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utritional Programs
Nutritional Program for Premenstrual Syndrome

© Elson M. Haas MD

For Type H with water or bloating problems, which can be the most troublesome, causing weight gain, breast tenderness, and general emotional upset, the basic B vitamins, including high amounts of B6 and supplemental B1, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and evening primrose oil (with GLA, gamma-linolenic acid, as the active ingredient), 1–2 capsules taken three times daily, may be very helpful. (I have seen evening primrose oil be helpful for many women with various PMS symptoms.) Also, with water retention problems, food allergy, particularly to wheat, may be a contributing factor. A trial of a couple of months of avoiding wheat products can aid in providing relief of symptoms. Sometimes the response can be dramatic. Regular exercise is also important in reducing this type of PMS.

Many herbs are helpful in treating PMS. Angelica, or dong quai, is a commonly used herb that acts as an energizer and female tonic when it is taken regularly as capsules (2 capsules twice a day) or as a tea. Ginger root acts as a circulation aid and mild stimulant and is helpful in getting some of that retained water moving. Other diuretic herbs include parsley and juniper berry. Licorice root is a good balancer and seems to provide an "up" feeling when drunk with some ginger as a tea. Their flavors tend to combine well. Valerian root or catnip tea will provide some relaxation when there is general anxiety or irritability. Sarsaparilla is a tonifying (strengthening) herb that supports the hormonal functions and may actually contain some hormones itself. There are also many herbal formulas for treating PMS and for strengthening the female functions. One that I have found helpful to my patients is FE-G (Female General Tonic), made by Professional Botanicals. It contains black haw, licorice, false unicorn root (estrogen-containing plant), ginseng root, ginger, and life root. I recommend 2 capsules two or three times daily, usually for three to six months if it appears helpful. In the first month or two herbs tend to work more slowly and must be taken over a longer period of time than stronger pharmaceuticals. There are many similar formulas available now for PMS and other female problems.

Premenstrual Tension (PMT)

Type Main Symptoms Key Treatment Plans
PMT-AAnxietyMagnesium 400–600 mg. per day. Progesterone therapy. Low PEA diet-avoid chocolate, bananas, and hard cheeses.
PMT-DDepressionZinc 30–60 mg. per day. Vitamin B6 100–300 mg. per day. Magnesium 400–600 mg. per day. Triptophan 1,000–1,500 mg. before bed or 500 mg. two or three times daily.
PMT-H or WWater retentionAvoid foods allergens, particularly wheat. Potassium 1–2 grams per day, plus potassium foods. B complex vitamins with extra B6 50–200 mg. per day. Regular exercise.
PMT-PPlainVitamin E 400–800 IUs per day. Magnesium 400–600 mg. per day.
PMT-CCravingsLow-sugar diet. Frequent small meals. Chromium 200–400 mcg. per day

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About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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