Vitex Supplements - The Right Way to Use Vitex for Your Hormones

last updated on
June 16, 2023
by
Alisa Vitti

What is Vitex?

The herb Vitex is also known as Chaste Tree or Chasteberry, and it originates from a small shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. The fruits of this shrub have been used for more than 2500 years as a natural treatment for female fertility and hormonal health. Vitex is a popular herbal supplement commonly used by women to regulate their menstrual cycle and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

As a result of the many studies that have proven its effectiveness, Vitex has now become one of the most popular herbal remedies for hormonal imbalance. If you’re seeking natural treatment for PMS, infertility, PCOS, or Endometriosis - it’s likely that you’ve come across Vitex. It is most readily available to us in an herbal supplement tablet or tincture form.

Does Vitex resolve hormonal imbalance or help infertility?

Vitex supports your pituitary gland to produce progesterone and luteinizing hormone - both of which are necessary for your body to ovulate, for regular menstrual cycles, and for you to avoid symptoms of hormonal imbalance like PMS.

When a woman is progesterone deficient (or estrogen dominant, to put it another way) and has what is known as a luteal phase defect, Vitex can support her endocrine system to create more progesterone, encourage regular ovulation, and help develop a healthy cycle. This will help balance out the estrogen dominance that is at the root of many of cycle issues.

The pituitary gland is also called the “master” gland and it talks to the ovaries, letting them know how much hormones to make. Vitex works on the pituitary gland's functioning, enhancing its ability to do this work. So, Vitex can be an effective and often successful natural treatment to have at your disposal when facing cycle problems. However, Vitex is a short-term solution to some hormonal imbalance issues. It can act like jumper cables to the pituitary gland and stimulate it to make the right level of hormones again.

However, Vitex alone will not fix a hormone imbalance or issues like infertility, PMS, PCOS, or Endometriosis long-term, if you do not also change your internal hormonal ecosystem with nutrition, which includes micro and macronutrient therapy. If you don’t address your hormonal ecosystem as a whole, you may see changes within the prescribed timeframe (although Vitex is less likely to be successful), but when you come off of it (which you will eventually want to), your symptoms and problems will return.

Supporting your whole system by eating the right foods at the right times (aka The Cycle Syncing® Method), and taking the right nutrients to address the root causes of your unique hormone imbalances in the first place, will provide your body with the building blocks it needs. Take our free hormone health assessment to get a report of your current hormonal health along with a personalize care plan.

When should you use Vitex?

There are certain times in a woman’s life when Vitex can be very helpful as part of a hormonally-supportive diet and lifestyle.  

1. After using the birth control pill, Vitex is effective at supporting the body’s return to natural hormone production and cycling. If you come off the birth control pill and find your periods do not return within a few months, Vitex is an effective natural treatment option.

2. When you are entering the second stage of perimenopause and find that your cycles are becoming more irregular, Vitex can help to regulate your cycles and  decrease the symptoms associated with perimenopause in your 40s. When you have PMS symptoms like acne and breast tenderness as the result of a progesterone deficiency and estrogen dominance, Vitex can boost the body’s production of progesterone and ease these issues.

3. When you’re trying to get pregnant, Vitex supports regular ovulation. If you’re experiencing frequent annovulatory cycles, you can take this natural treatment to support the return of your fertility.

4. When you’re suffering with the symptoms of mild Endometriosis. In some European countries, Vitex is commonly prescribed for this hormonal health issue.

5. When you want to breastfeed. For many years, Vitex has been used to increase the production of breastmilk post-partum, although you would only use it short term.

How should you use Vitex?

How long does it take for Vitex to start working? Vitex is a relatively slow-acting herb, therefore you need to commit to taking it for up to 6 months to see any change in your cycles or improvement of symptoms. This is also a reason why Vitex is not an easy treatment option compared to food therapy, as you have to take this herb every day for such a long time and that can be tough to remember to do. If you do want to try this route, we advise taking Vitex for up to 6 months and then see how you feel without the Vitex. FYI, It is normal to take Vitex even when on your period.

You should not use Vitex if you are currently on hormonal birth control (it won’t have any impact on your hormones, as the synthetic hormones from birth control replaces your body’s natural hormone production and suppresses the endocrine system).

You should also not take Vitex if you’re using IVF drugs already as this can cause over-stimulation to the ovaries. It is less commonly known and important to understand that using Vitex when you have a history of depression can cause your depression symptoms to worsen. So, be cautious if your PMS commonly includes feeling really low and depressed, rather than anxiety, irritation or fatigue.

Be sure to buy Vitex from a reputable, long-standing supplement company like Gaia so you know you are getting a potent formulation, without fillers. Vitex will not be a successful natural treatment for you if it is the only thing you change about your daily habits. If you do not feed your body with hormonally-supportive foods and avoid processed products, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy and gluten, then Vitex cannot work miracles! As far as how much Vitex to take, follow the instructions and guidance on the bottle and from your healthcare provider.

We recommend that you have the Flo Living protocol already in play when you start using Vitex as an additional booster. Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side.

How to Know if Vitex is Working 

If a woman is taking Vitex, she can tell if it is working by monitoring her menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms. Vitex typically takes a few menstrual cycles to start having an effect, so it is important to be patient and consistent with taking the supplement. If a woman notices a decrease in PMS symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and mood swings, and an improvement in the regularity and length of her menstrual cycle, these may be signs that Vitex is working for her. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Integrative Nutritionist, Author, & Founder of FLO Living

Alisa Vitti

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