NUMBER ONE: Check-in on your B Vitamin needs. Why? Taking a good B Vitamin complex throughout the month will help reduce the symptoms of PMS. Estrogens, including oral birth control pills or hormone replacement, deplete B vitamins. Depletion can take a toll on the body because we need B vitamins for multiple functions. Vitamin B6 specifically helps to boost the production of serotonin. When serotonin is low, women experience depression, poor memory and poor sleep (which we often see in PMS). In the liver, B Vitamins contribute to detoxification of environmental pollutants, medications and excess estrogens. Having a busy lifestyle, high exercise output, stress, and alcohol consumption all deplete our B’s. Even if a woman is not taking an estrogen hormone, she likely needs them! Make sure to ask your provider about doses.
NUMBER TWO: I cannot say enough about the importance of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. A prostaglandin is a hormone-like substance in the body that helps regulate inflammation and pain. There are “good” prostaglandins (PgE1 is anti-inflammatory) and there are “bad” prostaglandins (PgE2 is pro-inflammatory). We want more PgE1 and less PgE2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids boost PgE1 and help relieve pain and cramping. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is an Omega-6 Fatty Acid that also produces PgE1. When taken during the luteal phase, EPO has a supportive effect on progesterone. B Vitamins, along with Vitamin C and Magnesium are needed to harmonize this process. Also, from a lifestyle standpoint, consider reducing animal protein intake and eating more vegetable sources. This is because PgE2 is derived from animal fats & proteins.
NUMBER THREE: Also known as Chaste Tree Berry, Vitex Agnus Cactus is the single most important plant for the treatment of PMS. It is known to help heal ovarian dysfunction and for its prolactin-inhibiting effects. While it does not contain any active hormones, it improves progesterone balance, treating depression and irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, cravings and acne, and helping to regulate the menstrual cycle.
NUMBER FOUR: Magnesium: Magnesium is an important component of heart and nervous system health, cellular energy and hormone regulation. Supplementation is effective in reducing the muscle spasms and anxiety of PMS. Magnesium is abundant in foods including whole grains and cereals. The soluble forms (citrate, glycinate or malate) are the best tolerated forms. A ratio of twice as much calcium to magnesium is usually recommended unless there is a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) in baths is a great way to get magnesium into the system through the skin. It calms the nervous system and is a potent detoxifier. Add a little essential oil and this home remedy works!
NUMBER FIVE: Essential oils provide a calming effect, help reduce cramps and contribute to regulating a woman’s cycle. I love it when we can get our medicine through topical application or aromatically because this reduces consumption of pills. Essential oils lighten up the healing process because they are fun to use and smell great! Research shows that certain essential oils lower adrenal stress hormones immediately upon inhalation. For PMS, I like a blend of Clary Sage, Lavender, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Fennel, Carrot Seed, Palmarosa, and Vitex. Massage (with a carrier oil) onto the abdomen for soothing cramps or diffuse in a room to calm the nervous system. A woman can apply to the back of her neck, to feet and wrists (after which, I recommend inhaling deeply three times) for added calming effect. This is a great routine to do every morning and evening to ground oneself and set the nervous system.