Diet, Nutritional Supplementation, Botanical Medicine, Environmental Health
Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot
if you can heal the patient with food.
Often doctors of nutritional medicine classify four different types of PMS depending on predominant symptoms and lab tests. One type is associated with anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression. There are often found elevated blood estrogens and depressed levels of progesterone, particularly a low progesterone/estradiol-17 beta ratio. For these women reducing dairy products, sugar, caffeine, and fats is particularly helpful. More fiber, vegetable protein, and supplemental vitamin B-6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (200-800 mg per day) makes dramatic positive changes. Some doctors also recommend supplementation with 500 mg per day of bioflavonoids.
Gently nourishing yourself in a very personal way through these rhythms of life is a more helpful attitude than “struggling with the difficulty of these damn monthly periods.” As with any health crisis softness and compassion for oneself in the face of adversity goes a long way in the healing process.
Another type of PMS is one characterized by an increased appetite, particularly sweets. The excess sugars then cause headaches, heart palpitations, fatigue and fainting. Often red blood cell magnesium is low and prostaglandin E-1 may be deficient. Salt, animal fat, and simple sugars should be significantly reduced. Alcohol should be avoided. Complex carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains) should be ingested as the bulk of the caloric intake. A tablespoon of flax oil per day can be used to help balance free fatty acid concentrations, or supplemental evening primrose oil can be used (approximately 500 mg twice daily). Protein intake with complex carbohydrates at meals will help even out blood sugar levels. Avoidance of food allergens or sensitivities is always helpful. Supplemental magnesium (400-800 mg in the form of a multimineral supplement which also contains 200 mcg of chromium) will usually be helpful. In general, women need multimineral supplementation for optimal health anyway.
A third type of PMS which is dominated by symptoms of depression, forgetfulness, confusion and lethargy sometimes has high progesterone in the mid luteal stage of the cycle. Occasionally, there is chronic lead exposure and unsuspected poisoning. Hair lead levels may be high. If this is the case, chelation therapy needs to be instituted to rid the body of this harmful contaminant. Supplementation with tyrosine and 5-hydroxy-tryptophan can often be important corrective aids. Consulting with Dr. Collins about these nutrients for balancing brain neurotransmitters with the help of Monoamine Transporter Optimization urine testing can have excellent results in these cases. Vitamins, particularly B-6 (in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate), and magnesium may be helpful.
A fourth type of PMS is associated with weight gain from water retention, breast congestion and tenderness, abdominal bloating and tenderness, and facial and leg edema. Sometimes there is an elevated serum aldosterone level. Sodium should be reduced to no more than 2.5 grams per day. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate and magnesium supplementation should be used. Vitamin E (at 400-800 I.U. per day) usually reduces breast tenderness and helps with other symptoms also.
In general, women suffering from any type or combinations of PMS should be eating a vegetarian based diet (Lean, organically grown meats can be helpful for some to get adequate high quality protein but vegetarian source protein diets are usually best for women with PMS). Avoidance of allergenic foods is also VERY important. This diet should be high in fiber and low in animal fat and no margarine. Sweets, caffeine, alcohol and excess salt can be very problematic. Smoking should not even be considered an option. A high potency multivitamin with at least 25 mg per day of the major B vitamins should be the foundation of a wise nutritional supplementation program for all forms of PMS. A multimineral supplement should be standard protocol also along with extra vitamin E.
Herbal medicines have been used extensively to help relieve symptoms of PMS. For women suffering from uterine cramping bromelain (a pineapple enzyme) has been found to help at a dose of 500 mg three times per day away from meals. Black haw has also been used as a uterine antispasmodic. Milk thistle, 70-210 mg three times per day has a rejuvenating effect on the liver and can be beneficial when there are disturbances in the liver’s ability to process estrogen.
If using the two resource books in this section and the rest of the guidelines in this course does not elicit the desired changes it would be highly advisable to seek consultation with a doctor of nutritional medicine for further lab work-ups and more specific nutritional prescription.
*Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas, M.D.
Nutritional Influences on Illness by Melvin Werbach, M.D.
For more help at identifying and eliminating food allergies refer to Environmed Research website: nutramed.com
If laboratory tests reveal high lead levels contact one of the following organizations for a referral to a doctor who practices chelation therapy:
American Board of Chelation Therapy -- 312-787-2228.
Brain neurotransmitter balance information can be found at: neuroassist.com
Change your diet according to the lesson’s recommendations. Buy Staying Healthy with Nutrition and begin necessary nutritional supplementation. Be gentle with yourself at times of difficulty.