The Very Best Supplements for PMS: A Comprehensive Guide

Blocks in orange red and blue with the letters PMS for the Best Supplements for PMS post by The Healthy RD
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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects at least 80 percent of women worldwide before their menstrual cycle, which would indicate that it really isn’t a syndrome at all, but a natural phenomenon. 

Still, this uncomfortable time of the month can be daunting, especially in this stressful world we live in. 

Symptoms of PMS range from food cravings, mood swings or anxiety, and fatigue  to absentmindedness, low libido, sleep changes, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, headaches, sweating or hot flashes, hair changes, rashes, and swelling. 

This is why many women seek out natural supplements to help alleviate their symptoms.

Lucky for us, there are a lot of natural approaches that you can use to help prevent and minimize PMS.  In this post, learn about the best supplements for PMS, foods to combat PMS symptoms, and ways to feel better all month long.

Importance of Managing PMS

PMS can be disruptive to normal daily life.  Severe PMS is a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more severe form of PMS that has more severe physical and emotional symptoms than PMS. 

Eating a well-balanced diet is a cornerstone to helping the body and mind naturally manage hormonal swings. Gentle exercise and reducing stress are also very beneficial.

But, sometimes eating well and having a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough. This is where dietary supplements can be helpful for PMS. 

Keep in mind that some supplements are geared towards reducing physical discomfort such as tender breasts, while others are more helpful for reducing the emotional roller coaster of PMS. 

Best Supplements for PMS 

When it comes to PMS, there are many research studies devoted to natural treatment options. 

Just remember that some supplements, such as vitamins and minerals, can take a while to have their optimum benefits for your mood and well-being. 

Herbs are a cornerstone of natural treatment options and can be very beneficial too. Yet other natural food compounds can help restore hormonal balance and a healthy mood in the body. 

There are several categories of supplements for PMS: 

  • Herbs and spices
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Fats
  • Natural food compounds 

Let’s take a look at what the research has to say about these supplements. 

Herbs for PMS

Graphic of herbal supplements in a green capsule for the Best Supplements for PMS post by The Healthy RD

Herbs and spices are a cornerstone of traditional medicine and have been used for thousands of years to help women optimize their health. Some of these PMS remedies may be new to you but have been used by people as long as time has been recorded. 

While these herbs are all generally recognized as safe, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

When it comes to PMS, here are some of the herbs and spices that have been clinically researched to dampen the symptoms of PMS. 

  • Chamomile– As a relaxing herb, it isn’t too surprising that chamomile helps reduce PMS symptoms. In fact, a review of 8 clinical trials have confirmed that using chamomile is beneficial for reducing PMS symptoms including water retention and anxiety.
  • Turmeric-clinical trials of turmeric as curcumin show that this spice reduces PMS symptoms, sometimes by over 50% compared to a placebo. Some research even shows that turmeric as curcumin increases BDNF, a protein associated with a healthy mood and a healthy brain.  
  • Ginger is traditionally used for digestive health; it also naturally reduces the symptoms of PMS including mood swings and continues to do so over a 3 month period of use according to research. Fascinatingly, ginger also reduces menstrual cramps as much as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid combined. 
  • Vitex is a female tonic herb, also known as chaste berry, that reduces symptoms of PMS, such as headache, anger, irritability, depression, breast fullness, and bloating in multiple studies.  This herb is safe for most people and is also helpful for menopausal symptoms. 
  • Saffron is a beautiful herbal extract that safely reduces PMS symptoms including symptoms of depression. This beautiful plant is also delicious in many recipes. Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. As part of an herbal combination called Aphrodite, saffron improves sexual function and reduces depressive symptoms as well. 
  • Ginkgo biloba is a plant that is rich in antioxidants that improves brain function and reduces anxiety. Two studies show that ginkgo biloba also reduces PMS symptoms, especially breast tenderness

Other Helpful Herbs for PMS and Periods

Bottle of herbal tincture for the best supplements for PMS post by The Healthy RD

While still useful for PMS, these herbal supplements and herbal teas have less direct research and more supporting research about how they may help ease PMS. 

