Fitness Blender HIIT Workout + Review

Fitness Blender HIIT Workout + Review

I have been doing calorie burn comparisons with Fitness Blender workouts but after this one, I will start doing other workouts I find on the internet.

If you haven’t seen my other calorie burn comparison posts (here is my most recent one)- they are simply me reviewing the workouts and telling you how many calories I burned. These posts are really fun to do and I hope it helps others find a new workout to try.

This workout review is on one of Fitness Blender’s HIIT videos.

The workout

For this review, I chose Fitness Blender’s HIIT Cardio and Abs workout. For the other posts, I did their strength training ones so I wanted to change things up.

On their website, they have a handy-dandy filter for the workouts they offer. With it you can pick the exact kind of workout you want based on trainer, level of difficulty, training type, duration, calorie burn and equipment needed.

This particular workout is rated as a 5/5 on the difficulty scale, is 45 minutes long, requires no equipment and has a calorie burn range of 263-431. This all means that it is a tough workout that won’t take up too much time in your day/night!

The workout has a warm-up, core work portion, cardio portion and a cool down.

For the core part of it, there are 13 exercises. Each one is done for 50 seconds and then you are to move on to the next one after ten seconds of rest. The exercises hit all areas of the core.

The cardio part involves seven different exercises that are done for 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds off. Each one is done four times.

Like any other HIIT workout, they say that it shouldn’t be done more than three times a week. This is due to it being challenging for the whole body and rest is needed.

My experience

For my cardio workouts, I have been doing plyometrics and cardio ladder moves. I also do some ab work afterwards. It has been quite a while since I have done any other kind of workout session.

The current cardio workouts I do yield around 320-430 calories burned-depending on various factors. The length of the workouts range from 45-75 minutes due to my level of distraction and duties as a mother that may get in the way of getting them done in a timely manner.

I chose this Fitness Blender workout for its relatively short length, calorie burn range, level of difficulty and workout structure. It looked like it was right up my alley!

As it turns out, it was indeed right up my alley.

The core workout was a wonderful change from what I had been doing (the same two exercises for a long time). I loved the burn it gave me- as weird as that sounds.

The cardio portion was tough-more so than I thought it might be. I also liked that the moves were different than what I have gotten used to. My plan is to substitute some of my current ones with the ones in this workout.

After the cool down, I felt pretty spent. I was eager to see my calorie burn so I turned the screen of my watch on and it said….

360 calories (I am 5’4, 113-115 pounds)!

This was a pretty good amount in my opinion. I was happy with it especially because an after-burn would be part of the equation.

I think I will do this workout once in a while as well as do some of Fitness Blender’s other HIIT workout videos.

I highly recommend this workout

I am really glad I decided to change up my cardio day workout with this workout by Fitness Blender. It is another one of their great quality workouts that I think many fitness enthusiasts would enjoy. Make sure to check it out along with their other ones!

Have you done any Fitness Blender workouts? If so, what did you think of them?

Thanks for reading!

#workouts #fitness #hitt #womenwholift #FitnessBlender #cardio #caloriesburned #workoutcomplete

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

How cute is this?!

If you are like me, caffeine is a daily part of your life in some way or another. You may not be able to imagine a life totally without it.

If you are like me, you also may have women’s/non-binary’s health related issues. Could caffeine be making these issues even worse or actually causing them? Those are two questions I was interested in having answered.

So to answer them, I did some research and decided to put up a post about what I learned!

A little bit about caffeine

Caffeine is actually considered a drug but it is accepted and used by many in various forms. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

It was first isolated in 1819 from mocha (coffee) beans. From there, the usage of caffeine really exploded (it had been gaining popularity since the 1600s). Coffee beans aren’t the only things that it is found in as things like tea, cocoa, Yerba Mate (plant), guarana (plant) and more have it too.

Some things that don’t have caffeine naturally in them, have the extraction added to them. This is the case for energy drinks, energy patches, pre-workout mixes, supplement/vitamin blends. There are also caffeine pills that just have it as the active ingredient.

