vitex if you have PCOS
If you have PCOS with normal LH levels and high prolactin levels, you might consider using Vitex. You can have your prolactin levels tested by your doctor. This kind of PCOS has a different root cause, usually inflammation from allergens like dairy and gluten, or as the result of using the birth control pill. Vitex in this case can help to suppress prolactin levels and increase ovulatory cycles.
But Vitex is a slow-acting herb. You will need to commit to taking it for up to 3 months to see any change in your cycles or improvement of symptoms. Be sure to purchase Vitex from a reputable, long-standing supplement company like Gaia, so you know you are getting a potent formulation, without fillers.
What to take instead of Vitex to manage your PCOS
There are several kinds of PCOS, but these two supplements will work for any woman with the condition. They will work best in conjunction with the FLO Living diet and lifestyle protocol.