Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) supplements
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

  • The Romans used lime (calcium oxide), clacked lime (calcium hydroxide), and hydraulic cement in construction works. Calcium (Latin calx , meaning "lime") was first isolated in its metallic form by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808 through the electrolysis of a mixture of calcium oxide and mercury oxide. Chelated calcium refers to the way in which calcium is chemically combined with another substance. Calcium citrate is an example of such a chelated preparation. Calcium may also be combined with other substances to form preparations such as calcium lactate or calcium gluconate. Calcium carbonate can be refined from limestone, natural elements of the earth, or from shell sources, such as oyster. Shell sources are often described on the label as a "natural" source. Calcium carbonate from oyster shells is not "refined" and can contain variable amounts of lead. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and has several important functions. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports the structure. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body in blood, muscle, and the intracellular fluid. Calcium is needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction and relaxation, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and nervous system signaling. A constant level of calcium is maintained in body fluid and tissues so that these vital body processes function efficiently. The body gets the calcium it needs in two ways. One method is dietary intake of calcium-rich foods including dairy products, which have the highest concentration per serving of highly absorbable calcium, and dark, leafy greens or dried beans, which have varying amounts of absorbable calcium. Calcium is an essential nutrient required in substantial amounts, but many diets are deficient in calcium. The other way the body obtains calcium is by extracting it from bones. This happens when blood levels of calcium drop too low and dietary calcium is not sufficient. Ideall...
  • Extracts of Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's wort) have been recommended traditionally for a wide range of medical conditions. The most common modern-day use of St. John's wort is the treatment of depression. Numerous studies report St. John's wort to be more effective than placebo and equally effective as tricyclic antidepressant drugs in the short-term treatment of mild-to-moderate major depression (1-3 months). It is not clear if St. John's wort is as effective as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as sertraline (Zoloft®). Recently, controversy has been raised by two high-quality trials of St. John's wort for major depression that did not show any benefits. However, due to problems with the designs of these studies, they cannot be considered definitive. Overall, the scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of St. John's wort in mild-to-moderate major depression. The evidence in severe major depression remains unclear. St. John's wort can cause many serious interactions with prescription drugs, herbs, or supplements. Therefore, people using any medications should consult their healthcare providers including their pharmacist prior to starting therapy.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is required for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine and for myelin formation. Pyridoxine deficiency in adults principally affects the peripheral nerves, skin, mucous membranes, and the blood cell system. In children, the central nervous system (CNS) is also affected. Deficiency can occur in people with uremia, alcoholism, cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption syndromes, congestive heart failure (CHF), and in those taking certain medications. Mild deficiency of vitamin B6 is common. Major sources of vitamin B6 include: cereal grains, legumes, vegetables (carrots, spinach, peas), potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat, and flour. Pyridoxine is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations.
  • The chaste tree is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Its berries have long been used for a variety of abnormalities including "corpus luteum deficiency," mastalgia (breast pain), and menstrual abnormalities. Chasteberry has been shown to inhibit prolactin secretion by competitively binding to dopamine receptors. Available evidence suggests that chasteberry may be an effective treatment option for hyperprolactinemic (elevated serum prolactin levels) conditions, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Chasteberry does not appear to affect levels of luteinizing hormone or follicle stimulating hormone. Currently, clinical trials have found that treatment with chasteberry has been well tolerated with minimal side effects. The dried fruit of chasteberry plants has been used for thousands of years as a means of treating various ailments, ranging from impotence to breast pain. It was popular in ancient Greece and Rome to help promote celibacy. More recently, chasteberry has gained recognition for its success in alleviating some signs and symptoms of hyperprolactinemia and premenstrual syndrome. It is thought to have a normalizing effect on the menstrual cycle and has been used successfully to treat both amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and menorrhagia (heavy menstruation).