Caffeine content is generally reported in milligrams. The following is a list of the amounts of caffeine in various commonly consumed things-

  • Kola nuts: 10-50 mg per serving (2-3 nuts).
  • Coffee: 80-130 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Energy drinks: 80-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Soda: 30-58 mg per 12 ounces (Pepsi One has the highest amount).
  • Puerh tea: 60-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Black tea: 40-50 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Yerba Mate: 85 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Oolong tea: 35-75 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Green tea: 20-70 mg per 8 ounces.
  • White tea: 10-60 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Hot chocolate: 5-18 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Chocolate candy: 0-60 mg per serving.
  • Caffeine pills: 100-200 mg per pill.
  • Pre-workout mixes: 150-375 mg per serving.

These numbers are just estimates. There are different variables and factors that go into the actual amount of caffeine that something contains.

Positives and negatives of caffeine

Consuming caffeine can have good and bad effects. The effects that one gets depends on how much they takes of it and how their individual body responds to it.

Here are some of the pleasant as well as uncomfortable things one may experience when putting caffeine in their body:

Positive-

  • May wake you up to be less groggy in the morning.
  • May increase strength for weightlifting workouts.
  • Increase in cardiovascular performance: You may be able to go for longer and/or push harder during cardiovascular work.
  • Fat burning: It may increase your fat burning ability.
  • Increase in memory and alertness: It may help your memory and the ability to be alert for work tasks and learning.
  • May prevent diabetes.
  • May provide a mood boost.
  • May treat headaches and migraines.
  • May decrease the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • May stimulate growth, stop loss and thicken hair.

Negative-

  • Causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce intake. These include GI issues, insomnia and headaches.
  • May make mental conditions worse.
  • May cause anxiety and nervousness.
  • May cause irregular heartbeats.
  • May have a laxative effect and/or cause urine frequency.
  • May change how fast your body breaks down medications.
  • May block the effects of medications.
  • May mess up blood sugar levels.
  • May cause dehydration in your body which in turn may give your skin an aged appearance.
  • May increase blood pressure.
  • May deplete necessary nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12.

Even though there are benefits to caffeine, taking a lot of it only increases the chances of experiencing the bad effects. Experts say it is best to not take more than 400 mg per day.

Caffeine and hormones

There is some evidence that caffeine can interact with our hormones in negative ways. Here are two hormones that caffeine can effect:

Cortisol-

One of the hormones it may have an effect on is cortisol which is a stress hormone. Caffeine has shown to increase the hormone which then causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can lead one to experience things like nausea, increased hunger, headaches and brain fog.

Estrogen-

One thing that has been seen with caffeine is that it can actually last longer in the body when one is taking estrogen treatments or birth control. This is not a good thing as it may be messing up one’s sleep cycle.

Another thing is that it can change estrogen levels especially if too much is taken. The direction that the estrogen level goes in, seems to be dependent on ones race. In Asians and blacks, a rise in estrogen has been seen. This is in contrast to whites in which a decrease in estrogen has been seen.

Variations in estrogen level can lead to things like hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Putting it all together

As you can see, caffeine can have negative effects in regards to women’s/non-binary people’s health. It can:

  • Make anxiety and irritability that is experienced with PMS/PMDD, worse.
  • Mess with one’s sleep cycle which can worsen mood issues (among other things).
  • Raise blood sugar which in turn adds to and/or makes PMS/PMDD symptoms worse.
  • Cause a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause worse PMS/PMDD, lower sex drive, irregular periods, worsening mental conditions, headaches/migraines, weight gain, hair loss, ovarian cysts, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and heavy bleeding.
  • Deplete B6 which helps regulate hormones.
  • Deplete B12 which can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and memory problems.

Not every woman/non-binary person will experience these things. If one is experiencing a lot of mental and physical discomfort during their cycles, it may be a good idea to look at how much caffeine is being consumed. Quitting or reducing it may be the answer to feeling better.

My caffeine consumption and hormonal issues

I am guilty of having a higher than recommended maximum dosage of caffeine. Each day, I take in around 450-480 mg of caffeine. Yikes right?

