Premenstrual tension syndrome, commonly known as PMS, can be a real drag. Especially when you're suffering from symptoms like bloating, cramping, mood swings, insomnia, and acne. And it can get in the way of living your fullest life. As a women's hormone expert who helps women balance their hormones naturally and eliminate unwanted symptoms. To that end, I recommend that all women take a three-step approach to their hormonal health. This includes diet, lifestyle, and supplements for PMS relief.
I've spoken in previous articles about diet and lifestyle changes for balancing your hormones and eliminating unwanted symptoms. Today I want to share with you the top seven supplements I recommend for women who are struggling with PMS.
Supplements for PMS
- B Vitamin Complex
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Adaptogenic herbs
7 Supplements for PMS
1. B Vitamins Are a Girl’s Best Friend
B vitamins are absolutely essential for building amazing hormones. B vitamins are essential for liver detoxification. If you recall, your liver is exactly what packages up your estrogen to be moved out of the body. Estrogen dominance is a common culprit behind PMS symptoms.
If you struggle with menstrual cramps, choose a B complex that has at least 100 mg of thiamin, or B1. Studies show that low levels of B1 are associated with muscle cramps, which includes your uterus.
Stressed? B Vitamins Can Help.
For gals dealing with a whole lot of stress, it's essential to bring on a B complex for support. That's because the B vitamins support adrenal health and healthy production of cortisol. Cortisol helps keep inflammation low, modulates stress, and keeps you from dumping all of your sex hormones for survival. Read more about how stress effects your period.
Folate vs Folic Acid
Straight out the gate, if you're taking anything with folic acid, throw that junk in the trash.
Folic acid is a cheap synthetic vitamin that does us no favors if we're a woman with a MTHFR mutation. It's estimated that around 40% of the population has issues with how this enzyme functions with folic acid. Now whether or not you know you have a MTHFR mutation, I still recommend not taking folic acid.
I like to think about your body as a Ferrari, baby! You wouldn't put the cheapest fuel in a Ferrari, would you? Instead, choose a B complex that has a methylated or activated version of folate. Methylfolate blend and methylcobalamin, which is an activated form of B12 are both high quality.
The B Complex I carry in my store has activated B vitamins, like NatureFolate and is designed to deliver the right amount of each B vitamin for complete hormone support.
Got menstrual cramps? Those are the worst.
If you are a woman sitting in my clinic struggling with menstrual cramps, magnesium is definitely something we'll start.
Why? Because it helps lower prostaglandins. Those are the hormone-like substances that cause cramping, which can be severe and debilitating. Elevated levels of prostaglandins are associated with more painful menstrual cramps.
Magnesium can also help support more restful sleep. If the week or two before your period you're having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, magnesium may be the ticket. And better sleep leads to better moods, better our hormones, and we feel way happier throughout the day.
Does your mood tank right before your period? There have been multiple studies showing a correlation between magnesium deficiency and depression. In one study it was found that people with depression and a magnesium deficiency had improved moods after taking 500 mg magnesium for more than 8 weeks.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) are a commonly prescribed PMS medication for mood swings. It's important to note that these deplete folate so, if you're on them, be sure to take a quality B complex. Remember to also talk to your doctor before you make changes to your medication.
Proper Hormone Production
Magnesium also supports pituitary health and signaling to the hormone-producing glands in your body. Your pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
FSH and LH are what signal to the ovaries to get an egg ready and to ovulate. That is a major way we get those wonderful hormone levels. However, if you’re on hormonal birth control, know this. Hormonal birth control, like the pill, inhibits this system.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone tells the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These controls your mood, metabolism and, menses…among other things.
ACTH is a hormone that signals to your adrenal glands to help with the production of cortisol. Balanced levels of cortisol are important for the immune system and inflammation modulation. Also helps with ditching that unwanted belly fat! In my clinical experience, if your adrenal glands are not functioning optimally, you will develop a hormone imbalance.
Which Magnesium to Choose?
A Buffered Magnesium Chelate is a better option if citrate causes you some serious bowel distress (aka pooping too much) and want to take the one of the best absorbed forms. You can read more about the benefits of magnesium and the best forms here.
3. Estrogen Detox
When we talk about the root cause of PMS, menstrual cramps, mood swings, and insomnia elevated levels of estrogen, known as estrogen dominance, are often at play.
Herbs, like vitex and black cohosh, support healthy estrogen and progesterone levels. These can be taken as a capsule or as a liquid tincture.
Calcium-D-glucarate, resveratrol, rosemary, DIM, and broccoli seed extract are all nutrients that help your body process estrogen into safe metabolites and help maintain healthy levels of estrogen.
Balance by Dr. Brighten is a formulation that I use within my clinical practice. It contains the nutrients and herbs listed above, plus added support for your adrenals and testosterone levels.
Turmeric contains a constituent known as curcumin which is highly beneficial in lowering inflammation.
Remember, our natural estrogen and synthetic estrogens, like those found in hormonal contraceptives, have an inflammatory effect in the body. When inflammation goes high everything else spirals. Our cramps can become worse, our mood can definitely tank, and it takes a toll on our adrenal glands.
Also, if your adrenal glands are working overtime due to inflammation, that's going to have a big impact on your sex hormones, leading to a further hormonal imbalance.
