Essential Fatty Acids & Vitamin E Reduce PMS Symptoms

New research presented in the Journal Reproductive Health reveals that women who suffer with symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), including mood swings, fatigue, food cravings, and tender breasts, can take a pill containing essential oils and vitamin E which may bring relief.

 Essential Fatty Acids & Vitamin E Reduce PMS

Approximately 75% of menstruating women experience some degree of PMS symptoms. For some women, the physical and emotional symptoms are so severe their daily lives are disrupted. Problems with concentration, crying spells, joint or muscle pain, headache, sleep disturbances, weight gain, constipation, diarrhea, and anxiety can be added to the list of symptoms already mentioned.

Scientists from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, have discovered that a supplement containing a variety of Essential Fatty Acids,including vitamin E, can significantly reduce PMS symptoms as soon as 3 months after starting treatment. Edilberto Rocha Filho and his research team reported that “administration of 1 or 2 grams of essential fatty acids to patients with Premenstrual syndrome results in a significant decrease in symptoms scores.” These improvements were achieved without a corresponding increase in total cholesterol.

A total of 120 women (average age, 32 years) participated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, which lasted 6 months. The supplements contained 210 mg of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), 175 mg of oleic acid, 345 mg of linoleic acid, 250 mg of other polyunsaturated acids, and 20 mg of vitamin E.

Women who took the supplement for six months experienced a bigger improvement than those who took the supplement for 3 months. Only one woman in the treatment groups experienced mild abdominal discomfort, which disappeared during the second month of taking the supplement.

Gamma linolenic acid is an Omega-6 fatty acid found mostly in vegetable oils, including evening primrose, borage, and black currant seed. Most of these oils also contain linoleic acid. Once in the body, linoleic acid is converted to GLA.

Research suggests Gamma linolenic acid helps reduce inflammation. Much of the GLA taken as a supplement is transformed into DGLA, which is an anti-inflammatory.

Oleic acid is a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid. It is found in vegetables oils, including olive oil, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. There has been other studies, besides this one to show that essential fatty acids may help relieve PMS symptoms. Other effective remedies may include calcium, chasteberry, vitamin B6, magnesium and ginkgo.

16 March 2011