I used to get most of my caffeine in the form of coffee, special coffee drinks (caramel macchiato to be exact!) and tea. Now it is mainly just caffeine pills and tea. I typically take 200 mg from the pills in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and another 200 mg from the pills before working out in the evening.

Since upping my intake of caffeine, I believe that I have had worse PMS/PMDD symptoms. When I look back at my health tracking journals, I experienced a lot of severe symptoms up until starting Claritin. It was like I barely ever had a good day.

While things are better, I still have my bad days (bad moods and extreme GI distress) and I think that maybe reducing the amount of caffeine may help me. My plan is to try and get my intake down to 300 mg for a while and see how I do at that amount.

I know that there will be always be some discomfort I feel due to my hormones and life itself but if reducing caffeine can help me in any way- I am willing to take less.

It is your decision

It can be hard to break up with caffeine-either part of the way or all of the way. For some people though, it may be a good idea to be more mindful about how much is being consumed. In terms of women’s/nonbinary health issues, it may be making them worse or it could be the cause of them.

How much caffeine do you take in each day?

Thanks for reading!

#caffeine #caffeinemolecule #womenshealth #nonbinaryhealth #pms #pmddtreatment #hormones #coffee #tea

A Perfect Friday is Always Welcomed!

A Perfect Friday is Always Welcomed!

On this past Friday, I did another one of my life check-ins. It was such a beautiful day that it made the session even better than some of my prior ones. I also read a great book.

In this post, I will be talking more about this check-in and what I got out of it this time.

What a life check-in is

If you haven’t seen my post about life check-ins and you don’t know what I am talking about, I will give an explanation.

Life check-ins are simply just times where you focus on aspects of your life and self. You can ask yourself questions such as:

  • How do I feel about my job/career?
  • Do I feel fulfilled in life?
  • Am I satisfied in my relationship?
  • How is my mental state?

There are many more questions that you can ask yourself. When you answer them, it is important to be specific and add in some detail. It may be useful to use a notebook/journal for this.

Once you have answered the questions, think about what you may need to change or keep doing in your life to keep everything in balance. When things are in balance, happiness and forward progression can occur.

A successful check-in session should also include a comforting environment. This could look like the following:

  • In your room with no children or partner present and a glass of wine next to you on a food tray.
  • In your living room with soft music playing while your partner and children are away.
  • In your bathtub with candles lit around you.
  • On your deck on a beautiful day.
  • In your garden on a beautiful day.

Life check-ins are good to do every once in a while. How many you need to do is solely up to you.

My life check-in for June

Things haven’t been going the way I have wanted them to over the past three or so years. It has mainly been due to financial/career reasons but I have also had health issues.

Because of this, I have been doing check-ins with myself. It is important for me to have a life that I am as happy as possible with and I feel that these will help me get on that path.

My sessions usually includes a hot drink in my favorite mug (usually a turmeric drink or Starbucks Medium Roast), sitting in my comfortable reading chair, an ambience video on the TV and my journal with me. I make sure to do these while my son is sleeping and my husband is at work otherwise it won’t be a good experience.

This most recent session was a little different though. Instead of sitting in my reading chair, I decided to sit outside in a chair on the grass (husband was taking care of our son inside). I kicked off my flip-flops to feel the earth at my feet. As cliché as it sounds- I felt so grounded. I love feeling this way.

With me outside I also took my turmeric drink , phone, ear buds, journal/pen and a book (to read afterwards).

Since I obviously didn’t have a TV outside, I thought that putting an ambience video on my phone and listening to it with my ear buds would be a good choice. As it turns out, it was. The music was closer to my ear and I could hear it better which made me all the more relaxed. Here is the ambience video I used:

I have put this video on several times before. The Bossa Nova music in it seemed perfect for this particular day.

My check-in began with me thinking about what I want to be doing when it comes to making money. I visualized the perfect work day for me-what my tasks would be, my hours, the amount I would want to make and more.

I also mulled over whether my son should be put into in-person school this coming fall or not. This decision and my employment relate to each other so it was necessary to think about.

