Calcium and Vitamin D for PMS
Julian Whitaker, MD
Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month when I can be myself. — Roseanne Barr
While most women can live with and, like Roseanne Barr, even make light of the emotional and physical changes that may occur during the second half of the menstrual cycle, up to one in five women have full-blown premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For them, PMS symptoms such as mood swings, food cravings, bloating, weight gain, and breast tenderness are so marked that they interfere with quality of life.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that there may be a safe and easy way to prevent PMS. Researchers examined data on the dietary and supplemental intake of calcium and vitamin D of more than 2,000 women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. They found that the women getting higher levels of calcium and vitamin D had a 40 percent lower risk of developing PMS. Given this and all the other benefits of calcium and vitamin D, including prevention of osteoporosis and some types of cancer, it just makes sense for all women to add these nutrients to their daily supplement regimen.
- 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.
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