There are a variety of supplements that can help transwomen, either early during the stages of transitioning, or to supplement them if they are unable or unwilling to take prescribed estradiol. While these supplements may work for some, it could be dangerous for others. This is why it’s best to talk with a naturopathic and holistic doctor who specializes in women’s health, the endocrine system, and hormones.
If you are a transwoman, then your main focus, hormones wise, prior to surgery is to suppress testosterone. After surgery the main focus is to boost estrogen levels. Both can be done with natural supplements. While you may be unable to get the desired amount from androgen blocking and estrogen boosting effects from plant medicine, it may help to a degree. Large quantities are often dangerous, and less is always more.
While testosterone dominates estrogen, getting the right amount of hormones pre-surgery when the body is still producing testosterone is impossible. However, there are some that can help. Additionally, the various plant-derived estrogens, called phytoestrogens and isoflavones, can be found in a variety of herbs and foods.
Saw Palmetto is one of the most well known herbal supplements that acts as an anti-androgen. Originally used to lessen hair loss and acne, it has the effect of lessening the effects of androgens. Specifically it can help lessen dihydrotestosterone, DHT, and the damaging effects it has on a transwoman’s body.
Wild yam contains phytoestrogens and is one of the most well known natural remedies to help promote estrogen. It is often used to make bioidentical hormones for post-menopausal women.
Black Cohosh is a phytoestrogen that can mimic estrogen in the body. It’s often used to help women with menopause.
Dong Quai, while not a phytoestrogen, may affect estrogen in the body. It can also help women dealing with menopause.
Pueraria Mirifica, another phytoestrogen, is one of the most well known and used herbal supplements that help increase estrogen levels. However, taking too much can be very dangerous as it can negatively impact the liver.
Soy also is a natural food source of phytoestrogens. You can get soy milk, tofu, and various other products made of soy. Make sure the soy is organic since the majority of soy produced is genetically modified and contains high levels of the carcinogenic herbicide, glyphosate.
Iodine is naturally found in some foods, with the highest amount in seaweed. It helps the thyroid and regulates hormones. Many people do not get enough of this vital nutrient. So, start eating some more seaweed.
These are just some of the most well known supplements that can help with hormone imbalances in women. While most studies are done on post-menopausal cisgender women, there is limited data on the use for transgender women. Always talk with a naturopath to see what may work best for you.
Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!
The first supplement I used was Red Clover. It wasn’t included on this list since apparently it can also block estrogen and promote testosterone. I had severe acne and the moment I took this, it stopped. It was incredible. I then tried saw palmetto, and the acne came back. I consumed soy milk and tried my hardest to get estrogen into my body since I was sick of the testosterone. It was only until I started taking hormones that I noticed a change. However, after surgery, I don’t need to worry about blocking testosterone now. As long as I’m getting the right amount of estrogen, and it can be from plant sources, then that’s all that’s needed. Nature always provides.