In addition to a healthy diet , stress management, and regular exercise, supplements are a great way to get PMS relief. Before we dive into what are the best supplements for PMS, let’s first establish what PMS is.
What Is PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms starts 1 or 2 weeks before your period begins and usually disappears when your period starts. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age. PMS effects each female differently.
The cause of PMS is unknown, however, researchers suspect hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle is most likely the culprit. Other causes of PMS may be low levels of vitamins and minerals, a diet rich in salty foods, elevated prolactin levels, and alcohol and caffeine consumption.
The Best Herbs For PMS:
1. Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus Castus)
- Inhibits prolactin.
- Affects opioids receptors in the brain to alleviate PMS symptoms.
- Reduces PMS symptoms after three menstrual cycles.
- Breast tenderness
- Mood changes
- Food cravings
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- 40 drops liquid or extract per a day
- 175 mg capsules daily
- Safe for most people but speak to your doctor if you are taking medications that inhibits dopamine.
- Pregnant women, breast-feeding women or women with hormone sensitive condition such as cancer should not take vitex.
- Vitex may interfere with some medications such as oral contraceptives and anti-psychotic medications.
2. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
- Congestive symptoms
- Breast tenderness
- Breast pain
- 80 mg standardized extract twice a day.
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not take ginkgo.
- Talk to your doctor before taking gingko if you’re using anticoagulant medications such as ibuprofen.
3. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)
Preliminary studies indicated the usefulness of St. John’s wort but more research is needed. Researchers studied 19 women with PMS. They took 300 mg of St. John’s wort 3 times a day. After 2 menstrual cycles, the women reported at least a 50 % decrease in PMS symptoms. The women reported improvement in the following symptoms:
- 57 % moodiness.
- 92% crying
- 85% depression
- 75% confusion
- 72% feeling out of control
- 71% nervous tension
- 69% anxiety
- 69% insomnia
- 300 mg three times a day
4. Black Cohosh
- 20 to 40 mg of standardized extract twice daily.
- Gastrointestinal disturbance
- Ask your doctor if black cohosh is safe to use if you have liver disease.
- Pregnant women, breast-feeding women or women with hormone sensitive condition such as cancer should not take black cohosh.
- Black cohosh may interfere with some medications.
Other herbs such as wild yam, licorice root, dong quai, and black cohosh successfully treats PMS, however, there isn’t a lot of scientific research to show how these herbs treat PMS.
Treats the following:
|Dandelion leaf||Water retention|
These herbs are often combines in herbal and nutritional supplements to treat PMS.
The Best Vitamins and Minerals For PMS:
1. Vitamin B-6
- 50 mg 2-4 times per day.
- 50 mg of B6 and 200 mg of magnesium reduces anxiety.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D with calcium reduces occurrence and severity of migraines along with other PMS symptoms.
- Age 19-50: 200 IU daily
- Tolerable upper limit: 2000 IU
Calcium deficiency mimic PMS symptoms.
479 women were given 1200 mg of calcium carbonate or a placebo for 3 menstrual cycles. The women taking calcium had significantly lower symptoms than the placebo group in the second and third months during the luteal phase (from ovulation to menses). By the last month, the calcium group had a 48% reduction in PMS symptoms (i.e. negative moods, water retention, food cravings, and pain).
- Negative moods
- Water retention
- Food cravings
- 1200 mg daily
In the luteal phase, magnesium is depleted by the changes in the female sex hormones–which leads to PMS symptoms such as migraines and bloating.
200 mg of magnesium daily may reduce premenstrual fluid retention, breast distension, peripheral edema, abdominal bloating after 2 months of treatment.
360 mg of magnesium taken 3 times daily during midcycle to onset of menstrual flow resulted in substantial relief of mood fluctuations and depression.
- Water retention
- Breast distension
- Peripheral edema
- Abdominal bloating
- 300 mg 3 times a day
5. Vitamin E
Some studies showed vitamin e reduced nervous tension, headache, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and breast tenderness, however, science does not confirm a statistically significant benefit.
- 400-800 IU daily
How To Choose The Right Supplement Brand:
Supplements are loosely regulated by the FDA, therefore, the ingredients listed on supplements aren’t guaranteed to be in the supplements or even safe.
When choosing a supplement, choose a company that has been tested by a third party , certified by health organizations such as USDA Organic, NON GMO Project Verified, Certified B-Corp, and Certified Gluten Free, and has quality ingredients.
Check out NSF (a third party testing organization) list of safe supplements:
Pure Encapsulation and Garden of Life supplements are great examples of safe supplement companies, however, I do recommend you do your own research to make sure these companies meets your standards and are approved by your healthcare provider.
For more information about Pure Encapsulation and Garden of Life, please check out their website. For more information about choosing safe quality supplements, please check out the links below.
- Food Based vs Synthetic Vitamins by Dr. Axe
- The Scary Risks of Taking too Many Vitamins and Supplements By Kimberly Snyder, CN
- Do You Really Need All Those Vitamins? By Kimberly Snyder, CN
- Supplementing For Our Health & Beauty By Kimberly Snyder, CN
For more information about natural ways to treat PMS or other female conditions, I recommend reading Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness by Tori Hudson, ND. The information presented in this article is from chapter 17 of Ms. Hudson’s book.
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1. “Premenstrual Syndrome.” Womenshealth.gov. N.p., 04 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/premenstrual-syndrome>.
2. Hudson, Tori. “Chapter 17 Premenstrual Syndrome.” Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. N. pag. Print.
3. Porter, Valencia, M.D., M.P.H., FACN. “5 Ways to Pacify Your PMS Symptoms.” The Chopra Center. N.p., 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://www.chopra.com/articles/5-ways-to-pacify-your-pms-symptoms#sm.0000r80qctodpdcsxyt2oiukgdo71>.
4. Commissioner, Office of the. “Consumer Updates – FDA 101: Dietary Supplements.” WebContent. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
5. “Dietary, Nutritional and Sports Supplements Certification – NSF International.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
6. Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied. “FDA Basics – Are Dietary Supplements Approved by FDA?” WebContent. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.