Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a condition that affects up to 75 percent of women of child-bearing age, according to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." It typically begins seven to 10 days before menstruation. PMS can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal cramps, bloating, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Although B-complex vitamins cannot cure PMS, they may help alleviate symptoms. Talk to your physician before increasing your intake of B-complex vitamins to combat PMS symptoms.
B-complex vitamins typically contain vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin. This vitamin may help prevent anemia before and during menstruation, according to Balch. Vitamin B-12 also aids in the manufacture of myelin, a substance that coats nerve endings to prevent damage caused by toxins in your bloodstream. This may help prevent anxiety and sleep disturbances associated with PMS.
Vitamin B-6, also called pyridoxine, is part of the B-complex family of vitamins. This vitamin aids in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates for energy, which may help reduce fatigue associated with PMS. Vitamin B-6 may also stimulate the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter chemical, and melotonin, which may help regulate sleep, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This may reduce PMS-related anxiety and sleep disturbances. However, evidence linking vitamin B-6 to PMS symptom reduction is inconclusive.
Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, may help prevent anemia, according to Balch. It is also known as a stress-reducing vitamin, and may help relieve irritability and anxiety before and during menstruation. Like vitamin B-6, vitamin B-5 also aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins to enhance energy.
Vitamin B-3, also called niacin, is a component of B-complex vitamins that is responsible for maintaining proper blood circulation, according to Balch. This may improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs, which may reduce fatigue and abdominal cramps associated with PMS. Enhanced nutrient and oxygen delivery to your brain may also help alleviate mood swings before and during menstruation.
Taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin B-6 per day may increase your risk of nerve damage and poor coordination, and may be toxic to your liver and kidneys.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. et al.; 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)