In terms of other things about life (and me!), there wasn’t much thinking/decision making I felt needed to be done. I have a good idea already of what else I need to work on/do.

After doing all of this introspection, I came up with the following takeaways:

  • To be fulfilled, I want a career that involves administrative and writing/editing work.
  • My son will not be in in-person school until things are more figured out regarding COVID vaccines, treatments and deadly variants.
  • I need to get better sleep. This is important for my immune system, mental health and more.
  • I really want my skin to get better.

Here are the solutions to the takeaways:

  • I will continue to apply for legitimate remote jobs that involve some of the tasks I am good at and like. This also means that I need to spend time on cover letters and change up my resume if need be.
  • I already have my son’s first grade curriculum stuff so we are good there. The hard thing I am going to have to do is explain to family members why he will not be in public schools for at least the first semester of the next school year. I will have to figure out what to say if they ask about it and be okay with the opposition I am sure to receive. Also, I need to look for safe socialization opportunities in the community for him.
  • I will be following tips and guides to get better sleep.
  • I will continue to use the products I have in my current routine and also have other ones on deck. I am 99.9999% sure that the products I am using now won’t make my skin issues budge but I do want to give them some more time. I will be making lists of new products to try and go from there.

This check-in was great. It ended with me feeling renewed and motivated for the future.

A mini book review

After my life check-in, I read a wonderful new book. It is called, The Last Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

It weaves the present and the past in a masterful way. The present involves a woman who is in a rocky place with her husband and learns about an old apothecary on her trip to London. The past involves a woman who runs a secret apothecary shop that provides poisons to women who want to harm/kill the men in their lives.

The story includes some twists and turns that keep you on your toes along with providing some well researched bits of information on ancient apothecary. It all comes together to be intriguing, unique and a breath of fresh air in the fiction genre.

This book was so fun to read and I could not put it down. While I was deep diving into its story, I was thinking how cool of a show or movie it would make. I guess other people thought so as well because it is being made into a series!

I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new fiction book to read.

That’s it for this one!

Friday was a perfect day for me. Although I didn’t have any groundbreaking discoveries and solutions to things, it was good to check-in with myself.

You should consider doing a life check-in once in a while, too!

Thanks for reading!

#life #mentalhealth #employment #parenting #homeschoolcurriculum #skincare #sleep #sarahpenner

All About Glycolic Acid + Product Reviews

All About Glycolic Acid + Product Reviews

Ahhh, the wonderful world of skincare acids! It actually sounds a little scary if you don’t know anything about them. Putting acid on your face? Yikes!

The thing is that there are certain types of acids that we are capable of putting on our faces without completely burning all of our skin off. One type is called, alpha hydroxy acids. While there are several acids people can choose from that fall under this label, my post will be focusing on one of them-glycolic acid.

So, let’s do this!

What alpha hydroxy acids are

Alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs) are acids that come from the same chemical compound group and are all water soluble. One thing that sets them apart is that they are taken from different sources.

There are said to be six different types of alpha hydroxy acids. They include glycolic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid and citric acid. Out of all of these, glycolic and lactic acid are used/talked about the most.

Alpha hydroxy acids are commonly used in skin care products and have been for many years. This is because they have antiaging, acne reducing, dark spot lightening and skin tone brightening benefits due to the chemical exfoliation they provide.

Some of them are better for certain things than the others are but they all have tremendous value.

These acids can be found in various skin care products at different percentages. They are also sold in standalone form so that one can make their own products.

All about glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is taken from sugar and considered to be the strongest acid out of the six. It has consistently provided great results for people over the years.

This acid is said to be a great choice for the following benefits:

  • Antiaging- Because this is the strongest of the AHAs, glycolic acid is shown to reduce the signs of aging (ex. lines and sun damage). This is due to the exfoliation powers and collagen production capabilities it has.
  • Skin tone brightening and evening- The chemical exfoliation properties can make the tone of the skin look fresh, healthy and fade dark marks.
  • Acne reduction- Glycolic acid has some antibacterial and pore clearing effects that can be helpful in the treatment of acne.
  • Texture improvement-Glycolic acid helps to slough off unpleasant skin texture and smooths it out.

