Premenstrual Syndrome

Also indexed as:PMS, PMT, Premenstrual Tension
Know your body and find your balance despite PMS. Because every woman is different, no single treatment effectively relieves all symptoms in all women. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Supplement Amount Why
1,000 to 1,200 mg daily 3 stars [3 stars]
Calcium appears to reduce the risk of mood swings, bloating, headaches, and other PMS symptoms.
2 to 6 grams per day, during the second half of the menstrual cycle 3 stars [3 stars]
Some research suggests that L-tryptophan may help balance mood symptoms associated with PMS.
Vitamin B6
100 to 200 mg per day on a regular basis 3 stars [3 stars]
Many clinical trials show that taking vitamin B6 helps relieve PMS symptoms.
20 mg a day of a concentrated herbal extract 3 stars [3 stars]
Vitex has been shown to help balance of estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle and may alleviate PMS symptoms.
Evening Primrose Oil
3 to 4 grams daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Women with PMS may have impaired conversion of linoleic acid to gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Evening primrose oil contains GLA and may reduce PMS symptoms.
Krill Oil
2 grams daily for one month; after that, 2 grams per day beginning eight days prior to menstruation and continuing for two days after the start  2 stars [2 stars]
Krill oil has been shown in a double-blind trial to be an effective treatment for premenstrual syndrome, including emotional symptoms and breast tenderness.
200 to 400 mg daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Supplementing with magnesium may help reduce the risk of mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and other symptoms.
Follow label directions to use a product containing extra 600 mg vitamin B6, 500 mg magnesium, and 200 IU vitamin E daily 2 stars [2 stars]
One study found that a multivitamin-mineral supplement containing vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins relieved PMS symptoms.
Potassium Gluconate
600 mg daily 2 stars [2 stars]
A preliminary trial found that women with severe PMS who took potassium supplements had complete resolution of PMS symptoms within four menstrual cycles.
15 mg twice a day for two menstrual cycles 2 stars [2 stars]
In a double-blind trial, supplementing with an extract of saffron petals was significantly more effective than a placebo for relieving PMS symptoms.
Vitamin B6

Take under medical supervision: 100 to 300 mg daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Several studies indicate that supplementing with vitamin B6 helps alleviate depression, including depression associated with PMS.
Vitamin E
300 IU daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Vitamin E may decrease PMS symptoms, according to one study.
Bee Pollen
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
One small study found that 2 tablets twice daily of a dietary supplement containing bee pollen extract and royal jelly may decrease PMS symptoms including water retention, weight gain, and irritability.
Black Cohosh
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Black cohosh has been historically used to treat PMS.
Dong Quai
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In Traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is typically used in combination with herbs such as peony and osha for menopausal symptoms and menstrual cramps.
Evening Primrose Oil

(Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In one trial, women with IBS who experienced worsening symptoms before and during their menstrual period were helped by taking evening primrose oil.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Standardized herbal Ginkgo extract has been shown to alleviate PMS symptoms.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In Traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is used in combination with herbs such as peony and osha for menopausal symptoms and menstrual cramps.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Anecdotal reports suggest that progesterone may be effective against PMS symptoms.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Supplementing with soy protein may help relieve premenstrual swelling and cramping.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In one double-blind trial, supplementation with curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) significantly improved symptoms of PMS, compared with a placebo.
Vitamin A
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Very high amounts of vitamin A have reduced PMS symptoms in some studies.
Vitamin B-Complex
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Research has linked B vitamin deficiencies to PMS, so some women may benefit from supplementing with B-complex vitamins for symptom relief.
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Based on anecdotal evidence, yarrow tea may be beneficial when the main symptom of PMS is spastic pain.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.