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Supplemental Iron Reduces PMS Symptoms

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Harvard recently looked into the effects of dietary minerals on premenstrual syndrome (PMS) development. Premenstrual syndrome is a group of emotional manifestations, with or without physical symptoms, related to the menstrual cycle, consisting of irritability, crying, depression, oversensitivity, and mood swings.

Lead author Patricia Chocano-Bedoya and colleagues evaluated the mineral intake of about 3,000 women in a prospective study called Nurses’ Health Study II. Participants who were free of PMS symptoms at baseline were asked to complete three food frequency questionnaires over a 10-year study period. At the end of 10 years, more than 1,000 women were diagnosed with PMS.

The results of the study, which were recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that participants who consumed a diet rich in iron were 30-40% less likely to develop PMS. The researchers also found that high zinc intake was associated with lower PMS risk. However, women who had a high potassium intake were more likely to experience PMS.

The scientists explain that iron is involved in producing serotonin, a mood regulating neurotransmitter that may be related to PMS. The level of iron intake seen to confer a lower risk of PMS was more than 20 mg per day, which is higher than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for premenopausal women (18 mg per day). This amount may be obtained from supplements or in 1 to 1 ½   servings of iron-fortified cereal per day.

Their analysis also indicates that minerals from foods and those from supplements had similar effects. They also noted that intake of other minerals such as magnesium, sodium, manganese and copper was not associated with PMS risk.


University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Women’s iron intake may help to protect against PMS. ScienceDaily.


Posted in: Health Supplements, Iron, News Briefs

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