People all around the world have used black cohosh because of it is believed to have an influence on pain, menstrual symptoms, and bone density. But among the many potential claims, black cohosh benefits weight loss is perhaps the most controversial. There have been very few studies on the subject, and those that have been performed tend to differ in their results. At the end of the day, some studies document black cohosh benefits, weight loss included, while others indicate exactly the opposite.
Because black cohosh is often taken by women during menopause, the potential for weight gain or weight loss is an important consideration. Because like so many natural supplements, there is simply not a large wealth of study of black cohosh benefits, weight loss and otherwise. In fact, it may be up to the individual to learn the answer for herself. Here’s why.
Black Cohosh May Not Be the Culprit
Most women see a slight uptick in weight gain during and following menopause. For some, this is more pronounced than for others, and some women don’t gain weight at all. For this reason, the role of black cohosh in the weight gain or loss is unclear. Some studies, like the one linked above, have sample sizes of less than 50 subjects. While certain conclusions can be drawn from small studies like these, it is impossible to say that black cohosh absolutely affects body weight one way or another, especially because so many of black cohosh’s effects are dose-dependent.
Black Cohosh and Other Medicine
For many years, black cohosh was thought to attenuate estrogen production/behavior in middle-aged women. This turns out not to be the case, though similar results may be caused by black cohosh’s impact on serotonin production and uptake. Because many medications, including some popular SSRI antidepressants, can be used for weight loss (or may have done the opposite as an unwanted side effect), it is likely that black cohosh’s serotonergic action interacts with other medications, with the result of weight loss or weight gain depending on the patient and the medications involved. In these cases, black cohosh can not be said to produce a direct influence on weight, but its influence on other drug effects should be considered.
What Does This Mean For Women Who Take Black Cohosh?
If you enjoy various black cohosh benefits, weight loss should be something you pay attention to. Any undesired weight loss or gain may be due to the cohosh, or to some other factor. Black cohosh is dose dependent, so if you feel that you are having too much of one effect of other, reducing the dose may help.
Black cohosh is a natural supplement that is easy to find, so some of this at-home experimentation may be necessary to get the dose just right. If you work with a physician, naturalist, or dietician, they may also be able to offer you excellent advice that will help you get everything you want out of black cohosh.