Glycolic acid can be found in many different products and treatments. These include the following:

  • Cleaners- The ones with glycolic acid in them will provide exfoliation along with the cleansing.
  • Toners- Gets rid of the last bits of dirt left over from cleansing.
  • Moisturizers- The ones with glycolic acid in them will up the moisturization factor while providing the other benefits it has.
  • Serums- Glycolic acid serums work to address multiple different issues. They are typically applied at night.
  • Peels- Glycolic acid based peels have a higher strength of the acid in them than daily products do. This means that one will get better results in a shorter amount of time.

The strength percentage of glycolic acid in products and treatments ranges from 10-70%. The higher percentage, the better results. Daily glycolic acid products will most likely contain 10-30% of it. Products/treatments over 30% are recommended to be applied by professionals but there can be at-home use if one is really careful.

As great as glycolic acid can be, there are also some adverse effects that may occur. Here are some of them:

  • Burns- This can happen if your skin is sensitive, your skin wasn’t ready for the strength of the glycolic acid and/or you left an at-home peel on too long.
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Rashes
  • Acne- Even though it helps acne in some people, in others it can actually cause/worsen acne.
  • Hyperpigmentation- For some people, glycolic acid will actually cause dark marks or worsen them.

Overall, glycolic acid is a great ingredient to have in one’s skincare routine. If you are just getting started with glycolic acid, it may be a good idea to do daily treatments that have lower percentages of it. This will prime the skin for peels which would be of higher strength.

If interested in glycolic acid products, the following are two really popular ones to consider:

The first product (top one) Is by L’Oreal Paris and is a 10% glycolic acid serum. It is for skin tone evening, lightening dark marks and decreasing the aged appearance of one’s skin. This serum should be applied once a day, in the evening.

The second product (bottom one) is by Mario Badescu and is a glycolic acid cleanser. It is to provide a deeper cleanse than what one may typically get each day. Because of this, it should only be used up to two times a week.

My product reviews

In my ongoing (think years!) quest to find products that will help my skin to look better, glycolic acid has been something I have tried. I have dealt with bad skin issues going back many years and I need something strong to make it look better.

This led me to picking up a couple glycolic acid at-home peels and a glycolic acid based serum from Makeup Artist’s Choice. I decided on doing these peels because I wanted to have faster results than the daily serum would give me. In using the serum, I was hoping that it would maintain and enhance the results that the peels might give me.

I chose the 30% and 40% peels. They are the two lowest strength ones offered by the company. The other two are 50% and 70%.

With the peels, I was hoping for an improvement in my skin tone evenness (or lack thereof), texture improvement and the reduction in the darkness of my hyperpigmentation marks. My plan was to do ten peels of each percentage. This meant that I would do one peel every week for 20 weeks.

For each peel percentage, I started off with one minute. I then increased the time each week by a minute. This was because the instructions say that a peel is not to be done for more than ten minutes.

If you don’t know already, there are certain instructions one has to follow for an at-home peel. This is essential so that you are safe from burns and you get the best results. Here are the steps to a great peel experience:

  1. Stop using products with acids and retinoids 24 hours before doing the peel.
  2. Cleanse skin and wait for it to dry.
  3. Apply a pH prep to the skin (not needed for every type of peel). This ensures that the peel will penetrate your skin as well as possible. Let it dry for 20 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out the peel on a Q-tip, cotton pad or your fingers and apply to your skin. Leave on for up to ten minutes.
  5. Rinse of the peel and cleanse the skin again.
  6. Apply a good moisturizer and make sure to use sunscreen the next day (you should be using it daily anyways).

I followed all of these instructions to a “T.”

After getting to ten minutes with the 30% peel, I saw absolutely no effects-good or bad. This was disappointing to me but I thought that maybe the 40% would yield something. So I went on and finished a ten week course of that as well.

Unfortunately, I got no results from the 40% either.

I was even more disappointed by this. My skin looked no different save for the lovely cyst on my cheek I ended up with. I decided that the 50% and 70% weren’t worth it to try because they probably wouldn’t do anything for me either.

