It's that time of the month again, and your moods are all over the place. One minute you're feeling fine, and the next minute you're blue or angry. To make matters worse, you may feel fatigued, bloated and achy. A healthy diet is one way to ease your symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, especially because it helps you get enough of the vitamins important for regulating mood and combating other monthly symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether you're getting enough of these vitamins through your diet or whether you need a daily supplement.
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Vitamin B-6 is one of eight B vitamins that help you convert food to energy and make red blood cells. B-6 may also help lessen symptoms of PMS, including moodiness, says nutritionist Marilynn Glenville, because it plays an important role in the synthesis of mood-regulating neurotransmitters. One study, published in the "Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research" in December 2010, showed that compared to a placebo and to a magnesium supplement alone, a supplement with magnesium plus B-6 was most effective for reducing PMS symptoms among 150 women affected by the syndrome.
Vitamin D is recommended for PMS sufferers by the University of Maryland Medical Center website. Taken in conjunction with calcium, it may help reduce PMS symptoms and protect your bone health. Pamela K. Murphy, a certified nurse midwife, and Dr. Carol L. Wagner, authors of a 2008 article in "Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health," report the sunshine vitamin may also play a crucial role in preventing the mood instability some women experience during PMS. According to Murphy and Wagner, several studies show a link between low levels of vitamin D and higher risk of four different mood disorders, including PMS.
Several experts, including Dr. Phil McGraw, recommend women take a vitamin E supplement as part of their PMS defense. According to Glenville, vitamin E helps relieve breast symptoms, such as pain and swelling, associated with the syndrome, which makes sense because vitamin E is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. The MedlinePlus website reports that vitamin E may also be effective at easing anxiety and depression in some women suffering from PMS. Although no studies have looked at vitamin E's role in PMS exclusively, a study published in "Reproductive Health" in January 2011 found that a drug combining a variety of essential fatty acids with vitamin E improved PMS symptoms in 120 women during a six-month trial.
Getting What You Need
In most cases, you can get the nutrients you need from a healthy diet. Get plenty of B-6 by eating starchy vegetables like potatoes as well as fruit and fish. You can also get B-6 from fortified cereals, beef and poultry. Stock up on vitamin D by eating fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, and eggs and cheese. Milk, orange juice, yogurt and margarine fortified with vitamin D are also good sources. The best sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower and safflower oils, hazelnuts and peanuts.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- Dr Marilynn Glenville, PhD: PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome)
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research: Evaluating the Effect of Magnesium and Magnesium Plus Vitamin B6 Supplement on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Premenstrual Syndrome
- Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health: Vitamin D and Mood Disorders Among Women: An Integrative Review
- Dr. Phil: Relief for Symptoms of PMS and Perimenopause
- Canadian Journal of Surgery: Vitamin E Has a Dual Effect of Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Activities in Acetic Acid-Induced Ulcerative Colitis in Rats
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin E
- Reproductive Health: Essential Fatty Acids for Premenstrual Syndrome and Their Effect on Prolactin and Total Cholesterol Levels: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
- Colorado State University Extension: Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B6
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin D
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin E