Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
130 Case Studies
92 Member Stories
1518 Research

What causes PMS?

While the symptoms and complaints of women who suffer from PMS change in their intensity, they typically include:


Tender breasts


Abdominal pain or cramps

Weight gain

Swelling in ankles, feet, and hands

Stress and depression

Fluctuating hormones are frequently the cause of the symptoms. By way of instance, low levels of serotonin can affect your mood, causing depression. Many women go through the cramping, fatigue, and mood swings that include premenstrual syndrome (PMS), particularly during the reproductive years.  Women may think there is not much they can do to maintain premenstrual syndrome (PMS) under control. It turns out that there are natural treatments to control symptoms, such as exercise and a proper diet. Exercising and healthy eating can help to control the bloating, irritability, depression, and mood changes associated with PMS. Consider these dietary changes:

Though you may encounter cravings throughout your menstrual cycle, continuing research finds certain foods can decrease and aggravate PMS symptoms. Pick a high-fiber diet, calcium-rich foods, and do some physical activity daily.

See: Fibromyalgia, Infection, PMS and Hot Flashes with Bisoma and Tetrasoma Acupuncture

How does diet help PMS symptoms?

Your diet and nutrition also play a part in managing PMS.

Caffeine can lead to breast tenderness.

Alcohol may cause feelings of depression.

Salt can lead to bloating.

Alcohol and caffeine may interrupt sleep.

Sugar provides only short bursts of energy.

By making changes to your daily eating and exercise program, you can manage some PMS symptoms. Selecting a diet of high-fiber, calcium-rich foods, along with some daily physical activity, can help. Taking these measures can create healthy eating habits that will bring benefits throughout your life.

See: Green Leafy Vegetables Health Benefits

PMS friendly vitamins & minerals

Helpful Vitamins and Minerals For PMS

Specific minerals and vitamins can lower your risk of developing and reducing PMS symptoms if they occur.

Vitamin D and calcium work well together to treat PMS and can also prevent it. Calcium eases mood swings, bloating, and headaches. Vitamin D also helps the body in calcium absorption.

An NIH study stated that magnesium and vitamin B6 taken together significantly reduced PMS symptoms in women and is recommended as a PMS remedy. Magnesium regulates serotonin levels, which may affect your mood. It is known to decrease bloating and breast tenderness. Vitamin B6 helps the body in using serotonin, which may ease depression.

Smart food choices all month long and throughout the height of your PMS symptoms may offer relief. These strategies may help:

- Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.

- Say no to foods high in solid fats and added sugars.

- Eat less salt to help reduce bloating and fluid build-up.

It is also important to drink loads of water and eat a lot of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, which include fiber and nutrients to your diet plan. A number of these foods and vitamins are also known to decrease the symptoms of menopause. Consider adding these foods to your menu:

- Green leafy veggies: These are high in fiber and vitamin E.

- Chicken, fish, potatoes, and carrots: These foods are high in vitamin B6.

- Chamomile tea: This calming herb reduces cramps and may soothe irritability.

- Beans: Rich in magnesium, beans can decrease water retention and bloat. Try bean dip, lentils, or add them to the soup.

- Low-fat dairy: For calcium and vitamin D, try milk, cheese, and low-fat Greek yogurt.

- Eggs: Hard-boiled, scrambled, or fried, eggs are packed with vitamins D, B6, and E. Vitamin E reduces headaches and breast tenderness.

- Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts contain a great deal of vitamin E.

If your symptoms persist after making these dietary changes, be sure to talk to your physician about other strategies that might help control and manage your own PMS.

See: Almonds health benefits and nutrition facts

Nutrients that may help PMS symptoms

Foods & Nutrients That May Affect PMS

There is evidence that a woman's diet can promote PMS development or be associated with symptom severity. What women drink and eat, or in some instances, what they do not drink and eat, can be directly associated with PMS symptoms. Those nutrients with the most considerable perceived effects are listed here.

B Vitamins

B-Vitamins play a critical role in our body's daily functioning. They are necessary for converting carbohydrates from food to fuel to the body; they help metabolize protein and fat; they are required to keep hair, nails, healthy skin, and nervous system functioning. Vitamins B12, B6, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate are involved in hormones' metabolism but through different mechanisms. Riboflavin is required to convert B6 into its usable form, which is essential to synthesize serotonin from tryptophan. Niacin deficiency was associated with tryptophan depletion, which might restrict its ability to be converted into serotonin. Thiamine is needed for glucose metabolism and in the biosynthesis of GABA. Folate, Vitamins B12, and B6 are associated with the creation of S-adenosyl-methionine and tetrahydrobiopterin, both of which must metabolize dopamine and serotonin.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is an element in the synthesis of these amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, the precursors to dopamine and serotonin, respectively, each of which influences mood. It is believed that B6 may fix a deficiency in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. B6 was studied independently as a means to alleviate PMS symptoms. Studies have shown B6 supplementation might help relieve symptoms in those women already experiencing PMS. Some exhibit a considerable decrease in irritability, depression, and breast tenderness, while others observed no substantial effect.

