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Essential Fatty Acids Ease Premenstrual Syndrome.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a cluster of physical and emotional symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Most women experience some degree of PMS at some point in their menstrual history, although symptoms vary significantly from woman to woman. Reproductive hormones and neurotransmitters are thought to play a central role in the etiology of PMS. Five to ten days prior to menses, plasma estrogen rise and progesterone levels decline.

These changes are accompanied by an increase in follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) six to nine days prior to menstruation, and peak testosterone levels two to eight days before menstruation. Protactinium levels are elevated in most PMS patients.

Other biochemical pathways such as the insulin response, and uptake of vitamins and minerals are being studied as potential causative factors. One hypothesis suggests that PMS may be due to an aberration in blood viscosity and red blood cell hydration during the menstrual cycle.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Reproductive Health evaluated the effectiveness and safety of a supplement containing essential fatty acids and vitamins for the treatment of PMS and to assess effectiveness on protactinium and total cholesterol levels.

The researchers recruited 120 women with PMS and were divided into 3 groups that received either 1 or 2 grams of the supplement or placebo for six months using the Prospective Record of the Impact and Severity of Menstruation (PRISM) calendar.

The results were the group treated with 2 grams of supplement experienced the most significant reduction in the PRISM score the next significant reduction was in the group taking 1 gram of supplement.

The placebo group experienced the least reduction in PRISM score. There were no statistically significant differences in protactinium or total cholesterol levels after six months of treatment.

In conclusion the authors stated “The difference between the groups using the medication and the placebo group with respect to the improvement in symptomatically appears to indicate the effectiveness of the drug. Improvement in symptoms was higher when the 2-gram dose was used.

This medication was not associated with any changes in protactinium or total cholesterol levels in these women.”1


1 Filho EAR, Lima JC, Neto JS, et al. Essential fatty acids for premenstrual syndrome and their effect on protactinium and total cholesterol levels: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Reproductive Health. Jan2011.

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