It’s that time of month again…..cramping, bloating, mood swings, breakouts, headaches; the amazing symptoms of PMS! Most women I know suffer with these unbearable symptoms, sometimes for years! In my teens, due to an unhealthy diet and nutritional deficiencies, I experienced most of these symptoms. I was also taking the birth control pill during this time, and was told it would help alleviate my bloating, headaches, cramping and so on. Well….it did not! It wasn’t until I radically changed my diet and got off the pill that PMS became quite blissful!! Yes…I said it…Blissful! NO cramping, NO headaches, NO bloating, just easy breezy.
Although I don’t recommend the birth control pill, women must make their own decisions, and carefully consider all methods of birth control, weighing such factors as long term health risks, convenience and effectiveness. There are advantages and disadvantages to all methods, so choose carefully!!
The birth control pill is a combination of SYNTHETIC estrogen and progestin. Women are suppose to have a connection to their lunar cycle, and taking the pill blocks this relationship. The pill also increases blood clots, heart attack, stroke, depression, migraines (one symptom I experienced often), yeast infections, and worst of all, it increases breast and liver cancer. Nutritional deficiencies are also associated with the pill, such as, magnesium, vitamins B6, B1, B2, B3, B12 and folic acid. I HIGHLY advise taking a high potency B complex if you are using the pill, along with vitamin C, vitamin E, fish oil/flax oil, and a high potency probiotic. We should not be dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for sexual freedom!
NOW…how can we treat PMS symptoms naturally?? Luckily, there are many options! First off, we must address DIET! There are many foods that should be avoided, such as: sugar, white flour products, caffeine, animal-derived saturated fats, excessive salt (if you have water retention), alcohol (should be minimal as it imbalances estrogen), fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides (which disrupts hormones) and foods that contain PCBs, which include most meat/fish. Choose ORGANIC dairy and meat as often as possible, eat a high amount of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, include essential fatty acids- such as, fish oil, flax oil, hemp oil, as well as ground flax and/or chia seed to help with bowel regularity which improves estrogen metabolism.
As mentioned above, there are many supplements I recommend a woman should take if she is experiencing PMS. Here is more thorough list of nutrients I recommend and why:
Calcium – helps to reduce mood swings, bloating, cramping and swelling
Magnesium – assists B6 metabolism, reduces water retention/swelling, reduces bloating, is the ‘anti-stress’ mineral, eases muscle tension. (I typically take 200-300mg before bed to help with sleep and muscle tension)
Chromium Picolinate – helps to decrease sugar cravings and balances blood sugar
Vitamin B complex + additional Vitamin B6 – B vitamins assist in liver detoxification and are involved in every neurological process in the body. B6 specifically helps to reduces mood swings, anxiety, irritability and helps liver metabolize estrogen more efficiently. B6 taken 1-2 weeks prior to your period can truly work wonders!!
Vitamin E – reduces breast tenderness by decreasing levels of inflammatory prostaglandins
Vitamin C – potent antioxidant, helps body to excrete excess estrogen more efficiently, promotes absorption and utilization of iron in the blood
Essential Fatty Acids – can help control PMS cravings, decreases inflammation, helps to balance hormones
Probiotics – helps to support intestinal flora. Healthy intestinal flora can assist in breaking down estrogen
EstroSense – a supplement I LOVE, from Preferred Nutrition. This supplement is great for balancing hormones, supporting the liver, contains cancer-protecting plant nutrients, helps reduce endometriosis and fibroids.
As each woman is biochemically different, it is important to speak with a Naturopath or Nutritionist that can help assist you with the right doses and nutrient therapy plan for PMS. There are many other nutrients, herbs and homeopathics that can help to balance hormones, support liver detoxification and really help to make your period easy, breezy and pain free! If you are experiencing PMS symptoms, that is a sign of an imbalance and starting a nutrient therapy plan would be highly advisable!
Happy Hormone Balancing!