  • Belladonna is an herb that has been used for centuries for a variety of indications, including headache, menstrual symptoms, peptic ulcer disease, inflammation, and motion sickness. Belladonna is known to contain active agents with anticholinergic properties, such as the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine. There are few available studies of belladonna alone for any indication. Most research has evaluated belladonna in combination with other agents, such as ergot alkaloids or barbiturates, or in homeopathic (diluted) preparations. Preliminary evidence suggests possible efficacy in combination with barbiturates for the management of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. However, there is currently insufficient scientific evidence regarding the use of belladonna for this or any other indication. Common adverse effects include dry mouth, urinary retention, flushing, pupillary dilation, constipation, confusion, and delirium. Many of these effects may occur at therapeutic doses.
  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is a dietary omega-6 fatty acid found in many plant oil extracts. Commercial products are typically made from seed extracts from evening primrose (average oil content 7-14%), blackcurrant (15-20%), borage oil (20-27%) and fungal oil (25%). GLA is not found in high levels in the diet. It has been suggested that some individuals may not convert the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid to longer chain derivatives, such as GLA, efficiently. Thus, supplementation with GLA-containing oils, such as borage oil and evening primrose oil, is occasionally recommended to increase GLA levels in the body. GLA is available commonly as a dietary supplement and is sold over the counter in capsules or oil to treat a variety of conditions such as eczema, oral mucoceles (mucus polyps), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), depression, postpartum depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), psoriasis (chronic skin disease), muscle aches, and menopausal flushing. There is currently good evidence for GLA treatment in rheumatoid arthritis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). Little or no effect has been found in treatment of atopic dermatitis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer prevention, menopausal flushing, systemic sclerosis, and hypertension (high blood pressure). GLA has also been used to help with the body's response to tamoxifen in breast cancer patients. Today, production and extraction of oil from evening primrose and borage is done by companies primarily in China, New Zealand, and England. Pharmaceutical licensing for GLA oil products has had only limited success worldwide.
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Vitamin E exists in eight different forms ("isomers"): alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol; and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form in humans. Dosing and daily allowance recommendations for vitamin E are often provided in Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE) to account for the different biological activities of the various forms of vitamin E, or in International Units (IU), which food and supplement labels may use. Vitamin E supplements are available in natural or synthetic forms. The natural forms are usually labeled with the letter "d" (for example, d-gamma-tocopherol), whereas synthetic forms are labeled "dl" (for example, dl-alpha-tocopherol). Vitamin E has been proposed for the prevention or treatment of numerous health conditions, often based on its antioxidant properties. However, aside from the treatment of vitamin E deficiency (which is rare), there are no clearly proven medicinal uses of vitamin E supplementation beyond the recommended daily allowance. There is ongoing research in numerous diseases, particularly in cancer and heart disease. Recent concerns have been raised about the safety of vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses. An increased risk of bleeding has been proposed, particularly in patients taking blood-thinning agents such as warfarin, heparin, or aspirin, and in patients with vitamin K deficiency. Recent evidence suggests that regular use of high-dose vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of death (from "all causes") by a small amount, although a different study found no effects on mortality in women who took vitamin E daily. Caution is warranted.
  • Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the top selling herbs in the United States. Ginkgo is used for the treatment of numerous conditions, many of which are under scientific investigation. Available evidence demonstrates ginkgo's efficacy in the management of intermittent claudication, Alzheimer's/multi-infarct dementia, and "cerebral insufficiency" (a syndrome thought to be secondary to atherosclerotic disease, characterized by impaired concentration, confusion, decreased physical performance, fatigue, headache, dizziness, depression, and anxiety). Although not definitive, there is promising early evidence favoring the use of ginkgo for memory enhancement in healthy subjects, altitude (mountain) sickness, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and reduction of chemotherapy-induced end-organ vascular damage. Although still controversial, a recent large trial has shifted the evidence against the use of ginkgo for tinnitus. The herb is generally well tolerated, but due to multiple case reports of bleeding, should be used cautiously in patients on anticoagulant therapy, with known coagulopathy, or prior to some surgical or dental procedures.
  • Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is believed to be the active ingredient. EPO has been studied in a wide variety of disorders, particularly those affected by metabolic products of essential fatty acids. However, high-quality evidence for its use in most conditions is still lacking.
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