Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's That Pill? - Vitex

Vitex, chasteberry, agnus castus, chaste tree, Abraham's balm, monk's pepper

Typical dosage
Capsule Form: Capsule form is the most widely used and studied form of Vitex. Nature's Way brand suggests 400mg 2x daily for 8-12 weeks, then once daily for continued maintenance. (This worked for me)
Natural-Fertility-Info.com suggests 1000mg daily, except during menstruation.
Tincture Form: 10-15 drops daily.
**I often see questions about taking Vitex during menstruation. Some bottles of Vitex say not to, while others don't mention it at all. I have been unable to find any substantial evidence pointing one way or another. Dalene Barton from Natural-fertility-info.com says "It is not going to hurt you to use Vitex during your period, we just feel it is best to let your body naturally cleanse and work on its own during the female bleeding time. Some herbalists feel it is fine to use Vitex during the female bleeding time." If it is easier for you to remember to take them everyday instead of stopping during menses, that's okay! **

Chasteberry induces the pituitary gland to free a lutenizing hormone (LH) and stop a follicle-stimulating (FSH) one. Vitex contains an active ingredient that binds to dopamine (D2) receptors in the hypothalamus/anterior pituitary, which action inhibits the release of prolactin. Decreased serum prolactin levels result in increased secretion of progesterone during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Vitex can help normalize the ratio of hormones required for normal menstrual function and fertility. Chasteberry can help to lower prolactin levels and aid in the normal functioning of the ovaries, thus providing opportunities for conception. High prolactin levels can also cause amenorrhea (absent menstrual cycles) (Vitamins-Supplements.org)
Vitex works slowly in the body, so do not expect permanent results for 1 to 6 months after beginning Vitex.
Translation - Vitex helps normalize your menstrual cycle by evening out your hormones. Increasing lutenizing hormones will assist with ovulation. High prolactin levels can stop your menstrual cycle. By restricting the release of prolactin, progesterone levels will increase, assisting in bringing on a menstrual cycle or helping carry a pregnancy.

My experience
I took Nature's Way brand capsules for 13 months. I had gone without a period for 19 months before that. I was only on Vitex for about a week and a half before I had a menstrual cycle. Every month following, my cycle would come back and get a little more normal. I had a cycle every month for 12 months.

Other's experiences
Do you want to share your vitex story, good or bad? Please email me! courtneylwallace(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject 'Vitex Experience'

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