We all know the rollercoaster PMS can take us on, and sometimes it’s not a fun one. And so here are my Top 3 Supplements to help reduce PMS symptoms like anxiety, mood changes, fluid retention, migraines and breast tenderness.
From the research I’ve seen, there seems to be a link between low dietary calcium intake and symptoms of PMS. Taking calcium 1000-1336 mg daily for up to 3 menstrual cycles seems to significantly reduce depressed mood, water retention, and pain associated with PMS, especially in women with inadequate daily calcium intake.
Increasing dietary calcium intake is also associated with a decreased risk of developing PMS. Women consuming an average of 1283 mg of calcium per day from foods seem to have about a 30% lower risk of developing PMS compared to women consuming an average of 529 mg daily.
I’d prefer taking in dietary sources of calcium, but sometimes it’s much harder to do so. Some high sources of dietary calcium are leafy green vegetables like spinach, wok choy and turnips, milk alternatives, winged beans, almonds, tofu or any calcium fortified foods. Orally, calcium supplements are well-tolerated, but you can experience side effects including burping, farting, constipation, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
In addition, there are certain medications that you should take separately from calcium product or high calcium foods including some antibiotics, mental health medications and iron magnesium or probiotic supplements so make sure talk with your provider and pharmacist before supplementing.
The second remedy is magnesium. Taking magnesium orally seems to relieve symptoms of PMS. There is some evidence that a daily supplement of 200 mg of magnesium for 3 months can improve symptoms including weight gain, swelling, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, mood changes and fluid retention in some patients with PMS.
Taking magnesium orally also seems to prevent premenstrual migraine with 360 mg of elemental magnesium three times daily from the 15th day of the menstrual cycle until the onset of menstrual flow and a combination of magnesium 200 mg daily plus vitamin B6 50 mg daily seems to reduce anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms, including nervous tension, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety compared to placebo.
You can find high amounts of magnesium in dark chocolate, avocados, cashews, pumpkin seeds, tofu and cooked black beans. Oral supplements should be separated from certain medications like some antibiotics, anticoagulants, calcium channel blockers, anti-Parkinson’s medications, diuretics and calcium, vitamin D and zinc supplements. If you do decide to supplement, I suggest avoiding magnesium oxide because it has an incredibly low bio-availability, meaning it’s very hard for our bodies to absorb it and use it. I suggest finding a magnesium citrate or citrate/malate. Magnesium is generally well tolerated when used in appropriate doses, but it can cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Finally, the last supplement I want to talk about is vitamin B6 also known as Pyridoxine. There is some evidence that taking vitamin B6 orally can improve symptoms of PMS such as breast pain or tenderness and PMS-related depression in some patients. Vitamin B6 levels of at least 50 mg daily, plus magnesium oxide 200 mg daily, seems to relieve PMS-related anxiety and other symptoms like I said before. Although some clinicians advocate doses of 200-500 mg daily for PMS, doses of 50-100 mg daily seem to work just as well and Higher doses might increase the risk of side effects. However, out all the supplements, the studies performed with Vitamin B-6 were lower quality and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Food containing higher amounts of Vitamin B6 are carrots, spinach, sweet potato, green peas, bananas and chickpeas. Vitamin B6 can interact with medications working to lower high blood pressure. Oral vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache and decreased serum folic acid concentrations. It has also been linked to reports of allergic reactions, and sun sensitivity.
I’m going to say this one more time! Natural Remedies, supplements and certain foods can interact with certain medications and disease states so make sure to talk to your primary health care provider and pharmacist before supplementing. Always feel free to email me at hello@thesuperfoodpharmacist if you have any questions.