A week or so after finishing the 40% peel course, I also finished off the bottle of serum. Of course I had no results from that either. Ugh!

Instead of just throwing the peels out (there is a lot left), I made a decision to try them out on my body. I will be doing ten courses of each peel in the near future.

As far as my face goes, I guess I will just continue to look for other products and treatments. I am currently doing a course of another peel from Makeup Artist’s Choice when I am done.

I still recommend glycolic acid!

Even though the peels and serum did not work for me, I still think that glycolic acid is a an excellent skin care ingredient. It has helped so many people obtain great looking skin.

If your skin could use a boost and you haven’t tried glycolic acid yet-consider picking up a product that has it.

Have you ever used glycolic acid before? If so, did it change your skin at all?

Thanks for reading!

#glycolicacid #skincare #beauty #pcos #acne #collagen #aloeveragel #womenshealth #medspa

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

For the past six or so years, I have been continuously trying to figure out how to deal with hormonal issues. This has led me to read about many different supplements and medications that have helped other women who go through the same things as I do.

Vitex (a plant) is one of the things that some women swear by when it comes to dealing with their menstrual cycle issues. Upon learning about it, I decided to try it. Needless to say, my experience with it was not good.

In this post I will be talking all about vitex and specifically how it affected me.

Women’s hormonal discomforts

Many women and non-binary people experience varying levels of discomfort during their menstrual cycles. This can be due to their hormones being out of balance and/or because their bodies are sensitive to hormone shifts. Either way, it is very common.

Some of the things women deal with are as follows:

  • Physical PMS/PMDD symptoms: Acne, bloating, increased hunger, joint aches, headaches/migraines, lightheadedness, breast pain, insomnia and more.
  • Mental PMS symptoms: Sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability etc.
  • Mental PMDD symptoms (more extreme than PMS): Sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, mood swings etc.
  • PCOS: Acne, oily skin, hair loss/thinning, weight gain/difficulty losing, bloating, fertility issues and more.
  • Heavy periods.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Endometriosis flare ups- Abdominal pain, nausea, painful periods, pain during sex and more.
  • Infertility.
  • Menopause/perimenopause- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain and more.

There are some other things women and non-binary people go through but these are the most frequently talked about things. Not all women have it bad or experience much of anything though.

Women who want to treat these issues usually end up taking/doing the following things:

  • Birth control: May balance hormones.
  • Diet and exercise: May help to balance hormones and is goes toward an all-around healthy life.
  • HRT: Replaces hormones during menopause.
  • Spironolactone: Blocks androgens and reduces blood pressure.
  • Pain relievers: Tylenol, Advil, Naproxen etc. for aches and pains.
  • Antidepressants: These may help the mood issues some women get during their cycles.
  • Acne products: These can include creams, antibiotics, gels etc.
  • Hair growth products: These can include serums, oils and shampoos/conditioners.
  • Fertility medication and IVF
  • Alternative/Traditional medicine: Some examples include herbal teas, plant extracts in capsules, vitamins etc.

These treatments effect each person differently so it is best to look into them as much as you can and consult with your doctor.

Vitex as a women’s health supplement

Vitex is the name of a plant that is used for women’s health purposes. It is also known as chasteberry and vitex agnus castus. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region which includes Italy, Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Syria, Monaco and Libya.

Vitex needs to be grown in hot and dry conditions with full sun. The tree can grow to be about 10 feet tall and looks great in one’s yard/garden. It is very pretty with violet flowers and berries. Just like most other plants, it contains flavonoids, essential oils and fatty oils.

In traditional medicine starting in the 14th century, the leaves were used for suppression of the libido in men and women. It was eventually found that the leaves and fruit possibly provide hormonal benefits for women. Since this finding, it has been marketed for this purpose.

Its use for women’s hormonal health is due to how it can alter hormone levels. Vitex has been shown in some studies to increase progesterone levels, regulate prolactin levels, increase estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels.