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil) is an herb that is great for the immune system. It also is relaxing and energizing at the same time. Using tulsi tea is a popular way to reap the benefits of this healthy herb. 
  • CBD helps reduce pain and also decreases anxiety symptoms. Many people find broad-spectrum CBD a helpful way to help manage PMS without the risks of over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. Just be sure to start with a low dose.
  • Fennel, when combined with vitamin E, works better for pain relief of menstruation than ibuprofen. This herb has antispasmodic effects which may also help with PMS symptoms. 
  • Damiana tea is relaxing and generally thought to increase sexual function. More research is needed but this herbal tea may help dampen the stress associated with PMS and help protect nerves. It also is rich in antioxidants.
  • Tribulus is an herb used to help increase muscle mass and helps improve sexual function in women according to some clinical research. It also may help reduce blood pressure and help manage blood sugar levels according to WebMD
  • Maca is a commonly used root related to broccoli that is used to promote wellness and research shows that it may improve sexual function of women as they approach menopause.  Early research even shows that it generally helps balance hormones. However, some people find this herb stimulating, so it is best used in the morning. 

Vitamins and Minerals for PMS

Natural vitamins and minerals capsules for the best supplements for PMS post by The Healthy RD

Nutrients are the building blocks of everything in our bodies, so it should come as no surprise that having adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals can help reduce PMS overall. For example, a study that used daily broad-spectrum multivitamins and minerals demonstrated a reduced the severity of PMS. This supplement even helped reduced symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 

  • Vitamin B6 is a nutrient that has long been used for its benefits in reducing stress. 9 clinical studies have been conducted to support the effectiveness of vitamin B6 in reducing PMS symptoms, especially reducing depression symptoms and reducing bloating when combined with magnesium. Experts recommend using the natural P5P version of vitamin B6 for optimal effects. 
  • Magnesium is a relaxing mineral that has over 600 functions in the body. Magnesium supplements help to reduce PMS symptoms, but it works best when combined with vitamin B6. Unlike other supplements for PMS, magnesium reduces food cravings effectively. Fascinatingly, a review of 18 studies concluded that magnesium alone is effective for reducing anxiety
  • Iron is a nutrient involved in maintaining a healthy mood and memory as well. Although no studies have directly looked at iron supplementation for PMS, using iron reduces heavy bleeding from menstruation which makes anyone feel tired and irritable.  
  • Calcium and vitamin D levels are important for health overall. Low levels of calcium and vitamin D are both related to increased PMS symptoms during the luteal phase of menstruation. This is the time when most women feel PMS symptoms.  Maintaining vitamin D levels with vitamin D supplements and assuring adequate dietary calcium are easy ways to help dampen PMS symptoms. 
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant nutrient that helps provide PMS relief. Choosing natural vitamin E is the best option because synthetic vitamin E can actually deplete the body of natural vitamin E.  When combined with fennel, vitamin E helps reduce menstrual cramps too. 
  • Zinc may also help PMS by reducing symptoms of depression and improve quality of life with this condition. However, zinc supplements can take 3 months to help improve symptoms. 

Healthy Fats for PMS

Cod liver oil gelcaps and flask of oil by The Healthy RD

Certain types of long-chain fatty acids reduce inflammation by helping the body make prostaglandins. 

Fish oil supplements, rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduce the severity of PMS according to a double-blind placebo controlled trial. The longer that fish oil is used, the better it appears to work as well. 

For added benefits of reducing heavy bleeding due to its vitamin A content, using cod liver oil should be considered. Additionally, cod liver oil is better absorbed than most types of fish oil. 

Another type of fat known as gamma linoleic acid helps reduce inflammation too. It is found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, spirulina, and hemp seeds

Using 180 mg of evening primrose oil per day reduce PMS severity and duration in one clinical study. Another study found that evening primrose oil at 500 mg twice a day reduced breast pain known as mastalgia. 

