Supplements for PMS

Women’s health expert Emily A. Kane, ND, LAc, answers your questions about PMS.

It is theorized that one of the reasons women live longer than men, on average, is because they have a built-in detoxification mechanism called menstruation. Women shed their uterine lining every month. The rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone allows for ovulation and the building of the uterine lining.

What causes PMS?

The menstrual process may become impaired by any extra toxic load in the body. Toxins can wreak havoc on hormonal balance.

Most molecules in your body are either fat- or water-based. Hormones are fat-based molecules, and unfortunately, fat-based toxins are difficult to detoxify. The body cleanses itself mostly with water, and water isn’t enough when it comes to getting rid of hormone-disrupting toxins.

Is it common for PMS symptoms to get worse with age?

Yes, PMS often gets worse toward the end of the menstrual years. One reason for this is that progesterone levels decline in the later part of the fertility years. Progesterone is a progestational hormone that supports the development of the fetus. Estrogen builds the “nest” and promotes ovulation. Less progesterone equals relative estrogen dominance.

What is estrogen dominance?

Estrogen dominance is characterized by more aggressive behavior, heavier bleeding, tender breasts, easier weight gain, water retention, bloating, anxiety or panic attacks, crying for no reason, carbohydrate cravings, headaches, acne, cold sores, asthma attacks, sinus congestion, and increased seizure rate. Taking natural progesterone can help balance all these crazy symptoms, but so can cleaning up your lifestyle and avoiding endocrine disruptors such as soft plastics, chemicals, drugs, pesticides, and GMOs.

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors are environmental chemicals—including DDT, DDE, PCB, PCP, and chlordane—that are hard for the body to break down; in most cases, they are stored in fat cells rather than being eliminated. They’re known to mimic estrogen in the body and are a major factor in estrogen-related health problems such as PMS, breast cancer, and low sperm counts.

What supplements can I take to ease PMS?

1 - Indole-3-carbinol 

You can supplement with indole-3-carbinol (I3C) or DIM (a byproduct of I3C). This beneficial ingredient found in cruciferous vegetables helps rid the body of toxins, including excess estrogen. Supplements designed to assist with hormone balance may contain I3C, DIM, or a combination of the two. Eating more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can also be beneficial.

2 - Vitamin B6 and Magnesium

Vitamin B6 (50 to 100 mg daily) and magnesium—in combination—can be a miracle cure for PMS; a deficiency of these nutrients is strongly implicated in PMS. To figure out your optimal dose of magnesium, start with 500 mg at bedtime, and gradually increase until you have an easy-to-pass bowel movement at least once daily.

3 - Zinc

Women with PMS are often low in zinc, especially when carb cravings are present. Zinc can also help reduce the production of prolactin, a stress hormone; take 30–50 mg daily.

4 - Methylation supplements 

Supplements that improve methylation (one of the body’s detoxification methods) will naturally decrease PMS symptoms. Some of the best nutrients for this are MSM, melatonin, CoQ10, carnitine, SAMe, vitamin B12 (the methyl-cobalamin form), curcumin, and 5-MTHF (an easier-to-absorb form of folic acid).

5 - Herbs

Some of my favorite herbs for PMS include dong quai, licorice, black cohosh, and vitex (chaste tree berry), all of which mostly work by improving adrenal function (adrenal health is fundamental to hormone regulation), blocking excess estrogen, and improving progesterone production.

6 - Iodine

According to some research, iodine may help to alleviate painful breast swelling before and during your period. Iodine deficiency has been linked to fibrocystic breasts, a common, often painful condition that can also be aggravated by caffeine.

Evening Primrose Oil

Barlean's Evening Primrose Oil

Barlean’s Evening Primrose Oil

Violet Iodine

BioPharmX Violet Iodine

BioPharmX Violet Iodine

Floradix Calcium Magnesium with Zinc & D

Flora Floradix Calcium Magnesium with Zinc & D

Flora Floradix Calcium Magnesium with Zinc & D


Solaray Vitex

Solaray Vitex

Folate as Metafolin 800 MCG

Solgar Folate as Metafolin 800 MCG

Solgar Folate as Metafolin 800 MCG

The Vitamin Shoppe
Vitamin B6 100

The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin B6 100

The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin B6 100

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