When selecting a turmeric supplement, it's important that you find one that's highly bioavailable. This means that your body will actually be able to absorb it and utilize it. Unfortunately, many turmeric supplements that are available on the market are poorly absorbed which means although you’re taking it, you won’t really see the benefits. The turmeric supplement I carry in my store contains a unique combination of three bioactive, health-promoting curcuminoids: curcumin, bisdemethoxy curcumin and demethoxy curcumin, along with turmeric oil. These three have been shown to have the strongest, most protective and best-researched constituents of the turmeric root.
Turmeric is also highly beneficial for liver detoxification and optimizes the health of your cells. When inflammation goes high it is harder to use our hormones at the cellular level. This is another way turmeric can support hormone health.
These days it seems like just about everything is hating on that microbiota in your gut. From antibiotics to gluten, pesticides, and synthetic hormonal contraceptives, our microbiome needs much love and support.
Why does this matter with PMS? Well, if your liver packages up all that estrogen and gets it ready to move out, you gotta poop it out. Otherwise, that estrogen goes right back into circulation.
Plus, we know that imbalances in the microbiome can actually lead to higher estrogen levels within the body, which then causes a whole lot more PMS.
Probiotics, like most supplements, is not something that you want to skimp on. Getting a high-quality probiotic is a must if you are struggling with PMS or other hormonal symptoms.
Most probiotics do not survive your stomach acid. So bringing on one that can make its way into your intestines and help you repopulate your gut is absolutely essential in eliminating unwanted PMS symptoms. I recommend a spore-based probiotic. This means it can survive the acidity of the stomach and is less likely to aggravate conditions like SIBO, unlike lactobacillus based probiotics.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are healthy fats can help reduce menstrual cramps by throttling prostaglandins. If you are low in omega-3s or you have a higher level of pro-inflammatory omegas, then prostaglandins can rise and create painful menstrual cramps.
I recommended that women choose a fish oil or algae-based omega-3. Avoid flaxseed oil (whole fresh ground seeds are fine), as many of the commercially available products are usually highly oxidized.
We also need to be mindful that fish oil can be contaminated with things like PCBs and heavy metals. This is why I only recommend the highest quality of fish oil for my patients. It needs to go through third party testing to ensure none of these toxins are present.
If you’re buying fish oil in bulk, at a big box store, or from a company that is not doing third-party testing then chances are you're not getting what you’re paying for. And worse, you may be taking a contaminated product.
In my store, I only carry fish oil that is screened for these contaminants and third-party tested. They also use sustainable fishing practices so that we ensure we aren’t doing damage to the environment.
Read more about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs help you adapt to stress by balancing your body's response to stress. They can help increase, decrease or harmonize your cortisol and other stress hormone levels.
What do stress hormones have to do with PMS? When your brain is screaming “make stress hormones” then your ovaries are being told, “do NOT ovulate.” If you're not ovulating then you're not making adequate progesterone, which leaves you feeling frazzled, anxious, and wrecks your sleep.
Low progesterone can lead to a relative estrogen dominance. This is a recipe for heavy periods, extreme moods swings and irritability, acne, breast tenderness, insomnia, weight gain…and all those other unwanted period problems.
In my medical practice, I have found that supporting the adrenal glands is part of the secret sauce that facilitates PMS relief and remedies other hormone imbalances quick! I recommend women begin with an adaptogenic herb complex with Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Licorice. These herbs support healthy cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The product I recommend is Adrenal Support, it contains Vitamin B5, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6, which are hormone supportive nutrients.
Curious Where to Start?
A list of seven PMS supplements can feel overwhelming and confusing. Where to start with supplements is the number one question I get both in my medical practice and from my readers. Here's what I recommend.
If you're a gal who is struggling with hormones or dreading your period every month then I want to share with you what I've found to be most effective in improving hormone health— Balance, Adrenal Support, and MegaSporeBiotic probiotic.
Balance by Dr. Brighten supports healthy levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Adrenal Support helps your adrenal glands work like a champ, while also improving your tolerance for stress. Plus, that added licorice can help you get those cortisol and testosterone levels in check. MegaSporeBiotic is a high-quality probiotic that supports healthy digestion. Remember, your gut health is pivotal to your hormone health.
Because these supplements are so important to hormonal health I have bundled them together into the Period Problems Kit™.
Buh Bye PMS and Hello Period Bliss
These were seven of the best supplements for PMS, helpful for any menstruating female. Whether you're dealing with PMS, PCOS, fibroids, or wanting to offset the negative effects of hormonal birth control. This is what I recommend women keep in their medicine cabinet and make a part of their daily routine.
If you're a woman who feels like you've been doing everything right with your diet and lifestyle choices but are still not getting the hormone results you were hoping to achieve, I recommend considering adding supplements to help your health and reinforce those positive diet and lifestyle changes you've made.
In my clinical experience, supplements can be like rocket fuel to help you reach your hormonal goals.
PMS supplements help keep your healing momentum and not backslide when you get hit with an unforeseen stressor, endocrine disrupter, or any of the things that we encounter every day that wreak havoc on our hormones.
If you're ready for some blissful periods, to ditch your PMS, boost your energy and have an amazing mood, then it's time you put some supplements and introduce them into your daily routine.
If you're looking for the highest quality, doctor-approved supplements that are non-GMO, gluten and allergy free, without any weird food coloring or dyes, or any garbage that you don't want to have in your supplement, check out what I recommend in my store.
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