Natural Food Compounds for PMS

Graphic of probiotics with an intestine in blue by The Healthy RD
  • Probiotics help balance hormones, so they may naturally help ease PMS symptoms. They even may help reduce premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Research shows that probiotics are beneficial for anxiety and mood.  
  • Oxaloacetate is a natural form of energy produced in the body. This compound helps to support adequate glucose levels in the brain. Needs for glucose in the brain during PMS go up, but unfortunately, eating sugar can worsen PMS symptoms. Supplemental oxaloacetate at 200 mg per day along with 300 mg of vitamin C reduced PMS symptoms in one clinical study. In fact, it reduced mood symptoms quite dramatically: depression was 54% reduced, 36% reduction in  perceived stress by 36%, reduced generalized anxiety by 51%, and an 18% reduced aggression symptoms. Fascinatingly, suicidal ideation was reduced by 48% too. 
  • Phosphatidylserine & phosphatidic acid: these are both found in foods, and cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli and cabbage are particularly high in phosphatidic acid. Phosphatidylserine is found in organ meats, egg yolks, fish, and organic soybeans. Both of these supplements combined, given at 400 mg each reduced symptoms of PMS. Interestingly, there was a significant reduction in the interference of PMS with relationships with others and increased productivity with this combination supplement. 
NeuroPS: Improve your memory of names, faces, numbers, and words which are critical to everyday success. The most proven nutraceutical for the brain, phosphatidylserine (PS).
  • 5-HTP:  5-dydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a form of tryptophan from foods, is the building block for happy mood chemicals in the body and brain called serotonin. 5-HTP is low in the brains of women with severe PMS called PMDD. Additionally, low levels of tryptophan in the diet makes PMS worse. Supplemental tryptophan helps reduce PMS symptoms. It is often best to have 5-HTP along with L-tyrosine for many people because tyrosine helps to make the happy mood chemical called dopamine

Foods to Eat for PMS

A foundation of combatting PMS should be a diet rich in the following nutrients. If you don’t regularly eat these foods, you may still need to take supplements to reduce PMS symptoms. 

* Indicates that gut imbalances can impair absorption of these amino acids, so supplements still may be needed to reduce PMS symptoms.

*TryptophanTurkey, crab, lamb, tuna, spirulina, pumpkin seeds, cheese
*TyrosineBeef, pork, chicken, fish, and tofu
Vitamin A:Cod liver oil, beef liver, grass fed butter, egg yolks.
Vitamin C:Oranges, lemons, bell peppers, kiwi, rose hips
Vitamin D:Oily fish, lard, cod liver oil, sunlight
Vitamin B6:Liver, beef, lentils, alfalfa, tuna, peas, bananas, cashews, turkey, organ meats
Pantothenic Acid:Brewer’s yeast, brown rice, sunflower seeds, organic corn, lentils
Vitamin E:Annatto, extra virgin olive oil, spices, sunflower seeds, peanuts, broccoli, pecans, almonds
Calcium:Cheeses, bone broth, sesame seeds, kelp, broccoli sardines, almonds, Brazil nuts, watercress, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon, broccoli
Magnesium:Pumpkin seeds, beef, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, all nuts, oats, brown rice, dark green leafy vegetables, corn, bananas, tuna.
ZincOysters, beef, venison, clams, crab, chicken, cheese. 
Fatty Acids:Cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, mackerel, egg yolks and borage, hemp seeds, black currant oil,  evening primrose oil

Summary

Most women struggle with the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS. 

Luckily for us, many supplements are helpful for managing PMS symptoms. They range from herbs and spices to vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and natural food compounds. 

By starting with a healthy diet, you can build upon your lacking nutrients with key supplements as mentioned here, such as magnesium, vitamin B6, and calming herbs. Using other nutrient-derived supplements like 5-HTP, tyrosine, and oxaloacetate may help ease PMS as well. 

As always, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements. 

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