Top 10 Supplements for Women's Hormones

Let's talk about my favorite supplements for women's hormonal health

Curious about supplements for women? This article includes 10 favorite supplements when it comes to women's health and hormones.

By Chelsey Richardson, DNP, ARNP, FNP

I see a lot of women experiencing hormonal imbalances and if this is you, you are probably looking for the most natural solutions. Fortunately, when we look at the body holistically from a functional medicine approach and understand how and why our hormones work we can bring the right hormone-balancing supplements.

I always like to start by tending to sleep, nutrition, movement, stress, and the mental and emotional state, as these build the foundations for our healthy hormones. It's also important to measure hormone levels and consider gut function, detoxification, and blood sugar balance when looking to get things aligned.

And when we have nutrient gaps or certain conditions, we can bring in targeted supplements with vitamins, minerals, or specific botanicals that can bring relief as well.

Natural remedies are generally safe and non-toxic and help nudge your body back into alignment to help all the cogs in the wheel work correctly. There are many supplements to help with hormonal imbalances that can help with specific symptoms or conditions.

Here I have created a list of some of my favorites (but there are in fact, many more that can be used for certain conditions and tailored to the individual).

Key Supplements for Women's Hormonal Health

When it comes to getting your hormones in order, here are some key supplements to consider:

  • Magnesium
  • Milk Thistle
  • Selenium
  • Vitex agnus-castus
  • Vitamin D
  • B-Vitamins
  • Fish oil
  • Calcium D-Glucarate
  • Probiotics
  • Ashwagandha

Next, I will break them down a bit more.

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Let's talk about these supplements in a bit more detail!

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a powerhouse supplement that many of us may be low on. It plays a role in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. It can induce calm, relax muscles and it's an important nutrient that is lost during stress. It tends to be lower from drinking diuretics such as coffee.

Magnesium is also unique because it plays a special role in our liver detoxification (in a process called methylation). Not having enough magnesium can slow this process down leading to toxin overload and problems with estrogen excess.

Magnesium can also play a role in blood sugar imbalances, it's great for relaxing muscle tension, can help reduce period pain, and also can help you drift off into deeper sleep – hands down, one of my favorite supplements.

2. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is known for its special ability to help protect the liver.  Are you catching a theme yet here?  When it comes to our hormones, our liver plays a major role in detoxification, it also plays a special role in blood sugar regulation and is also one of the tissues where inactive thyroid hormone gets converted into its active form, providing you with energy.

Supporting the liver with milk thistle can even decrease menopausal hot flashes. In our modern world there can be a perpetual added burden on the liver from pesticides, herbicides, metals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods with fake ingredients and the list goes on.

It's important to find ways to love your liver... Milk thistle, often found in liver support blends is one of the ways we can help with that. Note, avoid this if you are allergic to ragweed.

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3. Selenium

Have you heard of selenium before? It’s not talked about all that much, but this nifty little mineral packs a big punch when it comes to our thyroid. Not only is it needed to make thyroid hormone, but it’s also needed to convert our thyroid from the inactive form to the active form (the kind your body can use).

It is also an important co-factor for making glutathione, your body's master antioxidant, and can improve Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Unfortunately, certain regions have selenium-deficient soil, which can translate into us having low selenium levels.

Testing, focused nutrition, and supplementation can keep this in a healthy range. Selenium can be taken on its own but can often be found in a good-quality multivitamin or a thyroid support blend.

4. Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex agnus-castus (aka Chaste tree) is a popular supplement for menstrual disorders and infertility. Vitex is unique in that it affects our brain signaling to our ovaries, helping progesterone work better. Many women, be it from chronic stress, being underweight, or any other number of insults on the body can suffer from inadequate progesterone levels.

Vitex can help PMS, infertility, menstrual disorders, acne, and perimenopause. Vitex may not be right for everyone though, if you suffer from PCOS this might make things worse, but otherwise, this is one of nature's great helpers when it comes to women’s hormonal health.

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5. Vitamin D

You’ve probably heard about Vitamin D by now, especially how important it is for your immune system, but did you know the “sunshine vitamin” is also helpful for many other things? Vitamin D plays an important role in thyroid hormone production, and sluggish thyroids are very common, as are suboptimal Vitamin D levels. If you live above the 37th parallel, are cooped up indoors most of the year, or have a darker skin tone, there’s a good chance you might need more of this.

The optimal range is between 50-80 ng/ml, and if you struggle with autoimmunity, you’ll want yours at the higher end of the range. Vitamin D can also help elevate your mood (hello winter blues) and can help strengthen your bones, but you'll want to pair it with K2, like in this blend, to help keep calcium in the right place.

