If you’re looking for the best vitex supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Vitex Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Vitex Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Way Vitex||More Info|
|#2||Gaia Herbs Vitex Berry||More Info|
|#3||Pure Encapsulations – Chaste Tree (Vitex)||More Info|
|#4||VH Nutrition Vitex – Chaste Tree Berry||More Info|
|#5||Pure Mountain Botanicals Chaste Tree Capsules||More Info|
|#6||Solaray Vitex Chaste Berry Extract||More Info|
|#7||Real Herbs Vitex Chasteberry||More Info|
|#8||Puritan’s Pride Vitex Chaste Tree||More Info|
|#9||GNC Herbal Plus Chasteberry||More Info|
|#10||Now Foods Chaste Berry Vitex||More Info|
Vitex is a small, brown berry about the size of a peppercorn. It has been used for centuries to support women’s hormone balance and breast milk production. Vitex is believed to regulate the pituitary gland and therefore helps to regulate hormone production. It is often taken for premenstrual stress syndrome, breast pain, milk production, reproductive issues and irregular, heavy or light periods.
What is Vitex (Chaste Berry)?
Vitex agnus-castus, chasteberry or chaste tree is native to Greece and Italy. It is now grown in North America and Asia as well. It is part of the Verbenaceae plant family. It is a small deciduous shrub with spike-shaped, lavender-colored flowers. The fruit, roots and leaves of the plant are used in medicines, with the fruit being considered more potent.
It has been used since ancient times, often as an anaphrodisiac. Monks consumed the berries to help maintain celibacy. It was also used in ancient Greece for sexual dysfunction, menstrual issues and general inflammation. It was also used to promote chastity in young females, hence its common name chasteberry. Iranians have used it for over 2,000 years to encourage breast milk production. The berry was re-introduced as a supplement in the 1950s by a German pharmaceutical company.
Its primary method of action is that it binds to opiate receptors in the brain and supports the pituitary gland in its production of hormones. The pituitary gland sends signals to the ovaries regarding hormone production. This process is known as the feedback loop. The pituitary gland produces prolactin, which inhibits ovulation. Vitex increases the amount of progesterone by reducing prolactin and encouraging ovulation. This is a natural process but can become off balance in certain women. Since it supports the body’s natural system, it can take three to six months to see results.
Benefits of Vitex
Many studies suggest that vitex is helpful for PMS symptoms. Most PMS-related symptoms are due to a hormonal imbalance. Many test subjects reported a 50 percent decrease in PMS symptoms. One reason it is believed to work is due to its dopaminergic compounds. These dopaminergic compounds reduce prolactin levels, which are typically elevated during PMS. Vitex may help balance progesterone and estrogen levels.
Increased prolactin levels may also trigger breast tenderness, also known as mastalgia. Over 50 percent of women experience mastalgia before their menstrual cycle. Vitex’s ability to reduce prolactin production can help decrease the sensitivity of breasts. Women saw a decrease in migraines, mood swings and many other PMS-related issues. This same effect is also seen with hot flashes.
Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms can be partially alleviated with vitex. Menopause is said to occur 12 months after the last period. It typically occurs in the late 40s or early 50s in most women. The primary menopausal symptoms that were relieved with vitex are hot flashes and sleep pattern disturbances. Vitex is most commonly taken with black cohosh for increased menopause symptom relief.
Another menstrual cycle condition that can be treated with vitex is amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is when the menstrual cycle stops suddenly for no apparent reason. One cause of amenorrhea is increased prolactin levels. Hence, vitex can be a helpful component in rebalancing hormone levels.
Many people also take vitex when stopping birth control pills. Vitex can help ease and speed the transition back to a normal cycle. Some practitioners suggest waiting to take vitex for a few months after stopping birth control pills. This will give the body time to adjust naturally. If periods are still not regular after a few months it may be advisable to take vitex.
In many countries, including Germany, vitex is also used to help reduce uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that can change the shape and size of the uterus. Proper hormonal balance is key in reducing and treating uterine fibrosis. Vitex can play an important role in the balance of progesterone and estrogen. It is best to consult a practitioner before taking vitex for uterine fibrosis.
Vitex is also used in Europe to promote breast milk production. Several studies have shown that vitex can increase milk production in women with or without pregnancy complications.
Vitex may also be useful to increase chances of conception. For women who experience luteal phase defect, vitex has shown some positive results. Luteal phase defect is when the second half of the menstrual cycle is shorter than normal and insufficient progesterone is released. In several studies, most women saw a normalized luteal phase, and several even became pregnant.
Vitex, however, is not just for women. Men can also use vitex to help treat enlarged prostates. Vitex seems to aid in the reduction in the size of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is an age-related enlargement of the prostate.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Vitex is generally considered safe. It is always advisable to speak with a physician before starting any supplements. Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions unless otherwise instructed to do so by a qualified practitioner.
Even though vitex is taken for hormone-related conditions, it can have the opposite of the desired effect. In some cases, it may cause the hormone levels to swing too far in the wrong direction or cause the body to create too much estrogen or progesterone. Some women notice a change in the menstrual flow after taking vitex.
It may also interfere with in vitro fertilization procedures. It is also not recommended to give to women under 18 years of age, as their bodies are still developing. It may cause disturbance to the natural flow of communication between their pituitary gland and ovaries.
Those with mental conditions should avoid taking vitex. Since vitex affects dopamine levels, those taking anti-depressants or medications for mental conditions that decrease dopamine levels should be careful when taking vitex. If in doubt, consult a physician.
General side-effects including nausea, headaches and rash have been reported, but are uncommon.
There are not enough studies to indicate conclusively whether vitex is safe for pregnant or nursing mothers. It is, therefore, advisable to speak with a physician first.
How to Take Vitex
Vitex is commonly found in capsule form. It is also available as a tincture, tea, herb and powder forms. Capsules and tinctures often provide more standardized dosing, while tea and herb forms can vary from batch to batch. Alcohol extracts make certain components of herbs easier for the body to absorb. However, vitex is bitter tasting and, for many, capsules are easier to take.
It is usually recommended to take vitex first thing in the morning before food. This is the time of day when the pituitary gland is most receptive. An average dose is typically 150 mg to 2,000 mg. Doses vary depending on the usage. Larger doses are often split into multiple servings taken throughout the day.
Vitex does not work overnight. Most individuals need to take vitex for two to six months to see results. Unlike synthetic hormones or harsher medications, vitex is supportive to the body. It helps to harmonize and balance. Long-term balance can often be gained with vitex.
Often PMS symptoms are alleviated after the second cycle. For a long-term change to happen, it may need to be taken for six months.
What to Look for in a Good Vitex Product
Vitex is typically found in capsule form. Capsules can be gelatin or cellulose based. The cellulose capsules will be ideal for vegetarians and possibly vegans. Read the ingredient list for fillers or other additives. Many brands will have lesser amounts of other ingredients to maintain freshness. There are brands without any other ingredients or fillers, but they are less common.
Tinctures are a concentrated way to consume good-quality supplements. They can taste herbal or bitter. They are usually alcohol extracts, but glycerin extracts are available.
Sticking with well-known and high-rated brands is usually a smart way to ensure the quality of the herbs.