Help for PMS
Julian Whitaker, MD
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects three-quarters of younger women. I speak from experience—I have a daughter and three stepdaughters. Fortunately, several supplements can be beneficial.
Symptom Relief With Vitamins…
Studies show that women with high intakes of calcium and vitamin D are 40 percent less likely to have PMS. Therefore, I recommend taking at least 1,000 mg of supplemental calcium and 2,000–5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. After three months, have your blood level of vitamin D tested and, if necessary, adjust your dose to attain or maintain the optimal level of 50–80 ng/mL. (Vitamin D levels plummet during the dark days of winter) Vitamin B6 and magnesium are also helpful, so I suggest a daily dose of 100 mg and 300–500 mg, respectively.
Effective herbal therapies include chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus)—which reduced breast tenderness, irritability, depression, and headache in a British Medical Journal study—and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), which has been shown to improve overall symptoms. Look for these herbs in your health food store and use as directed. Be aware that St. John’s wort interacts with a number of drugs, including birth control pills.
…And Bioidentical Hormones
You should also eat a good diet (go easy on sodium and carbs and eat lots of potassium-rich produce), get regular exercise, do what you can to reduce stress, and give acupuncture a try. If you still need help, consider bioidentical hormone replacement. PMS is often marked by estrogen dominance—too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Although topical natural progesterone is available over the counter, I recommend consulting a physician who is knowledgeable about bioidentical hormones. If your doctor isn’t open to this approach, come see us.
- To make an appointment with a physician at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (800) 488-1500.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.