Estrogen and progesterone are foundational hormones for sexual and reproductive development in women. Working together, these hormones help women’s sexual characteristics to mature during puberty as well as manage fertility and menstruation up to menopause.
Estrogen also keeps cholesterol under control, encourages bone health, and balances moods, heart function, and skin tissues. Low estrogen is usually a sign of the change women go through during menopause.
Symptoms can include mood swings, dry skin, trouble sleeping, irregular periods, low libido, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
Thankfully, there are a number of reliable natural remedies to increase estrogen in the body. Either by directly creating estrogen or by replicating the effects of estrogen.
Read on, for 7 of the most natural ways to increase estrogen.
1. Phytoestrogen-Rich Foods
Phytoestrogens, found in plants and plant-based foods, have a similar structure to estradiol, which is the strongest of the estrogen hormones. Upon entering the body, phytoestrogens are recognized by estrogen receptors and mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.
Although their effects may be milder than pure estrogen, phytoestrogens are thought to help the body function better during times of estrogen deficiency.
Phytoestrogen-rich foods include soybeans, flax seeds, and chickpeas, as well as dried apricots, raisins, and dates.
2. B Vitamins
Because B vitamins play a vital role in the creation of estrogen, low levels of B vitamins can result in reduced production of estrogen. Vitamins B2 and B6, in particular, are associated with healthy estrogen levels.
In a recent study, for example, researchers tracked levels of B vitamins to the risk of breast cancer in menopausal women. The results indicated that women with higher levels of B2 and B6 showed lower risks of breast cancer.
This connection is believed to be due to the positive impact that B vitamins have on estrogen levels.
3. Vitamin D
Working in tandem, vitamin D and estrogen not only reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease but the presence of vitamin D in the body also has an impact on the production of estrogen. In one study, the link between vitamin D levels and estrogen was investigated.
Of the 616 menopausal women aged between 49 and 86 who took part, none were taking vitamin D or estrogen supplements. The results showed a “positive correlation” between vitamin D and estradiol (the strongest estrogen hormone).
In other words, women with high levels of vitamin D also had high levels of estradiol. Whereas the women with lower levels of vitamin D had lower levels of estradiol. Indicating that a vitamin D supplement would improve the production of estrogen.
4. Chasteberry (also known as Vitex Agnus-Castus)
Vitex agnus-castus is the Latin name for Chasteberry, the dried fruit from the chaste tree. Its benefits as a natural remedy for women’s health were first documented over 2500 years ago when the Greeks and Romans used it to treat menopausal symptoms.
Acting as an adaptogen to stabilize the body’s stress response, a chasteberry supplement, likeVitex Chasteberry Supplementfrom Intimate Rose helps the pituitary gland to rebalance estrogen and testosterone during all three stages of menopause (perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause).
Research on the hormone-balancing abilities of chasteberry shows that it significantly reduces menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, breast tenderness, pelvic discomfort, interrupted sleep, as well as hot flashes by rebalancing estrogen and testosterone.
Boron is a mineral that can be used for a variety of roles in the body. Primarily, it helps the body to break down key minerals and vitamins. Boron also manages bone health, treats osteoarthritis, and influences hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
While estrogen works together with boron to fight osteoporosis, researchers also believe that boron allows the body to more easily use the estrogen that is available in the body.Boron is naturally found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, as well as apples, nuts, grains, raisins, and prunes.
To increase your intake of boron, experts recommend upping it through diet as opposed to supplements.
6. Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a traditional Native American herb that has been used to treat PMS, hot flashes, and menopausal symptoms for centuries. In a 2012 study toevaluate the effectiveness and safety of black cohosh for treating menopausal symptoms, researchers found that it stimulates estrogen receptors when estrogen is low during menopause.
7. Evening Primrose Oil
Due to its high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, evening primrose oil has been uses as an ancient herbal remedy for treating PMS and menopause. Though there is little current-day research on the advantages of taking evening primrose oil for increasing estrogen, it has been anecdotally reported to help.
For example, in a 2015 study 48% of women who ceased using hormone replacement therapy and began taking an evening primrose oil supplement instead, reported a reduction in the symptoms of low estrogen during menopause.
To determine if you have low estrogen levels, first schedule a blood test or urine test with your medical practitioner. If you take medication for another condition, discuss adding any supplements with your doctor, as some can react with other drugs.
As well as the foods, vitamins, and herbal remedies discussed above, regular exercise, as well as a healthy diet, and a regular bedtime can significantly help manage hormone imbalances during menopause. Lastly, if you notice any side effects after beginning herbal supplements for low estrogen, see your doctor for further guidance.
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Modulation of estrogen synthesis and metabolism by phytoestrogens in vitro and the implications for women's health - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30090542/
The Journal of the North American Menopause Society - The synergistic effects of vitamin D and estradiol deficiency on metabolic syndrome in Chinese postmenopausal women - https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2019/10000/The_synergistic_effects_of_vitamin_D_and_estradiol.15.aspx
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Use and perceived efficacy of complementary and alternative medicines after discontinuation of hormone therapy - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470524/