5 Supplements That May Ease PMS Symptoms
5 Supplements That May Ease PMS Symptoms
Can vitamins and minerals nip premenstrual syndrome symptoms in the bud? Here’s the scoop on supplements being studied in connection with PMS.
In the days leading up to their periods, many women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. PMS symptoms vary from woman to woman, but they may include emotional symptoms like anxiety and irritability — and physical symptoms like fatigue, trouble sleeping, pain, and bloating.
Plenty of treatments are available to help manage PMS symptoms — medications, lifestyle changes, even cognitive therapy. And now there is mounting evidence that certain dietary supplements may be beneficial to women who have PMS.
Herbs, Minerals, and Vitamins for PMS
Throughout your menstrual cycle, the levels of certain nutrients are thought to fluctuate. These nutrient fluctuations may cause some women to become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals at various points in their menstrual cycle, which is why some experts feel that certain vitamins and minerals may help ease PMS symptoms.
As more people turn to herbal supplements to manage their health conditions, researchers are looking into whether certain herbs can do the same for women with PMS.
These five supplements are among those that are being studied for their ability to help relieve PMS symptoms:
Calcium. In a recent study, researchers found that women with PMS who took a 500 milligram (mg) calcium supplement twice a day for three months had significantly reduced levels of fatigue, appetite changes, and depression than women who took a placebo. Another study revealed that taking 1,200 mg of calcium a day helped reduce women’s emotional and physical PMS symptoms. Among all the supplements used to treat PMS, calcium has the strongest evidence to back its benefits.
Chasteberry. Some studies have suggested that the herb chasteberry may help relieve certain PMS symptoms, including negative mood, headache, breast fullness, and water retention. Chasteberry extract comes from the fruit of a tree, and has been used for thousands of years by women to ease menstrual problems. But evidence is limited supporting chasteberry for PMS symptom management. More studies are needed to confirm its effects.
Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential to many of your body’s functions, including your metabolism, immune response, and nervous system functioning. Some evidence exists that supplementation with vitamin B6 may help relieve PMS symptoms, but more clinical trials are needed to determine if it really works. And since vitamin B6 deficiency is rare and extremely high levels of vitamin B6 can cause serious health effects, it is especially important to talk with your doctor before taking large doses of vitamin B6.
Magnesium. Because some evidence exists that a magnesium deficiency can lead to PMS symptoms, some researchers believe that magnesium supplementation may benefit women with PMS. A recent study found that women with PMS who took magnesium supplements found that their PMS symptoms improved. Certain people are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency — including those with diabetes, those taking certain medications, and those with alcoholism — so talk to your doctor to see if magnesium deficiency might be a problem for you.
Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is abundant in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. There is preliminary evidence that vitamin E supplementation may benefit women with PMS symptoms. In fact, a recent study found that vitamin E supplements helped ease menstrual cycle-related breast pain.
If you are interested in using supplements to help ease your PMS symptoms, talk with your health care provider. Unlike prescription or over-the-counter medications, no federal regulations monitor the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements. So what a supplement’s label says it can do isn’t regulated. Some supplements can have harmful health effects and even interact with other medications and supplements that you take. Your health care provider can make sure that you take supplements safely.
By Krisha McCoy
Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH