The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Impact of dietary minerals on PMS

howtodealwithpms1Many dietary supplements are advocated to reduce certain symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, only one  — calcium — has been demonstrated to be of significant benefit.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, studied the effects of taking iron, potassium, zinc, and other minerals.

First, the details.

  • Women were free from PMS at the start of the study.
  • After 10 years, 1,057 women were confirmed as having PMS.
  • 1,968 women served as a control group.
  • Mineral intake was assessed using food frequency questionnaires completed in 1991, 1995, and 1999.
  • The findings were adjusted for the effect of calcium intake and other factors.

And, the results.

  • Women taking the highest amounts of nonheme iron had significantly lower risk (30% to 40%) of PMS vs women taking the lowest amounts.
    • Non-heme iron does not come from an animal source.
    • This amount of iron may be obtained in 1 to 1.5 servings per day of iron-fortified cereal or with supplements.
  • The same was true for zinc from supplements — intake of at least 25 mg/day vs. none.
    • The current recommended intake of zinc is 8 mg per day
  • However, women consuming the highest amount of potassium had a higher risk of PMS than women consuming the lowest amount of potassium.
    • The higher PMS risk with potassium was seen at levels below the current recommended intake of 4,700 mg per day.
  • Magnesium, copper, sodium, and manganese were not associated with PMS risk.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “These findings suggest that dietary minerals may be useful in preventing PMS.”

“However,” the authors warn, “as high iron intake may have adverse health consequence, women should avoid consuming more than the tolerable upper intake level of 45 mg per day unless otherwise recommended by a physician,

The study is important because for many women neither lifestyle change nor the use of drugs is a satisfactory approach to PMS. Here we have an alternative if future research confirms these findings.

2/28/13 9/56 JR

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