Taking Vitex (Chasteberry) with Vitamin B6 for PMS and Fertility
Vitex (also known as chasteberry or agnus castus) is a herb that balances estrogen and progesterone in women, as well as regulating the luteal phase that facilitates ovulation. It can correct hormonal imbalances that cause symptoms of PMS and serve as a fertility aid.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the production of enzymes that assist in the body’s digestion and utilization of protein. It also helps to maintain serotonin and dopamine levels and offsets symptoms of mood and bloating caused by PMS, making it an ideal companion to take alongside Vitex.
Decide on a Reputable Brand
With such choice available online and in health stores, finding the right brand can be a bewildering task. Talk to your local independent health store advisor, and do a web search of users forums. These are particularly helpful ways of finding out what brands to avoid, and which have worked particularly well for other people.
It is best to spend more money on a quality, reputable brand. Look for a product that is organic, synergistic (contains all the medicinal properties of the whole plant), and free of soya and sugar.
To purchase Vitex of the purest qualilty, consult a herbalist or nutritional therapist, who supply the herb in its whole, raw form. They will also monitor your response to the treatment.
Taking the Vitex/Vitamin B6 Combination
Both Vitex and vitamin B6 are available in capsule or tincture form. Some people prefer to dissolve the liquid supplement in a little juice or some water, while others prefer the convenience of a tablet form. This is an individual choice.
If using a tincture, measure 10-15 drops into an egg-cup of water or fruit juice, stir, and drink immediately.
If using capsules, check the dosage and make sure that it adds up to 1,000mg in the morning and in the evening. That is, take x4 250mg capsules, x2 500mg capsules, or one 1,000mg capsule.
Take the vitex 1 hour before food, to allow it to be absorbed.
How to take the Combination to Alleviate PMS or to Improve Fertility
Take 1,000mg of Vitex in the morning and in the evening, throughout the entire cycle. Take 50 mg vitamin B6 in the morning, and a vitamin Bcomplex (50mg) in the evening, to keep the other B vitamins in balance.
Take 1,000 mg of Vitex in the morning and evening from day 1 of the cycle until 14 days before your next period is due (or the end of ovulation). If you have a 28-day cycle, stop taking it on day 14. If you have a 32-day cycle, stop taking it on day 18, and so on.
Take 50 mg vitamin B6 in the morning, and 50mg vitamin BComplex in the evening, throughout the whole cycle and into pregnancy, if it occurs.
Keep a Diary
Keep a diary of your emotional and physical symptoms daily, and review it every month. Look particularly at days 10-14 of your cycle (ovulation) and the week before you menstruate. Make a note of improvemements or symptoms that worsen.
If spotting starts to occur during your cycle, or you experience pain during ovulation, it may mean that your prolactin levels are too high, and that Vitex is not an appropriate supplement for your individual hormone patterns. If this occurs, stop taking the Vitex but continue with the Vitamin B6 (which is water soluble and easily excreted from the body), and see if this symptom goes away.
If you find that you are more depressed and moody in the week before your period, it may mean that the Vitex is causing an imbalance between progesterone and oestrogen levels prior to menstruation. It is important to remember that although Vitex is a hormone balancer, every woman's body and hormonal pattern is individual, and may not respond well to certain supplements.
Again, try discontinuing the Vitex, keep taking the Vitamin B6, and see if symptoms improve.
If no new symptoms occur, but no improvement takes place after 4 monthly reviews of your existing symptoms, consult your gp and ask for a referral to a gynaecologist or an endocrinologist, who can make a more in-depth examination of your hormone levels, and advise on other ways of balancing them.
Although Vitex contains no hormones, it is best not to take it if you are receiving IVF, as it may alter your body's receptivity to the treatment.
Tingling/numbness can occur in the arms and legs from excess levels of vitamin B6. If this happens, stop or reduce your dose. Report the symptoms to your doctor if they do not subside after one week.