B vitamins are needed by the liver to detoxify estrogen and to excrete it in the bile. When there is a deficiency of B vitamins in the body, the liver's function is impaired and estrogen levels are elevated as a result. These elevated estrogen levels are a possible cause of PMS symptoms.
B vitamins work best when taken together. B5 reduces stress and is needed by the adrenal gland.
Vitamin B6 is essential to maintaining the body's hormonal balance and supplementation with B6 may be helpful in restoring estrogen levels to normal. B6 also reduces water retention and increases oxygen flow to the female organs. Studies have shown that B6 may help reduce premenstrual weight gain and reduce the severity of other symptoms.
Reduces stress, prevents anemia, and is needed for all bodily functions.
Good for sore breasts and other PMS symptoms; improves oxygen utilization and limits free radical damage. Also helps to relieve nervous tension, irritability, and depression. Several studies have shown that vitamin E may reduce mood swings, cravings, bloating, and depression.
Deficiency has been linked to PMS.
Aids in relief of discomfort and breast swelling. Also boosts the immune system.
Needed for uptake of calcium and magnesium.
(complete nutritional coverage of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, etc.)
Relieves cramping, backache, and nervousness. Studies have shown that women who take calcium daily experienced a significant reduction of their PMS symptoms. Calcium is especially helpful with relief for cramping, backache, nervousness, breast tenderness and swelling, headaches, and period discomfort.
Magnesium deficiency causes a shortage of dopamine, a mood regulating chemical, in the body. This shortage may be responsible for some of the emotional symptoms of PMS such as tension and anxiety.
Needed for proper immune function. Diuretics deplete zinc.
Reduces anxiety, depression, and headache.
Helps to alleviate symptoms and also aids sleep.
Helpful for alleviating headaches and for pain. Caution: Do not take this supplement if you suffer from panic attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure or PKU.
- CHANGE YOUR DIET: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, poultry, and fish. If you need a snack between meals, reach for something with a high protein content. Avoid eating salt (sodium aggravates bloating and water retention), red meats, processed foods, or junk or fast foods. Research has shown that a diet high in complex carbohydrates may stimulate serotonin production which aids the body in handling stress and depression. Conversely, a diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates (breads, cakes, pastas, etc. made out of white flour) leaves the body with very few of the essential vitamins and minerals that it needs. This leaves the woman with such a diet more susceptible to PMS symptoms.
- REGULATE THE DAIRY PRODUCTS: Eat fewer dairy products since these products block the absorption of magnesium and increase its excretion in urine. This causes a hormonal imbalance, with too much estrogen and too little progesterone, that can cause PMS.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER: Drink 1 quart of distilled water daily starting a week before the menstrual period and ending a week after the period.
- AVOID CAFFEINE: Caffeine may cause breast tenderness as well as anxiety and nervousness. It can also deplete many important nutrients in the body. Studies have shown that women who regularly use caffeine are four times more likely than others to have severe PMS.
- SHUN SUGAR: Sugar affects how your body uses the hormone insulin, and when you give in to your sugar cravings and put an excess of sugar into your body your blood sugar level begins to fluctuate. Sugary foods can also cause the body to retain more water.
- ABSTAIN FROM ALCOHOL: Alcohol consumption causes the body to lose valuable electrolytes through the urine. Studies have shown that women who drink moderately during the month (10 or more drinks per week) are more likely to experience PMS than women who don't drink or those who are only light drinkers.
- FAST: Fast on fresh juices and spiruline for several days before the onset of menstruation to help minimize symptoms.
- EXERCISE: Regular exercise increases the oxygen level in the brain which helps in nutrient absorption and in efficient elimination of toxins from the body. Exercise also helps the body to maintain stable hormone levels. Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly are less susceptible to negative moods and experience fewer and less severe physical PMS symptoms than women who do not exercise or who exercise infrequently.
- APPLY WARMTH FOR CRAMPS: Applied warmth via a warm bath, a warm heating pad, or a water bottle can increase the blood flow to the pelvis and relax the muscles.
- LEARN TO RELAX: Studies have shown that extreme, unusual, and/or long-lasting stress triggers biological changes in the brains and alters endorphin secretion. Some symptoms of PMS, especially psychological symptoms, might react well to some form of stress management.
- DON'T SMOKE: Besides causing a slew of other health problems, smoking depletes vital nutrients, especially vitamin B12, that the body needs to combat PMS and to stay healthy.
Medical Options and Precautions
- NATURAL PROGESTERONE: Natural progesterone creme provides a natural and generally better tolerated approach to rebalancing a woman's hormones. Natural progesterone has a lower potency than estrogen produced by the body or by xenoestrogens (foreign substances from outside the body that have an estrogen-like effect in the body) and this may reduce problems caused by estrogen dominance as well as aid in relieving PMS symptoms. For more information on natural progesterone click here.
- RELAXATION TECHNIQUES: Acupuncture, massage, hot baths, mediations, etc. used to relieve anxiety and tension.
- DIURECTIC DRUGS: These drugs relieve the fluid retention caused by PMS-related bloating and weight gain.
- ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES: Birth control pills stop the menstrual period altogether providing general relief from symptoms. These pills may have side effects. Click here for more information.
- MEDICATION: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants are used along with oral contraceptives to treat PMS symptoms. Click here for more information on the side effects of these drugs.