The 12 Best Natural Supplements for Hirsutism
Hirsutism is a condition, that causes male-pattern hair growth in women and can range in severity, symptoms and its impact on the patient’s mental health. While some women may not be as bothered and find the condition manageable, it may lead others into depression and social anxiety. In addition to drugs and cosmetic treatment, natural supplements for hirsutism are often recommended, which help lower the level of testosterone in females. In a majority of cases the root cause of hirsutism is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Excess Testosterone in Females
Sex hormones fall into two basic categories:
Female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone
Male hormones (androgens), like testosterone
Both are present in varying amounts in females and males. An excess amount of testosterone in females or an excess amount of estrogen in males causes hormonal imbalance and cause various conditions. High levels of androgens in women can cause polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hirsutism.
In order to treat those conditions So what are the best supplements for hirsutism and PCOS? The answer is: It depends. A hormonal imbalance can have various causes and you should talk to your doctor, if you are a woman and notice symptoms like male-pattern hair growth, irregular periods, or acne. It is vital to understand the cause of excess testosterone and treat it accordingly following the recommendations of a medical professional.
A number of natural supplements for hirsutism and PCOS can compliment the therapy and help with hormonal imbalance and its symptoms. Those anti-androgen supplements reduce or block the effects of male hormones.
Natural Supplements for Hirsutism
Want to reduce your hirsutism symptoms in 8 weeks? Zinc might just do the trick. According to a placebo-controlled clinical trial, PCOS women who supplemented 50mg of zinc a day saw a significant reduction of hirsutism symptoms within two months. Zinc decreases androgens and increases progesterone.
Progesterone is an ovarian hormone produced by the ovaries during the menstrual cycle. If a woman’s progesterone levels are low, which can lead to problems with ovulation (PCOS), testosterone levels rise. This can lead to the development of symptoms like acne and hirsutism. Progesterone also inhibits 5-alpha reductase and blocks androgen receptors. It can be supplemented. Besides the capsules, there is also progesterone cream.
3. Spearmint (Mentha Spicata)
Early studies indicate, that women with hirsutism, were able to reduce the levels of free and total testosterone in their blood with spearmint herbal tea. Women experienced a statistically significant amount decrease in male hormone levels in only 30 days. Spearmint tea was found to be a promising treatment option. Spearmint oil has also been researched in a recent study and shows potential.
4. Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushrooms have been used to treat infections in Asian countries for hundreds of years and are said to have immune-boosting and also androgenic effects. Reishi inhibits 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme, that turns testosterone into DHT and has an anti-androgenic effect in the body.This may help to ease the symptoms or PCOS, hirsutism and acne.
5. DIM (diindolylmethane)
DIM is derived from vegetables like broccoli or kale and blocks androgen receptors. It may be helpful for PCOS symptoms like hirsutism, cause selective estrogen activation and anti-androgen effects.
6. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Like DIM, saw palmetto is sometimes suggested as a herbal remedy for hirsutism caused by PCOS, as it is asid to lower the levels of male hormones in the body. Some clinical trials have led to skeptiscism however as there was no difference in comparison to placebo in clinical trials.
7. Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
High levels of prolactin can cause androgen excess. Vitex agnus-castus regulates and lowers prolactin. The anti-androgenic effect can help with hirsutism symptoms.
8. White Peony & Licorice
While peony has long been popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is often combined with licorice for maximum benefit. The combination has been shown to help increase low progesterone, reduce elevated androgen levels and regulate prolactin and estrogen levels.
9. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black cohosh is another herb with anti-androgenic effects. Don’t take it, if you have liver disease or a clotting disorder and make sure consult your doctor.
10. Lavender and Tea Tree Oils
A preliminary study suggests, that applying lavender and tea tree oils locally on the skin may reduce mild idiopathic hirsutism.
11. Honorary Mention: Melatonin
Early studies suggest, that melatonin could be a therapeutic agent for women affected by PCOS. Lower melatonin levels have been observed in women with hirsutism caused by PCOS, not in those with idiopathic hirsutism, which means that only the first group may experience the suggested positive effects.
12. Honorary Mention: Maca
There’s a lot of discussion and buzz at the moment around whether or not the maca root can help with hirsutism symptoms. Maca contains many chemicals, including fatty acids and amino acids and many women say, they’ve experienced improvements with regards to PCOS and associated symptoms. Those effects, however, are not backed by much medical research at this point in time.
Overview of the Effects of Plant Derived Anti-Androgens
It is important to understand the effects of different natural supplements on the body in order to evaluate, whether or not a certain supplement may be a useful in the treatment of hirsutism. The overview below was created as part of a study and can help you get an overview, which can be useful during a consultation with your doctor.
- Red Reishi (GAndoderma lucid): Reduction in 5-alpha-reductase enzyme activity, reduction in DHT levels
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Reduction in total testosterone levels
- White Peony (Paenonia lactiflora): Inhibits production of testosterone and promotes: aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen
- Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis): Inhibits 5-alpha reductase and reduces conversion of testosterone into DHT
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata): Decrease in free testosterone, increase in LH, FSH and estradiol
- Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa): Inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells and kills androgen-responsive and unresponsive human prostate cancer cells
- Chaste Tree (Vital agnuscastus): Helps with PMS, cyclical breast pain, reduction of mild hyperprolactinemia
- Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens): Treatment of nocturne in the context of BPH
The Best Natural Remedies for Hirsutism? Diet and Exercise
A first recommendation for obese women suffering from hirsutism is often weight loss, which can help balance the hormones. No matter whether you struggle with your weight or not, a balanced diet can help you on your journey to hormonal health and beyond. Incorporating foods, known to help regulate your hormone levels, into your diet can help you feel good, look good and treat hirsutism at the same time. Some of our favorite foods for a “hirsutism-optimized” diet include:
Cinnamon may be benefitial as it helps to increase insulin sensitivity. Great news, if you enjoy a yummy cinnamon roll every once in a while.
A polyphenol found in green tea may influence the production and action of androgens, which suggests, that it may be a helpful for treating hirsutism. As mentioned earlier spearmint tea is also highly recommended.
Licorice. You either love it or hate it. If you love it though, you’re in luck, as medical studies have shown, that licorice is great for women struggling with PCOS and hirsutism.
Women with PCOS and hirsutism tend to release too much insulin. This causes the ovaries to overproduce testosterone. Magnesium helps to regulate insulent and may therefore be helpful. Magnesium-rich foods include greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Exercise and particularly yoga has also been proven to be beneficial according to studies.
How long does it take to see a difference?
Unfortunately with hirsutism it can take many months for you to see an improvement. Some women find the symptoms more manageable than others.
As it can take up to a year to see results, many see an aesthetician for waxing or laser hair removal. While this does not cure the hormonal imbalance or root cause of the condition, this self-care can prevent further psychological problems like social anxiety and depression.
As mentioned earlier, natural supplements are no stand-alone therapy for hirsutism, but can be a part of a holistic therapy. It is crucial to understand the underlying cause of the hormonal imbalance and you should consult your doctor to get the best treatment and find the best supplements for hirsutism in your particular case.
Have you tried any of the supplements mentioned above? Please comment and share your experience!