|Fatty acids may help to ease PMS symptoms|
|Written by Lisa Crocco, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 26 January 2011 20:58|
A new study conducted by researchers at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil showed that taking fatty acid dietary supplements can help reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
The recent study, published in the Journal of Reproductive Health, found that by taking supplements, which contain about one gram of a mixture of three essential fatty acids, showed a reduction in PMS symptoms.
“It is possible if a person ate less omega-6 fatty acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, they could reverse their symptoms somewhat,” Robert Cullen, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, said.
According to the study, the women who participated took supplements that contained gamma-linolenic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E. The women who took the supplements for six months saw a greater benefit than those who only took them for three months.
Cullen said taking fatty acid supplements such as omega-3 would be the equivalent of taking Advil, Motrin and other Ibuprofens, which also help ease PMS symptoms.
To get more omega-3 fatty acids naturally into a person’s diet instead of taking additional dietary supplements, they should eat more oils, nuts, soybeans and fish, Cullen said.
“The most important thing is to eat a healthy diet because foods are loaded with nutrients that we need. They are also loaded with substances that research shows are healthy…variety and moderation are good,” Cullen said.
“General healthy lifestyle habits can help [ease PMS symptoms],” Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director of Student Health Services, said.
“Getting enough sleep, eating a good balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding too much caffeine are ways to start,” Swearingen said.
She also said it depends on the type as well as the degree of PMS symptoms each woman suffers from. Most people do not need to take additional dietary supplements if they follow a healthy diet.
“Obtaining vitamins and minerals through food is a better alternative than supplements,” Swearingen said.
“If your diet is poor, however, a general multivitamin might be recommended. It is possible to get too much of a good thing. Sometimes supplements can lead to an overdose of a vitamin or mineral, which can be dangerous,” she added.
Although PMS cannot be prevented, what a person eats may lessen some of the symptoms, Julie Schumacher, registered dietitian and assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, said.
Some tips Schumacher gives to lessen the symptoms include cutting down on salt intake to decrease bloating or water retention, drinking water and other liquids and adding calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy or dark leafy greens to a person’s daily menu.
“Being active can help relieve stress and regulate mood, too. Try walking, biking or jogging on most days of the week,” Schumacher said.
Swearingen said that it is too soon to recommend fatty acid supplements to people suffering from PMS symptoms at this time, despite this recent study.