Because of the effects on hormones, some studies and anecdotes claim that it treats the following ailments:

  • Breast pain/tenderness: This is something that commonly occurs around ovulation and shortly before one’s period starts.
  • Bloating: This is something that commonly occurs before one’s period starts and sometimes lasts throughout it. For some women it also occurs during ovulation day.
  • Mood issues: Women who experience PMS or PMDD tend have mood related problems. With PMDD, the mood problems are more severe.
  • Hot flashes: This is commonly seen in menopause but some women also experience it shortly before their periods.
  • Insomnia: This is something that happens shortly before one’s period starts and during menopause.
  • Acne: Some people are plagued with acne before their periods start or the whole month due to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Infertility: Some people have a hard time getting and/or staying pregnant. This can be due to not ovulating frequently and/or progesterone levels being off. Infertility is commonly seen in people with PCOS and endometriosis.
  • Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia): Some people have periods that include a lot of bleeding. This involves needing to change a pad/tampon every hour and passing large clots. These types of periods may even last longer than the usual range of days (2-7 days).
  • Headaches/migraines: These commonly occur shortly before one’s period and during menopause.

Even though the medical research done on vitex isn’t considered as providing the strongest evidence of efficacy, there were some positive results for these issues shown in them. Also, if you take a look at reviews and women’s health forums, you will see that many people have been happy with the supplementation of it.

Despite some people getting good results, there are also many people who have gotten bad results from it. Because of this, it has been found that vitex can cause the following undesirable effects:

  • Worsening headaches/migraines
  • Mood issues
  • Bad acne
  • GI issues
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia

As you can see, taking vitex may lead to uncomfortable side effects. It can potentially add new symptoms or make current ones worse.

Another thing to be aware of is that vitex can interact negatively with certain medication and conditions. Below are some precautions that comes with vitex supplementation:

  • May interact with birth control.
  • May interact with antipsychotics.
  • May interact with Parkinson’s medications.
  • Should not be taken if you have breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.
  • Women with PCOS and endometriosis should think twice about taking it.
  • Should not be taken if you are receiving fertility treatment.
  • Should not be taken by someone with Parkinson’s even if they are not on medication for it.

If one does decide they are going to take vitex, there are quite a few brands that sell it as a supplement. You can find it in capsules, liquid drops and teas. There are even some women’s health related supplement blends that contain it.

Dosages of up to 40 mg of the concentrated fruit extract and up to 1000 mg of the dried fruit are recommended. It is said that supplementing with vitex may take three months of consistent use to start working.

My experience with vitex

I had read about vitex helping some women on a reddit forum. It sounded like it was worth a shot at the time.

Instead of doing research into it, I decided to just buy some right away (not a good idea!). I went with capsules that contained 400 mg of the dried fruit in each one and planned on taking two of them a day as the label stated to do.

I was hoping for the vitex to help me with the bloating, acne, headaches and low moods that I get before my periods. Balancing my hormones with birth control was not something I have ever been excited about so I thought that this could possibly be a good alternative.

Unfortunately, vitex was not a good alternative for me. Yikes!

Every possible negative side effect that one could have from it- I experienced. This meant that the issues I was trying to fix got worse! The nausea, horrific rashes on my back, ice pick headaches etc. were unpleasant to say the least.

The silly thing is that I took vitex for a few weeks because I thought things would get better. Of course they never did so I have no one else to blame but myself for feeling miserable. I should have stopped taking it after a couple days.

Clearly, vitex was and is not for me. You live and you learn I guess. I am really glad that it works for other people though!

In conclusion

Vitex is a hormonal health supplement option for those that are into plant based treatments. There are some benefits that have been seen from it as well as some risks. As with everything, it is best to do some research on it before trying it.

It was disappointing that it didn’t work for me. Since then I have continued to search for ways to make my menstrual cycles go better. All I can do is keep reading and trying things out.

Have you tried taking vitex? If so, what was your experience with it?

If you are interested you can check out my other post about a women’s health supplement (evening primrose oil).

Thanks for reading!

#womenshealth #menstrualcycles #nonbinary #supplements #chasteberrysupplement #vitexsupplement #menstrualcup #periods #pms #pmdd #hormones