PMS – a blessing or a curse?

One of the major causes of PMS is high oestrogen levels.  When oestrogen is more dominant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your body produces too much oestrogen.  It simply means that your oestrogen levels are higher than your progesterone levels.  Many women and young ladies suffer from PMS and, depending on the severity, it can be something many dislike – and that is understandable.  But have no fear, because in this week’s blog post, I am going to look at a few supplements that you can add (if not taking it already), to alleviate the symptoms.

A healthy gut is one of the best ways to keep PMS-symptoms at bay.  Excess oestrogen, which is excreted by the liver into the bile, is usually eliminated through the bowels.  When the digestive system is sluggish, the excess oestrogen can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal tract.  To help alleviate the problem, add more fibre (wholewheat, fruits and vegetables) to your diet and make sure to drink enough water.

Calcium D-Glucarate helps detox the liver by splitting off into glucaric acid.  This acid binds to toxic substances, ushers them into the urinary tract, and assists in expelling the excess oestrogen. Magnesium plays an important role when it comes to the optimum functioning of your cells.  Magnesium should be taken together with calcium, in the evening, when the body absorbs it best.  Unfortunately, due to our farming methods, many food sources are depleted when it comes to vitamins and minerals.  It is always great when you can eat organically, but if not, then make sure to get a good supplement that combines calcium and magnesium.  Magnesium not only supports hormones (which in turn affects PMS and menstruation), but it is also important for bone health.

When taking the above in supplement-form, do remember to take Calcium and Magnesium together, at night.  Not only does the body absorb it better, but calcium cannot be absorbed without magnesium, and vice versa. Both calcium and magnesium are good to keep cramps and spasms at bay, but it also aids in muscle-health as well.

Omega 3-oil is known to reduce PMS-symptoms.  Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and krill, are high in omega oils and antioxidants.  If you don’t eat fish, then make sure to get a good omega 3-supplement and take that regularly (or as prescribed).  Olive oil on your salad instead of salad dressing is another easy way to add more healthy oil to your diet.  Nuts also contain Omega oils; a handful of different types of nuts are more than enough.  Hemp is another good source of omega-3, 6- and 9. Bonus of adding these essential fats to your diet, is that it will give you a boost in energy levels, control inflammation, as well as aiding in great hair, skin and nails.

Vitamin B, especially B1 and B2, help to reduce PMS-symptoms.  Vitamin B6 and especially B12, are crucial when you eat red meat.  Not eating red meat will make you anaemic because iron is mostly found in red meat.  However, it can also be found in legumes like lentils and dark green leafy vegetables.  If you still find your food is not supplying you with the right amounts, add a good quality vitamin B-supplement (B-complex) to your shopping trolley, or ask your pharmacist or medical practitioner for a B-injection.  Iron is a vitamin B-ingredient.  As mentioned above it is important to add a supplement to your diet if you are a vegetarian / vegan.  However, if you have heavy and/or long periods, or experience abnormal fatigue, have your iron-levels checked in order to find the right solution for you.   

Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is needed to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin and melatonin (the sleep-better hormone).  Tryptophan is first converted into 5-HTP, then into serotonin.  Supplementing with Tryptophan / 5-HTP will not only boost serotonin- and melatonin production, but it will also help to reduce carbohydrate-cravings and control your appetite.

Herbology is also helpful but, before you use any of the following, please consult with your health practitioner first.  St John’s Wort, Evening Primrose Oil, Ashwagandha, Black Cohosh, Wild Yam and Dong Quai, are all helpful in relieving PMS-symptoms, discomfort and/or pain.  Take care when using St John’s Wort as it can interfere with the contraceptive pill.  Ashwagandha is used to help fight stress.  Long-term stress not only affect the production of sex hormones but also worsens PMS.

Essential oils like Clary Sage, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Cypress, Bergamot and Geranium, alleviates PMS-symptoms and helps you to relax.  Lavender is also widely used to alleviate headaches; simply rub lavender drops onto your temples, as well as for relaxation (spray some lavender on your pillow or take a bath / shower with lavender oils).

Tissue salts are salt that is a natural substance in our cells.  Natrum Muriaticum (Nat. Mur), Natrum Sulphate (Nat. Sulph) and Kali Phosphate (Kali. Phos), have got many benefits; including alleviating PMS, fatigue, water retention and moodiness.  Magnesium Phosphate (Mag. Phos) works wonders for cramps and spasms.

Practising meditation / mindfulness, as well as getting some exercise, not only helps with PMS-symptoms, but in lifting your mood and helping you to relax.  Getting rid of stress is vital; not only this time of the month, but every day of every month.  Stress can cause havoc on your digestive system, your hormones, as well as your household!  Practising mediation / mindfulness will help with stress-relieve as well as coping with PMS-symptoms.  Going for a walk or doing gentle exercises like yoga-stretches or swimming, is a good way to lift your mood.

Last, but not least.  If you feel you need to rest, then rest; even if it is just taking a “cat-nap” of 10 – 20 minutes.  A warm bath with lavender or Epsom salts, herbal teas and/or a hot water bottle placed on your tummy-area, are other ways to alleviate cramps and/or pain.

PMS is not something one looks forward to every month, but when you live a healthy, holistic life, then coping with and dealing with PMS becomes easier and much more manageable.  Try some or all of the above but, if all else fails, speak to your health practitioner.  How you feel about it, what you think about it and how you manage it, can make life easier or difficult.  Take care and make sure to listen to your body! 

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