Sagging estrogen levels cause symptoms such as hot flashes, decreased libido, dry skin and fatigue, and typically affect menopausal women. As you transition, ovarian estrogen production declines, sometimes resulting in these bothersome symptoms. Because traditional hormone replacement has risks, some women look into natural ways to boost their estrogen. Research suggests certain vitamins do influence estrogen levels.
Various supplements with vitamin blends are available and marketed for estrogen support. It appears the combination of vitamin C, folate, B-6 and B-12 may have some benefit. A small study involving 20 overweight menopausal women found that taking this combination resulted in an incremental increase in estrogen. Participants took the supplement for a total of eight weeks. These positive results merit further investigation with a larger subject group, according to the authors. The study was published in the January 2006 issue of the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research.
Vitamin D plays a role in regulating estrogen. Researchers evaluated vitamin D in animals with reduced ovarian estrogen production. They found a link between vitamin D's role in keeping calcium levels balanced and increased activity of an enzyme responsible for producing estrogen called aromatase. Vitamin D appears to boost estrogen production by maintaining healthy calcium levels, write the authors. The study was published in the April 2000 issue of the journal Endocrinology.
B Vitamins Alone
While studies have shown that a combination of vitamin C and B vitamins may help boost estrogen, a combination might not be necessary. Supplementing or eating foods rich in B complex alone may support healthy estrogen, according to "The Natural Estrogen Diet" by Dr. Lana Liew. B complex vitamins, particularly B-12, folate and B-6 serve as co-factors in the production of a number of hormones, including estrogen, according to Liew. Dietary intervention to include foods rich in nutrients that support estrogen production may help reduce menopausal symptoms, writes Liew.
Foods that Contain Estrogen Supporting Vitamins
Eating a nutritious diet filled with a variety of vitamin- and mineral-packed foods is a good way to support healthy estrogen production. B vitamins are found in various fruits and vegetables, as well as animal-based foods like fish, beef, poultry, milk and eggs. Foods such as ready-to-eat cereal are fortified with B vitamins as well. Vitamin D is harder to come by. It's richest in fish like salmon and tuna and also found in smaller amounts in eggs. Certain foods like dairy are fortified with vitamin D. Your body also makes vitamin D from sunlight exposure.
- International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research: Effects of Short-term Supplementation with Ascorbate, Folate, and Vitamins B6 and B12 on Inflammatory Factors and Estrogen Levels in Obese Postmenopausal Women
- Endocrinology: Vitamin D Is an Important Factor in Estrogen Biosynthesis of Both Female and Male Gonads
- The Natural Estrogen Diet; Lana Liew M.D.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D