A Natural Approach to Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual Syndrome is a condition affecting many women just prior to their period or menstruation cycle. The symptoms are usually harmless but can be uncomfortable and include mood swings, breast tenderness, depression and back pain.
Hormonal imbalances in women with premenstrual syndrome are caused by increased levels of oestrogen and decreased levels of progesterone. The effects of the imbalance cause fluid to build up inside the body and can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain, uterus and ovaries.
Supplements to help manage PMS naturally
There are a number of supplements that can support women suffering from PMS.
Several studies have shown that Vitamin B6 can help relieve pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). The dose taken in the major study was 100mg per day. Analysis of the various findings showed that B6 was twice as effective as the placebo in relieving pre-menstrual syndrome.
Vitamin B6 plays a vital part in synthesising certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that control your mood and behaviour. Magnesium can help your body to convert B6 into a usable form and may also help with PMS symptoms (see below).
Research has found a link between a B complex deficiency and PMS and so often the B complex vitamins are recommended by nutritionists for women suffering from PMS.
Women suffering from PMS have been found to have lower levels of red blood magnesium when compared to women without symptoms. One trial of magnesium levels and PMS showed a reduction in breast tenderness in 96% of subjects and of weight gain in 95% in subjects given magnesium supplements.
Supplementing with magnesium and Vitamin B6 together can be very useful in combating a wide range of PMS symptoms.
The effects of Vitamin E on PMS symptoms has been widely researched and shown to be particularly helpful in reducing breast tenderness. Vitamin E may also help with mood swings, headaches and depression.
GLA / Evening Primrose Oil
Many women with PMS symptoms have shown to have difficulty converting linolenic acid into gamma linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is found naturally in evening primrose and a number of studies have shown that supplementing with Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) can reduce symptoms of PMS and in particular breast tenderness. The effects of EPO seem to increase after supplementing for three or four cycles.
Herbs that can help manage PMS symptoms naturally
Agnus Castus may help to rebalance the normal levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone during the menstruation and particularly during the second half of the cycle. . Agnus Castus works on the pituitary gland and has a balancing effect on the hormones and has traditionally been used by women for a wide variety of female problems.
Blessed Thistle, Dong Quai and False Unicorn root all have a general balancing effect and can be useful. Black Cohosh is approved for use in women with PMS in Germany. Native American women historically used it before their menstrual cycle.
Lifestyle approaches to managing PMS or PMT
Women who suffer from PMS can benefit by reducing the amount of processed carbohydrates and sugars.
Reduce caffeine intake. Caffeine is a diuretic and has been linked to breast tenderness. At least one study has linked an increase in caffeine consumption with increased severity of PMS symptoms.
Elimination or reduction of xenoestrogens from the diet by increasing the proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables and/or organically grown foods.
Talk to your nutritionist or doctor about a supplement regime.
Regular exercise has mood stabilizing effects and can also help with balancing hormones.
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