Vitamin E: The Real Hormone Balancing Supplement

I receive quite a few requests from supplement companies asking me to collaborate with them.  Before agreeing, I look at their website and research what is in their product.  More often than not, I’m left disappointed.  There is an insane amount of supplements out there that claim to promote hormone balance.  Usually, they are chock full of synthetic ingredients like B vitamins, zinc, ascorbic acid, and herbs such as Vitex, Dong Qui, ashwagandha, etc.  Wondering what my beef is with these ingredients?  I’ll tell you.  They don’t come close to answering why you have a hormone imbalance in the first place, and they often create more imbalances long term—leaving you questioning why you are even taking these supplements since you aren’t feeling any better.  I’m here to tell you that vitamin E supplements are what I have found to be beneficial for hormone balance.

Roles of Vitamin E in Hormone Healing

  1. Reduces Inflammation & Stress: Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect the body against inflammation and stress.  This is exactly what progesterone does, which is why vitamin E is thought to work similarly to progesterone in the body.  For this reason, women with low progesterone tend to feel much better when they take vitamin E.
  2. Opposes Excess Estrogen: Vitamin E can oppose estrogen, meaning it is anti-estrogenic.  It doesn’t mean it lowers estrogen, but rather it helps reduce the negative impacts.  It is important to remember that excess estrogen is inflammatory and increases cortisol levels.  As estrogen increases in our bodies, our cortisol levels also have a tendency to increase, which leads to more blood sugar imbalances and inflammation.  Since vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, it can help reduce the stress caused by inflammation.  This is another example of how vitamin E acts similar to progesterone in the body.  They both balance out the estrogen.  When we don’t make enough progesterone, we are left with unopposed estrogen, which leads to estrogen dominance and period problems.
  3. Increases Luteal Blood Flow: Vitamin E has been shown to increase luteal blood flow, which lengthens the luteal phase.  It has also been shown to improve the corpus luteum—it dictates how much progesterone we produce each cycle.  Studies have shown improved corpus luteum and increased pregnancy rates in women with PCOS who took vitamin E supplements.  So cool!

Is A Vitamin E Supplement Right for You?

Since iron and polyunsaturated fats deplete vitamin E, it is relatively easy to become deficient; most people have a deficiency.  As I mentioned, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means if you have excess inflammation and stress within the body, it will be used up.  Below is a list of individuals I believe would benefit from vitamin E supplementation.  *NOTE- I am a registered dietitian, but I may not be your RD (unless you’re my client reading this).  Please talk with your doctor or RD before beginning any supplement.  

Who could benefit from Vitamin E:

  •     Lab work revealed high estrogen
  •     Lab work revealed low progesterone
  •     Difficulty conceiving
  •     PCOS
  •     Endometriosis
  •     Hypothyroidism
  •     High or low cortisol levels
  •     Anyone looking to conceive
  •     Anyone taking hormonal birth control (pill/IUD)
  •     Copper IUD (increases inflammation)
  •     Acne
  •     Painful periods
  •     Painful ovulation
  •     Period poops (excessive loose stools or diarrhea during or near your period)
  •     Anyone that has supplemented with iron

What to Look for in a Vitamin E Supplement

Before you run out and buy the first vitamin E supplement you see, make sure it is made with MCT oil.  This is the most absorbable form.  You want to avoid anything with soybean/canola/sunflower/flaxseed oil because they will be inflammatory since they are not stable at high temps.  In essence, they won’t preserve the vitamin E.  Vitamin E can help cancel out the inflammatory impact of these oils; however, it defeats the whole purpose of taking the supplements.  You should also look for a vitamin E supplement that has a mix of tocopherols.  Most only contain d-alpha-tocopherol, and ideally, we want a mixture of d-alpha and other tocopherols.  My absolute favorite vitamin E supplement is PUFA Protect from Mitolife.  It offers a higher dose, which is why most individuals only need one capsule.  It also has an MCT oil and a blend of tocopherols.

Healing Power of Food

Notice that I didn’t say that food is medicine.  I think food is healing and can help our bodies get back into balance and avoid disease.  However, I still think medicine has its place.  Some of my clients get the best results when they start taking thyroid hormone or get mental health support from a medication (even if it’s short-term).

While I am advocating for getting more vitamin E in supplement form, it will not solve all of your problems.  I’ve had some clients who respond best to vitamin E.  They are now working hard to eat foods that support their bodies, get enough food, and regularly eating throughout the day.  Adding supportive supplements on top of a healthy nutrition foundation will always be the most optimal.

Need a refresher on what it means to build a nourishing nutrition foundation? Give the second episode of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast a listen! I also have a ton of free information on my Instagram and weekly newsletter, the Feminine Periodical.

And if you’re not sure which supportive supplements are an appropriate choice for you, our Master Your Minerals course teaches you how to interpret your own HTMA and build a hormone healing protocol using both food and carefully-curated supplements based on your unique results.

 Vitamin E helps to reduce inflammation and stress, oppress estrogen, and increase luteal blood flow.  Because vitamin E supplements act like progesterone in the body, it can be very beneficial, especially for those suffering from PCOS, difficulty conceiving, and painful periods and ovulation.  I hope you found this information helpful.  As I mentioned above, always talk to your doctor or RD before starting a new supplement.  They are powerful, and you want to make sure it is a good fit for you. For more ways to further heal your metabolism and hormones, don’t forget to check out our Master Your Minerals course!

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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