's Fit for Success

Monday, January 01, 2007 at 7:20 PM

Can natural remedies help PMS sufferers?

by Julie Pippert, Creator of and the Fit for Success program, which makes you, your home, your life and your family healthier, naturally.

There are some, many even, who categorically state that diet changes and supplementation do not necessarily lower the risk of PMS or improve PMS symptoms. And yet, reputable organizations continue to organize and run funded research projects.

In June 2005, Nurses' Health Study II released results from their study that found---along with other randomized trials---that a high intake of calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of PMS symptoms. Additional research shows that these supplements can decrease the likelihood and severity of PMS symptoms.

In short, the supplements did help many women either not develop PMS, or lessen their symptoms. Additionally, folic acid, B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, trytophan, and natural and prescribed anti-depressants can also relieve symptoms. However, researchers are still being tentative in suggesting supplementation as a solution for PMS-sufferers, even for the 20% of American women who experience symptoms so bad that it interferes in their daily life.

One possible hesitation is the lack of oversight of supplementation. Supplements are readily and easily available over the counter, in many forms, with very little oversight as far as creation and administration. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing: B6 and vitamin E can create toxicity if taken in excess. It is very important to intake the correct levels, or in trying to solve one problem, you can create another.

Another hesitation is the lack of education most healthcare providers suffer from when it comes to natural and alternative remedies. Supplement companies do not tend to send representatives with fact sheets and free samples to doctors' offices. Medical schools don't teach it, and there is a historical distrust between homeopathic/alternative practitioners and traditional practitioners.

However, if a PMS sufferer wants a natural solution to symptoms, there is good research that supports natural remedies through vitamins and minerals.

Can you get the levels you need through food, or do you need supplementation?

You can eat calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese and spinach. Vitamin B6 foods are also easily and readily available: potato, bananas, garbanzo beans, trout, salmon, etc. You won't struggle to find vitamin E-rich foods, and some, such as sunflower seeds and spinach, even overlap the other vitamins.

Nutrient rich food is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. However, as the 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state, "Different foods contain different nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all the nutrients in the amounts you need." Additionally, today's diets, foods, methods of preparation may not provide optimum nutrition or the correct levels of required nutrients.

It can be difficult to ensure that you are getting the correct levels of vitamins and minerals you need. For example, the USDA reports that, "Results of two national surveys, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III 1988-94) and the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (1994-96 CSFII) indicated that diets of most Americans do not provide the recommended intake for vitamin E. However, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on vitamin E published in 2000 states that intake estimates of vitamin E may be low because energy and fat intake are often underreported in national surveys and because the kind and amount of fat added during cooking is often not known. The IOM states that most North American adults get enough vitamin E from their normal diets to meet current recommendations. However, they do caution that low fat diets can result in a significant decrease in vitamin E intake. "Low-fat diets can substantially decrease vitamin E intakes if food choices are not carefully made to enhance á-tocopherol intakes."

(Note: For more information about creating healthy eating habits, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans To determine the specific and unique guidelines you require, see the US Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid

If you have time to keep charts, measure quantities, calculate levels of vitamins and minerals per milligram, and prepare special meals using optimum nutrition preparation, then food is the right path for you.

If you don't, then supplementation might be the right path for you.

Note: Proper levels of vitamins and minerals typically provide multiple benefits: Calcium builds strong bones, vitamin E (an antioxidant) may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease, vitamin C may help the immune function, and so on.

Combining a healthy diet, rich in the needed nutrients, with correct levels of daily supplementation may very well be the best remedy.

Suggested levels of vitamins and minerals for PMS relief

Supplementation of the following, at the following typically safe levels, may relieve PMS symptoms:

Calcium 1200mg
vitamin D 400IU
Folic acid 400micrograms
B6 100 to 200 mg daily
vitamin E 400 IU
vitamin C 500 mg
Manganese 3.5 mg
Magnesium 200 mg

Keep in mind, you need to consider your diet and may need to adjust these levels. Too little or too much may cause a problem. For example, vitamin E may act as an anticoagulant and supplemental intake shouldn't exceed 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) daily.

Ideally, you should meet with a nutritionist to examine your personal diet and habits to determine the best program for you individually. You should also talk to your doctor before undertaking any change in diet, or before starting any supplement program, especially if you are endeavoring to treat a problem.

Exercise and stress relief are also linked to relief of PMS symptoms. As with vitamins, minerals and healthy eating, these provide additional benefits.

Herbs---for example, mood enhancers such as St. John's Wort---are also considered to possibly provide PMS relief.

Questions about this article or safe supplements to take? Contact the author at:
Press Relations:
Telephone: 281.549.9013

The presentations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness or injury, or in any way substitute for medical advice. The only legally recognized use of vitamin/mineral supplements is to prevent or treat specific vitamin/mineral deficiencies. The author of the enclosed information, nor Healthier by Nature or Artful Media Group, Inc. are not to be held responsible for any misconceptions or misuse of the information presented herein. If you have a health problem, please see your physician. Any health statements herein may not have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Copyright ©2007 Artful Media Group, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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