9 best PMS supplements

If only there was one magic vitamin for periods.

Instead, there are various herbal remedies for PMS and which one works for you will depend on your symptoms and your own unique biology.

Here, we outline nine common supplements to help you to understand what’s available – from evening primrose oil to magnesium for PMS.

1. Evening primrose oil

If you’re curious about the benefits of evening primrose oil, PMS is likely to be driving your interest.

It’s an herbal remedy that many women credit with reducing PMS symptoms.

Although there isn’t compelling scientific evidence to support its use as a treatment for PMS generally, it could help with reducing breast pain connected with the menstrual cycle.

Within evening primrose oil is gamma-linolenic acid (or GLA), which is an omega-6 essential fatty acid.

As women suffering with breast pain are more likely to have low levels of GLA in their blood, regularly taking an evening primrose oil supplement may help reduce breast discomfort.

2. Starflower oil

Another example of a classic PMS supplement.

This extract from the borage plant, is another rich source of the fatty acid, GLA.

Consequently, this supplement can offer similar benefits for relieving breast tenderness as evening primrose oil.

In fact, starflower oil contains about twice as much GLA as evening primrose oil.

3. Omega 3

Omega-3s, or more specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),are commonly found in PMS supplements.

These unsaturated fatty acids play important roles in various aspects of our health, and this appears to extend to helping with reducing symptoms of PMS.

For example, one study found a reduction in the severity of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating in women taking omega-3 as part of a trial.

Another study suggested taking fish oil could be more effective than ibuprofen in reducing period pain.

4. Calcium

Blood calcium levels are often lower in women suffering with symptoms of PMS.

Research shows that increasing calcium intake with supplements could help to reduce the severity of menstrual pain.

In addition, it could help to curb other PMS symptoms from bloating to emotional symptoms, such as mood swings, and anxiety.

5. Vitamin B6

This particular member of the B vitamin family plays a vital role in creating neurotransmitters – the chemical messengers that carry information between your brain cells helping to control your emotions.

This includes, for example, mood-regulating serotonin. As a result, a daily dose of B6 could help improve low mood and irritability symptoms.

6. Vitamin B12

An important role of this vitamin is making red blood cells, which can help to prevent certain types of anaemia.

Consequently, if you have particularly heavy periods, increasing your intake of B12 can support with the replenishment of red blood cells.

In addition, when B12 is combined with fish oil, it may also contribute to relieving period pain.

7. Magnesium

Are you considering taking magnesium for period cramps? The good news is it may actually help.

During the week before your period, your magnesium levels naturally fall.

This can contribute to the appearance of some unwanted PMS symptoms.

For example, lower levels of magnesium are linked to constipation, which could lead to the bloating and abdominal discomfort experienced with PMS.

Adding a magnesium supplement can help redress this imbalance.

Research also suggests a regular top up of magnesium could help to alleviate PMS-induced stress and anxiety.

8. Vitamin D

Similar to calcium, studies also show that lower levels of vitamin D are common in women suffering with premenstrual symptoms.

As a result, maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D could help to reduce the risk of PMS.

The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin D also mean it could make menstrual cramps less severe.

A high dose could decrease the production of prostaglandins, helping to weaken one of the main reasons why you’re getting cramps.

9. Vitex agnus castus (or chasteberry)

The fruits of the Vitex agnus castus plant (also known as chasteberry) have a reputation for helping with hormonal well-being, making it a recognised PMS supplement.

It’s believed taking this supplement could encourage an increase in the production of progesterone. This can help to offset oestrogen dominance, creating a better hormone balance.

A study by the BMJ, concluded that where there isn’t an underlying condition causing PMS symptoms, agnus castus is an effective herbal remedy for PMS.

More than half of the women taking part in the trial reported a 50% or greater improvement in PMS symptoms.

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