Thank you to my nutrition professor who first taught me about vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) for PMS. It is a reliable treatment for premenstrual mood problems including PMDD.
I still remember B6 as the eureka moment in how I thought about periods. Suddenly, I had much higher expectations of what a period should be like. Premenstrual mood symptoms are common, but they’re not normal.
What causes premenstrual mood symptoms?
Premenstrual mood symptoms are the result of 1) high histamine or mast cell activation, and 2) “neurosteroid change sensitivity,” which is altered sensitivity of the GABA receptor to the progesterone metabolite allopregnanolone.
👉🏽Tip: An over-the-counter antihistamine can relieve premenstrual mood symptoms.
How pyridoxine relieves premenstrual mood symptoms
Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, pyridoxal 5-phosphate, or P5P helps to relieve premenstrual symptoms via several mechanisms:
- It’s essential for the synthesis of steroid hormones, particularly progesterone.
- It’s involved in the manufacture of brain neurotransmitters including GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.
- It lowers prolactin.
- It promotes anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
- It assists with healthy estrogen metabolism.
- It lowers histamine, a common cause of PMS.
B6 is found in foods such as fish, poultry, and nuts, but many people need a supplement. Speak with a clinician before taking more than 50 mg per day because high doses of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.
Other natural treatments for PMS and PMDD:
- 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. It works by lowering 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.
- Reduce or quit 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.