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6. B vitamins

B vitamins are wonderful in helping us adapt to stress, have energy, help our mood, build blood cells, and have an important role in a process called methylation. There may be an increased need in times of stress or if gut imbalances disrupt nutrient absorption or dietary B vitamin intake is low.

Methylated B vitamins, methyl folate in particular (5-MTHF) - is an activated B vitamin that you may need if you have something called an MTHFR SNP (a fancy term for a genetic variant with decreased ability to turn your dietary folate into useable fuel for your methylation cycle). Without enough of this, you can have poor detox, hormonal imbalances, and changes in mood, such as increased anxiety or depression. B12 is also important for energy, red blood cell production, and hormone detoxification.

B6 can play a role in balancing stress, moodiness, poor sleep, and PMS. A well-rounded B-Complex can be a helpful part of a hormone rebalancing regimen.

7. Omega-3 fatty acids

Much of our modern diet is very heavily weighted on Omega-6 fats instead of Omega-3 fatty acids which triggers an inflammatory cascade in the body. When we eat foods as nature intended, grass-fed, wild-caught, unprocessed, sprouted, etc., we get the right nutrients that our body needs which helps prevent inflammation from occurring in the first place.

Unfortunately, with what we call the Standard American Diet (SAD) (aptly named), it’s not uncommon for the average person to eat some form of processed, grain-fed, antibiotic-pumped animal-based foods (meat, dairy, etc.) or other herbicide laden and highly processed foods devoid of nutrients foods in a day.

If your diet is less than, or missing fatty fish, then you'll want to include omega 3's in your regimen and fish oil is a great way to get them. This will equate to less aches, less period pain (which by the way it’s not “normal” to have painful periods), and really, less inflammation all over — which just about everybody needs.

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8. Calcium D-Glucarate

We can't talk about detoxification without talking about the gut. Inside of our gut is the final process of detoxification of our hormones and other waste products. Sometimes… and quite frankly, I see that oftentimes women suffer from imbalances in gut bacteria which can muck up our detoxification by producing an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase.

Let's just say, some of the bugs can unpackage your bagged-up trash and send it back into circulation. We do not want this happening, as your liver works so hard to get these out!

High levels of beta-glucuronidase can translate into high levels of estrogen recirculating in the body leading to symptoms of estrogen dominance (and general toxin overload) making you feel sluggish, moody, headachy, and have been associated with increased risk of breast prostate and colon cancer. Calcium-D-Glucarate is a helpful stopgap when working to correct this underlying gut imbalance.

9. Probiotics

Well, while we are talking about gut health, we need to talk about probiotics. Probiotics can play an important role by filling in a problem area that we have we modern life: many individuals suffer from dysbiosis (an imbalance between the good and bad microbes in our gut).

Think of your gut microbiome as a grassy field, now if it were patchy with a lot of bald spots and dirt showing through, weeds could easily seed themselves down and grow. Likewise, when we don’t have enough beneficial bacteria (be it from toxin-laden foods, processed foods, a Western diet, antibiotics, etc.), we can’t keep our gut weeds in check.

Probiotics can help make up for this problem that often stems from a lack of diversity of fiber-rich foods in our diet that should be fertilizing our good bugs. If you have any hormonal issues, mood issues, skin issues, autoimmunity or conditions related to inflammation such as endometriosis, probiotics could be a good starting place while you work to optimize your diet and gut function.

10. Ashwagandha

This medicinal plant is native to India and has been a staple used for thousands of years for helping hormonally driven issues such as stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and inflammation. Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, meaning that if your stress level (cortisol) is too high it can help lower it and if it is too low it can help raise it.

Since many hormonal issues have a stress component to them, this all-around adaptogen can be a nice choice to help even things out. As with many adaptogens though, it has its personality, and I find this to be most helpful in higher-stress states dominated by anxiety or insomnia, as it helps induce a sense of calm. Ashwagandha can be found in specific blends for balancing high cortisol or supporting cortisol when you are losing resiliency.

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So, there you have it, the top 10 supplements that I like for women’s hormones.

I have many more supplements including natural botanicals I like for different specific situations, but the key is finding the right combo for you. If needing more targeted support, I can help you navigate this.

Continue Your Journey to Hormonal Harmony

Thanks for joining us! If you’re looking to understand your hormones and enhance your overall health, we have just the place for you: our Women's Health Hub. Discover simple ways to boost your energy, support your gut health, and improve your sleep.

Chelsey Richardson

Function Medicine Specialist

Chelsey Richardson DNP, ARNP, FNP

Chelsey Richardson is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Functional Medicine Specialist, and a hormone and gut health enthusiast. She is on a mission to empower women (and men) to understand their bodies better and aid them in restoring their vitality through a holistic, root-cause approach.