This is an updated version of a this supplement post I published last year, when I was just starting to learn about natural hormone balance.
I’ve gained an immense amount of knowledge since then, and wanted to share a more relevant routine with you, so here are my Essential Vegan Supplements for Natural Hormone Balance! My book will go into more detail and go a step further with symptom-specific herbs and supplements, but these are the daily essentials that I wanted you to have.
Please read this entire post before asking questions!
Yes, I would prefer if we could obtain all of our essential vitamins and minerals from food, but because of modern farming practices, the soil that our produce grows in is often depleted of these nutrients. I do follow a plant based vegan lifestyle but even if you eat meat or dairy, that doesn’t mean you are getting everything you need. Vegans have to take extra precaution with vitamin B12, but hormone imbalance does not only affect vegans! So even if you eat super clean and healthy, you probably aren’t consuming enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals from food alone which makes supplementation important.
This regimen keeps my micronutrient levels in check and fills in gaps wherever needed.
But remember, supplementation will only work in conjunction with a healthy plant based diet with a variety of plant foods, exercise, proper sleep and healthy stress management. These supplements will not outwork a bad diet, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, overuse of endocrine-disrupting products or poor gut health, etc. They can be extremely beneficial when used alongside the things I mentioned above, but you can’t take a couple pills in the hopes that it will balance your hormones without changing anything else in your life. You know?!
You can incorporate all of these or start with a few, these are only my recommendations from what I’ve learned, for those who follow a primarily plant based diet. As always speak with your doctor or naturopath. I will list our the vitamin or mineral, tell you why and then link to the specific brands I use.
Why I don’t recommend multivitamins: Multivitamins usually contain more of what we don’t need and less of what we do need. I highly doubt your multivitamin has magnesium glycinate, iodine and selenium… all of which are essential for hormone balance. If it does then great, just pick and choose from the list below! I would rather get most of the nutrients that are in multivitamins from food sources (like vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium) and then, pick and choose where I really need to fill in, with the vitamins and minerals listed below.
Okay, lets get to it.
Essential Vegan Supplements for Natural Hormone Balance:
1. B vitamins:
Especially vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). Vitamin B12 is the most critical because plant based foods do not contain sufficient amounts to meet the requirements, even if you consume B12 fortified foods (like nutritional yeast, nut milks, cereals, etc). B-vitamins in general are imperative for the liver to be able to detox excess estrogen throughout your cycle which in turn, will immensely help reduce PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 in particular will help synthesize progesterone, lower inflammation, eliminate bloat and reduce sebum, which will help with acne and oily skin. To be safe, I like to take a high quality B-complex that contains all of the activated B vitamins, like the Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex Caps or B-Right from Jarrow Formula.
2. Magnesium Glycinate:
Magnesium is a mineral responsible for over 300 chemical reactions in your body, and most women are deficient!! Magnesium is THE primary go-to treatment for almost every period and hormonal problem including PMS, PCOS, thyroid conditions, perimenopause, HPA Axis Dysregulation (adrenal fatigue), anxiety, insomnia and high cortisol. Why? Because day-to-day stress causes your body to use up magnesium stores like crazy which is how we can easily and quickly become depleted, and this can lead to symptoms and hormonal conditions. Magnesium works alongside vitamin B6 to produce progesterone. It reduces inflammation and calms the nervous system. Magnesium glycinate is the best and most absorbable form for hormone health and restoring magnesium levels. Magnesium Citrate (which is what the CALM tea is formed from – blog post about it here), is more for digestion/constipation/bloating, and will not restore magnesium levels. I take Magnesium Glycinate every night before bed because it puts me right to sleep! I like the Solgar Chelated Magnesium, or the Viva Naturals Magnsium Biglycinate, and take 400 mg each night.
3. Vitamin D:
You can obtain vitamin D through non-dairy milk, and direct sunlight exposure will enhance your body’s natural vitamin D production, but if you live in a cold climate or have fair skin, it may still be difficult to source enough of this nutrient through diet alone. Be sure to look for a supplement that’s labeled as vegan, as many D3 supplements are animal-derived. I like the Suntrex D3 drops from Global Healing Center or the Country Life Vegan D3 supplements.
