Thank you to my nutrition professor who first taught me about vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) for PMS. It is reliable treatment for premenstrual mood problems including PMDD.
I still remember B6 as the eureka moment in the way I thought about periods. Suddenly, I had much higher expectations of how healthy a period can be. Periods should arrive smoothly and without symptoms.
PMS is common, but it’s not normal.
The big question is: Why does B6 work so well? How can we have a magic bullet, when we don’t yet fully understand what PMS even is?
What is PMS?
Our current understanding is that premenstrual syndrome results from a complex interplay of GABA, serotonin and a progesterone metabolite called allopregnanolone, (ALLO). ALLO has a calming, valium-type effect on the GABA receptor. Swedish researcher Ericka Timby found that the GABA receptors of PMS-sufferers are less sensitive to ALLO than normal. Receptor resistance may be caused by serotonin deficiency, chronic inflammation, and histamine or mast cell activation.
B6 relieves PMS
The activated form of B6 (pyridoxal 5-phosphate or P5P) works at almost every aspect of the PMS story. It’s essential for the synthesis of steroid hormones, particularly progesterone. It’s involved in the manufacture of the key neurotransmitters: both GABA and serotonin. B6 also promotes anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and assists with the healthy detoxification and clearance of both estrogen and histamine (a common cause of PMS).
B6 is found in foods like fish, poultry, and nuts. But my experience is that most people need a supplement. Speak with a clinician before taking more than 50mg per day because high doses can cause nerve damage.
Other Serious Cures for PMS:
- Magnesium enhances GABA activity, regulates the stress response, and normalizes the action of progesterone on the central nervous. The supplement works so well for PMS that some scientists have suggested that magnesium deficiency is the main cause of the condition.
- The herbal medicine Vitex or Chaste tree has done well in clinical trials for PMS and PMDD. Vitex supports progesterone and lowers prolactin.
- Keep your gut bacteria healthy so they can do their job of removing estrogen and estrogen metabolites. Healthy gut bacteria also enhance GABA activity.
- Cut back on alcohol because it depletes the body of ALLO.
- Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, and A1 milk because they activate mast cells and disrupt the GABA receptor.