Premenstrual syndrome is at the core of many jokes. Women who suffer from PMS are notoriously unamused by this well-meaning humor and given the myriad symptoms of premenstrual syndromes and the discomfort they cause this is understandable. Natural PMS supplements and closely followed health regimen can in fact make a difference in the scope and severity of these symptoms.

In this excerpt from the book Real Cause, Real Cure by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD and Bill Gottlieb CHC the authors explain the mechanisms behind PMS symptoms and how natural PMS supplements can help.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Real Causes

  • Hormonal Imbalances. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are mostly caused by a deficiency of progesterone.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies. Low levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, and essential fatty acids can play a role in PMS.

Ninety percent of women of reproductive age experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Twenty percent to 40 percent say the symptoms of PMS interfere with daily life. And that’s not surprising, because PMS can cause a lot of symptoms. The list includes irritability, anxiety, mood swings, depression, headaches, bloating, weight gain, constipation, fatigue, sugar cravings, cramps, acne, breast tenderness, and backache.

What’s behind all these pre-period problems? A low level of progesterone, the hormone that (along with estrogen) regulates the menstrual cycle, keeps reproductive organs healthy, prepares the body for pregnancy, and acts as our body’s natural Valium, creating a sense of ease and calm. Because there are progesterone receptors throughout the body, a lack of the hormone can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Another cause is low levels of the prostaglandin PGE1. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds with many functions, including regulating other hormones, controlling levels of inflammation, and regulating calcium. A low level of PGE1 can play a key role in the irritability, anxiety, and mood swings.

Real Cure Regimen

Natural remedies can help boost pre-period levels of both progesterone and PGE1, easing the symptoms of PMS. Give them about three months to start working (though they often start sooner).

•Take omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil boost levels of PGE1. For my patients with PMS, I recommend one teaspoon to three teaspoons a day of fish oil for three months. (Taking fish oil in liquid form rather than via a capsule delivers a very high dose of omega-3s.) After three months, switch to one teaspoon (or about three capsules) a day. A unique fish oil product called Vectomega, from Terry Naturally, dramatically improves absorption of omega-3s, so one or two tablets are all you need. It’s now my favorite omega-3 supplement. Carlson and Nordic Naturals also make excellent (and flavored) liquid fish oil.

•Take evening primrose oil. The evening primrose is a plant native to North America, and the oil from the seed is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that boosts PGE1. Look for the word “Efamol” on the label: It’s a top-quality oil used in several different brands. Barlean’s makes an excellent evening primrose oil. Take 3,000 milligrams a day for three months. After that, take it daily the week before you expect to have your period. If this is too expensive, you can use borage oil instead, at the same dosage. (I’ve found evening primrose oil works best for my patients—probably because its GLA is better absorbed—but borage oil is still a good choice.)

•Take vitamin B6 (75 milligrams to 250 milligrams daily) and magnesium (200 milligrams to 400 milligrams daily). In a study by UK researchers, women with PMS who took a combination of 50 milligrams of B6 and 200 milligrams of magnesium had a lessening of “nervous tension,” mood swings, irritability, and anxiety, according to findings in the Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine. Vitamin B6 helps regulate progesterone and estrogen levels. Magnesium calms nerves, relaxes muscles, and eases pain. To get your B6 and magnesium, I recommend taking the multinutrient supplement Clinical Essentials by Terry Naturally, which supplies 150 milligrams of magnesium and 12.5 milligrams of B6. Add 200 milligrams of magnesium and 100 milligrams of B6 at bedtime for three months for intensive treatment; after three months, your symptoms should be under control. Use the pyridoxal 5 phosphate (P5P) form of vitamin B6 for this to avoid the risk of nerve injury from high-dose B6.

•Take natural progesterone. Talk to your doctor about natural progesterone (Prometrium). Take 200 milligrams at bedtime, starting a week before your period or when PMS symptoms begin.

Another option: Use 10 to 50 milligrams of prescription natural progesterone cream, applied to your skin at bedtime or twice daily during the 10 days before you expect your period. In some cases, I go as high as 800 mg a day of Prometrium.

For more ways to fix root causes of common health problems, purchase Real Cause, Real Cure from

Related Articles