The Lowdown on Vitex
I see a lot of women posting questions about Vitex, or mentioning that they are already taking Vitex. While I am not a doctor and I do not know your health history and current medications, I would always suggest to do your own research before taking ANYTHING. Yes, even a natural supplement.
Vitex, or Chaste Tree Berry, is often taken due to its ability to promote ovulation. Vitex can do this through a number of ways, essentially all through acting on your hormones. Because PCOS causes such a complex imbalance of hormones and can be different from woman to woman, I would highly recommend talking to your doctor before taking Vitex. Why, you ask? Vitex can elevate certain hormone levels (such as LH, or luteinizing hormone) which may already be elevated in conditions like PCOS. It is SO important to maintain balance in your hormones, so make sure that if you decide to take Vitex you are still maintaining a healthy hormone balance.
This is not my field of expertise, so I wanted to recommend a few articles to help you in your research on Vitex before making any decisions.
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Vitex for Period Problems
- Vitex and PCOS: Solution for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Vitex Aids Fertility and PCOS
- The Right Way to Use Vitex For Your Hormones
- Is Vitex a Remedy for PCOS?
- Herbal Medicine: Vitex: The Hormone Balancing Herb
I’ve also included some of the known and researched side effects below your information.
Side Effects (from WebMD)
“Vitex agnus-castus fruit is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. Uncommon side effects include upset stomach, nausea, itching, rash, headaches, acne, trouble sleeping, and weight gain. Some women notice a change in menstrual flow when they start taking vitex agnus-castus. Vitex-agnus-castus seed extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Using vitex agnus-castus during pregnancy or breastfeeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. The concern is that vitex agnus-castus can interfere with hormones. Don’t use vitex agnus-castus if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Hormone-sensitive condition such as endometriosis; uterine fibroids; or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries: Vitex agnus-castus can affect hormones and might affect estrogen levels. Don’t use vitex agnus-castus if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.
In vitro fertilization: Vitex agnus-castus can interfere with the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization. Don’t use vitex agnus-castus if you are undergoing this procedure.”
Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the full list of drug interactions that may occur with Vitex. An important interaction I’d like to point out here, is the potential interaction with Vitex and birth control (oral contraceptives). Because Vitex acts on your hormones, it can interfere with birth controls containing estrogen/progestin. (Remember that Vitex promotes ovulation, and it does so by working with the hormone progesterone and a long list of other hormones). If you are NOT trying to get pregnant (which I realize is probably why you are on birth control), just be sure that you are aware of this interaction and are taking measures to protect yourself against unplanned pregnancy. If you ARE trying to get pregnant, good luck to you and you don’t have to worry about this one 😊.
Ultimately, you should be aware of all of the potential advantages and disadvantages of everything you put into your body. I hope this helped you make a decision one way or another, or at least helped you to want to have a conversation with your doctor about taking Vitex.
If you’ve decided to start taking Vitex, you can find a few reputable brands with a good dosage here. (PS, not an affiliate link, just a recommendation for my homies!).
If anyone is currently taking or has previously taken Vitex, I’d love to hear about your experience! Comment below!