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PMS and Nutritional Therapies: What is the relationship?

In addition to indicating quality of life, women’s well-being can also be a valid tool for determining the functional impact of some diseases. Thus, among the most common problems faced by them are those related to the menstrual cycle. The Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is one of the most widespread disorders in reproductive age, negatively impacting women’s emotions and performance. To date, no treatment is universally recognized as effective, so nutrition has been shown to play an important role in the treatment of this syndrome.

PMS is a clinical condition that occurs during the luteal menstrual cycle, that is, during the last 14 days of the menstrual cycle. It is characterized by the presence of recurrent emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms, which resolve spontaneously within 4 days of the onset of menstruation and do not recur until the next cycle. In addition, the list of symptoms associated with PMS is extensive, can vary in severity from one individual to another and extending across several medical specialties: from gynecological to psychiatric, affecting all aspects of life, as well as can cause severe social or occupational dysfunction.

Its etiology is not well defined by the literature, although it is believed that the causes of PMS are associated with hormonal fluctuations, family medical history and nutritional deficiencies. It is worth mentioning that the syndrome is not associated with age, educational level, financial means or occupation; still, depending on the severity can lead to a reduction in quality of life, for example, reduced academic performance, reduced occupational productivity and a negative performance.



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Food Standards and PMS

As stated earlier, no treatment is universally recognized for PMS, so many women seek therapeutic approaches outside of conventional medicine. In this sense, studies show that diet seems to be an important factor for its modulation, so it is recommended that women follow a healthy eating pattern, that is, that there is a predominance of fresh and unprocessed foods.

For example, a study that looked at the impact of three dietary patterns (BP): traditional BP: rich in eggs, tomato sauce, fruit, and red meat; Healthy BP: rich in dried fruits, spices and nuts; and Western PA: characterized by high consumption of fast food, soft drinks and processed meats. As a result, it was observed that Western BP had a positive association with premenstrual syndrome, while the other two had an inverse correlation.

Micronutrients and PMS

Zinc has multiple beneficial effects on the body, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant actions. Studies show that when supplemented for 12 weeks in women with PMS this micronutrient had a beneficial impact on physical and psychological symptoms, total antioxidant capacity, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Still, studies show that women with PMS commonly have lower serum calcium levels., and despite the need for more research in the area it is likely that its supplementation can considerably improve the incidence of this syndrome, as well as its symptoms. In addition, researchers show that when associated with vitamin D, calcium in addition to reducing symptoms, can also act in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. This is a possible alternative to be considered, as it is an inexpensive, low-risk, acceptable and affordable supplementation to eliminate or reduce the symptoms of PMS.

Lastly, magnesium supplementation is considered effective in preventing PMS, dysmenorrhea, and menstrual migraine. In addition, the literature shows that when magnesium is combined with vitamin B6 it can be effective in reducing premenstrual stress, and that vitamin B6 can effectively reduce anxiety in older women.

Clinical practice

PMS is a complex syndrome with symptoms that can vary from one individual to another. To date, there is no universal method for its treatment, despite this, andThese have shown that nutrition can be a tool for improving the incidence and symptoms of PMS.

It is suggested that women with PMS have a healthy eating pattern, that is, that there is a predominance of fresh and unprocessed foods. As well as having a greater attention to the adequate consumption of micronutrients, especially calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins.

Bibliographic references

: Siminiuc R, Ţurcanu D. Impact of nutritional diet therapy on premenstrual syndrome. Frontiers in Nutrition

. 2023;10. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2023.1079417.

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