Spearmint, it is more than just a flavor of chewing gum!
If you have symptoms of hiruastum or other male hormone related issues, you may have looked into spearmint capsule, tea, or oil.
Not long ago, in quite a few PCOS communities on social media, the question of spearmint causing increased facial hair growth became a popular subject.
It was based off of a post in Reddit from a few years back. Here is that post. I was curious as to where the information was coming from, so I dug into the rabbit whole.
Here are the few points from the Reddit post that stuck out to me and what I was able to find through medical texts, pub med, and google scholar.
High Androgens can be caused by too much estrogen.
I did not find any information in any medical resource that leads me to believe this happens. In women, testosterone is converted into estradiol. When our bodies make too much testosterone, our bodies cannot keep up with it and symptoms arise. However, estradiol does not create more testosterone.
Dosing: There was reference to dosing at 1000mg and the amount in a tea bag.
In my research, what I am finding as a good dosing is 500 mg per day. Which works out great for when you are taking the capsule form. However you may notice that tea bags could have as much as 1500mg. Keep in mind that you are not ingesting that amount of spearmint when drinking tea. Plus you could steep a tea bag at least one more time if not more than that. When drinking tea, the suggested amount is a 250 ml cup 2 times a day.
Spearmint raises LH (Lutenizing Hormone) which raises androgens.
There are three studies on spearmint that are commonly referenced by Ataabadi, et., Grant, and Akdogan. The overall consistency in these studies show reduced testosterone (free levels more specifically), and increased levels in LH, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and estradiol. Here is the good and some thought that come to mind with that information:
If estradiol rises, our uterine lining thickens. You may want to look into counterbalancing this with bioidentical progesterone as many of us have low in this hormone.
Estradiol helps with insulin resistance.
Having LH and FSH is rise together in a balanced ratio and stay within normal range, this is a non issue
If your LH and FSH is not a balanced ratio (2:1 or more) then having a rise in both of these does not help fix one of your issues. It may in fact, exacerbate it. This ratio balance has the potential to play a role in androgen elevation.
Not all androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, DHEAS, and DHT) are not shown to be reduced with spearmint
Truly more research needs to be completed with longer testing periods to see what spearmint is doing to the body on a longer term basis. Especially since hair grow cycles are longer than the testing in these studies.
Here are a few other items that many also play a factor in negative outcomes:
Quality or purity of the supplements or tea that was used. Whatever was sprayed or used to fertilize the plants used to create the supplement or tea may play a role in the outcomes people are seeing.
What other things are they doing and taking along with their spearmint. Many women with PCOS make lifestyle changes to help with management as well as take medications or other supplements. These other items or lack thereof could also play a role in their results.
At the end of the day, our PCOS is different from the girl next door. So before just grabbing for a supplement, make sure it is a good fit for you and your PCOS. What works well for one or a few, may not work for you.
Wishing you well on your PCOS journey,