Hormones have been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason! Our hormones affect every system in our body. The glands of the endocrine system send out hormones that tell each part of the body what to do. Hormones are chemical messengers. They affect everything from metabolism, to growth and development, reproduction, mood, and sexual function. If our hormones are not balanced, it can lead to a whole host of problems like weight gain or loss, infertility, weak bones, diabetes, and more. Therefore, it is so important to make sure our hormones are balanced! Luckily, there are many natural things we can try to help regulate them.
Many women have turned to evening primrose oil to manage hormonal symptoms naturally. Evening primrose oil, the oil extracted from evening primrose seeds, has been used to manage symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and dry skin conditions for years.
Evening primrose oil contains a rich amount of omega-6 fatty acid consisting of gamma-linolenic acid and linolenic acid. The body uses gamma-linolenic acid to produce hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. By increasing the production of prostaglandins, evening primrose oil may support the reduction of the hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Some studies are reporting that evening primrose oil may offer relief from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, breast pain, joint issues, and mood.
A recent study looked at the effect of the evening primrose plant on physical symptoms of menopause. 100 postmenopausal women with menopausal symptoms, according to the Menopause Health Questionnaire, participated. Scores can range from 0-16. The participants randomly used placebo or evening primrose 1g twice a day for one month. After one month, the symptoms were compared with the symptoms before the trial using the questionnaire. The results indicated that evening primrose gave tremendous relief to the intervention participants. There was a reduction in flushing, sleep disorders, and musculo-skeletal disorders. In this study, the mean physical symptom score before menopause was 11.15±1.78, and it was 4.78±1.60 at the end of the study.
Another study was conducted to see if there was an impact of evening primrose oil consumption on psychological symptoms of postmenopausal women. 189 women participated for 8 weeks. The women either randomly received 1,000mg of evening primrose oil in capsule form or a placebo. The main outcome measures were psychological symptoms based on the psychological subscale of the Menopause Rating Scale. The results showed a significant difference between groups. The intervention group showed big improvement. The authors did note, however, that longer trials are necessary to make more reliable decisions about the use of evening primrose oil and its safety in clinical practice. Also, one participant did have gastric upset in the intervention group.
In conclusion, there is data to support the use of evening primrose oil to alleviate hormonal symptoms. It is certainly worth a shot if your hormonal symptoms are interfering with your life. As stated above, some women have reported having gastrointestinal issues when using evening primrose oil which is why it is important to work with your provider to figure out correct dosing.