Vitamin D and Calcium

Higher dietary intake of vitamin D and calcium through supplements and foods has been associated with decreased PMS risk. Both of these nutrients can influence their growth through their connection to estrogen. Estrogen boosts calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and helps maintain calcium levels inside bones. Too little estrogen, common in menopausal women and people unable to generate adequate estrogen, like women with anorexia or who exercise, also impairs calcium absorption. This impairment contributes to an increase in bone resorption, so the body is able to satisfy its blood calcium requirements.

There are a number of similarities between PMS symptoms and those of hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia, including depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Studies indicate calcium and vitamin D levels are lower in women with PMS than in others and that calcium supplementation may decrease symptom severity. A study discovered that taking 1,200 mg of calcium every day through supplements, such as calcium carbonate, significantly diminished specific symptoms, especially depression, mood swings, headache, and irritability. Researchers speculated that a calcium deficiency and/or a dysregulation of calcium-associated hormones (like estrogen) might be the key culprit in PMS. This study found a substantial reduction in adverse effects, such as water retention, food cravings, and pain from the third treatment cycle with calcium supplementation.

Evidence shows that calcium may be an effective dietary treatment for PMS. Researchers found that calcium intake, especially from food sources, was inversely associated with PMS, using a 30% reduction in women with high calcium intakes. Adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential, also, because of its role in calcium absorption. It may also have its benefits for preventing PMS. High total vitamin D intake was associated with a 41% lower risk of developing PMS. 


Evidence indicates magnesium may be beneficial in reducing fluid retention related to PMS. Magnesium supplements studies have shown improvement in breast tenderness, mood, water retention, and sleeplessness. Research in the Journal of Women's Health found that daily magnesium supplementation with 200 mg of calcium oxide reduced complaints of weight gain, swelling, breast tenderness, and bloating after two weeks vs. placebo.


Iron is critical in the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan. Researchers assessed the ingestion of certain minerals as they relate to the incidence of PMS. A research study found that high consumption of nonheme iron through supplements or plant sources was associated with a lower risk of PMS. The amount of iron intake where an association was detected was greater than the current RDA for women aged 20 to 40.

Healthy Diet

While the jury remains out about the advantages of certain nutrients associated with relieving symptoms or reducing the risk of PMS beginning, it is apparent that a healthy, balanced diet is an integral part of battling premenstrual syndrome. Research is showing that specific dietary nutrients should be carefully examined if ailments of PMS-related symptoms exist. While diet alone probably won't stop PMS or heal it, it is one of the first treatment lines.

See: Acupuncture & TCM for PMS symptoms

Foods to include and avoid for PMS

Foods to Include

Clients who maintain a healthy, balanced diet will probably attain the recommended quantities of critical nutrients. Clients should be advised on food sources of calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, particularly riboflavin and thiamine, and magnesium and iron. Since it could be tricky to achieve recommended quantities of certain nutrients through food sources alone, for example, vitamin D and iron supplements may be recommended to assist customers in attaining adequate intakes. The following can help:

• magnesium-rich foods: nuts, seeds, fish, dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, whole grains, avocados, and low-fat legumes;

• thiamine-rich foods: nuts, fortified cereals, legumes, and red meat

• vitamin B6-rich foods: fatty fish, whole grains, meat, poultry, fortified cereals, avocados, baked potato with skin, soybeans,  bananas, and peanuts.

• vitamin D-rich foods: eel, salmon, trout, tuna, mushrooms, and eggs, or fortified foods;

• calcium-rich foods: dark green leafy vegetables, dairy products, grains, nuts, legumes, canned salmon and sardines;

• riboflavin-rich foods: fortified cereals, almonds, organ meats, whole grains, wheat germ, mushrooms, soybeans, dairy products, eggs, and dark green vegetables;

Foods to Exclude

It's advised that women decrease or eliminate the intake of caffeine, salt, sugar, and alcohol, especially during the luteal phase. These foods have been associated with an increase in the stress hormone cortisol and a decline in serotonin. Sodium restriction is suggested to help minimize bloating, fluid retention, and breast swelling or tenderness. Caffeine limitation is advocated primarily because of its association with an increase in irritability, nervousness, and sleeplessness. Alcohol can exacerbate PMS symptoms and may deplete the body's vitamin B shops.

See: Ayurveda for PMS symptoms


Women who experience chronic PMS may benefit from a personalized diet and lifestyle recommendations. By taking a look at someone's history, both medical and social, and executing a detailed dietary intake evaluation, dietitians can identify deficiencies and recommend dietary changes to improve symptoms. Taking food allergies and intolerances into consideration, they can recommend foods to include or prevent or may recommend extra vitamin and mineral supplements.

See: Ginger Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts


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See: Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

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