Zinc is another powerful essential mineral to improve period health and because your body cannot store zinc! It’s crucial for estrogen production and healthy maturation of follicles which promotes ovulation (which helps make progesterone in the luteal phase). Zinc is anti-inflammatory, boost immunity and connective tissue (maintains collagen) and helps regulate your menstrual cycle. Working with iodine and selenium (below), zinc is needed for synthesis and activation of thyroid hormones. It’s another front-line treatment for PCOS, endometriosis, acne, period pain and irregular cycles. You can safely take 30 mg of zinc citrate. When I’m just starting to feel sick, I will double my dose to boost immune function. I like the Solgar Zinc Citrate or the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc.
5. Iodine and Selenium:
Iodine is imperative for thyroid hormone production, immunity and brain function. It plays an important role in ovulation, breast health and ovary health as it down-regulates estrogen receptors, which protects your body from estrogen overload. Iodine has been shown to significantly reduce fibrocystic breast changes and decrease risk of breast cancer. It’s an excellent treatment for breast tenderness (I no longer suffer from this!), breast cysts, ovarian cysts, heavy periods, fluid retention and ovulation pain (mittelschmerz). Pairing iodine with selenium is highly recommended, as the combination will protect you from thyroid damage and over-stimulation. Take caution and speak to your doctor if you suffer from thyroid conditions, but it can be an amazing natural treatment to regulate thyroid hormones. The recommendations are liquid iodine in the form of of Potassium Iodide drops like those from Benevolent Nourishment or Nascent Iodine like Detoxadine from Global Healing Center. Pair that with selenium in the form of 1-2 raw brazil nuts per day. One brazil nut contains 90 micrograms of selenium, or 129 percent of the daily recommended intake. You can also get iodine through sprinkling kelp granules from the Sea Seasoning brand onto your food too, which I also do on occasion, (in small amounts so the taste is not overpowering).
Iron is not a mineral to be deficient in! We need iron to support thyroid hormone production, to make healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells and to transport oxygen from the lungs to the organs to the tissues throughout your body. I try to consume as much iron as I can from food sources, but I still take an iron supplement to be safe, for overall health, energy and well-being. If you feel fatigued, have difficulty focusing, shortness of breath, pale skin, difficulty staying warm, lack of endurance, muscle weakness, prolonged soreness, heart palpitations, brittle or ridged nails or if you get sick often, you may be anemic or low in iron. It’s important to get your levels checked (not just hemoglobin, but also your ferritin levels). I like the Megafood Blood Builder supplement or the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Iron.
7. Daily Probiotic:
Probiotics are essential to keep your gut flora happy which will reduce inflammation. This will help eliminate bloating and promote daily bowel movements which then helps eliminate excess estrogen (the cause of most PMS symptoms and hormonal conditions). There are millions of probiotic brands out there, but the only brands I trust are the Renew Life (the Extra Care 50 billion is vegan) or the Up4 Ultra Probiotics. Take before breakfast, with your morning water.
8. Algae-Derived DHA/EPA:
Many vegan dietitians recommend supplementing with DHA and/or EPA, because omega-3 fatty acids are harder to source and/or get enough of, through plant-based foods. DHA and EPA play an important role in fighting inflammation while also supporting mood, brain health and heart health. I prefer to get my omega-3’s through flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts but also supplement with the Nested Naturals Vegan Omega-3 or the DEVA Omega-3 DHA supplement every few days, for good measure.
I hope this was helpful!! These supplements can help support estrogen and progesterone ratios, to significantly improve your period and hormone health while reducing PMS symptoms. It is recommended to incorporate these supplements for 3 months before stopping or giving up, because it takes 100 days for new follicles to develop. Also, give it 3 months before incorporating too many other herbs or supplements. Keep a journal too, to document noticeable improvements!