PMS and Calcium
Recent research suggests a common dietary supplement may be
an effective treatment for women who suffer from PMS. Studies
suggest that calcium might relieve premenstrual syndrome. Some
researchers believe that disruptions in calcium regulation are an
underlying factor in the development of PMS symptoms. The
mechanism of exactly how the calcium regulation is changed
throughout the menstrual cycle and why it creates PMS symptoms
is still unknown.
In one study, 466 pre-menopausal women from across the U.S.
were tracked for three menstrual cycles. Half the women were
given 1200 mg of calcium supplements daily throughout the cycle.
The other half was given placebos. There was no difference
between the two groups in age, height, weight, menstrual cycle
lengths, and the use of oral contraceptives. The final results
showed that 48% of the women who took a placebo (sugar pill)
had PMS related symptoms. Only 30% of those who got the
calcium pill did. The women simply took a pill, not knowing if it was
the placebo or the real McCoy, so their expectation that taking a
pill would help them was not a factor.
Calcium supplements are inexpensive and are available without a
prescription. They have virtually no side effects when taken at
normal doses. Calcium supplements found in stores are in doses
of about 1000-1200 milligrams/day, which is the same as this
study. Of course, it is almost certain that getting the same amount
of calcium through diet will have the same effect, so it is far from
necessary to buy a pill.
Even if it does nothing for the woman's PMS, it will help guarantee
that she gets enough calcium during her youth to build strong
bones. Finally, perhaps this is a way to motivate young women to
take calcium to prevent osteoporosis in their old age.
Maybe the milk industry should look into these findings. "Got