As many of you know, I was trained in Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Hormone Cure program to become a Hormone Cure Coach. I find that addressing people’s health challenges like fatigue, struggle with losing weight, stress, and cravings, it is helpful to include an assessment of their hormones gives me more tools to guide my clients back to a place of balance.
One hormonal challenge many women struggle with is PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome.
According to Dr. Sara Gottfried in The Hormone Cure, “PMS is related to a problem with progesterone, but frosting yourself in progesterone cream does not automatically fix the symptoms in all women. Our best science shows that PMS is the result of the poorly synchronized interplay among four entities: progesterone, allopregnanolone (a derivative of progesterone), and in the brain, the GABA and serotonin pathways. It’s a complicated neurohormonal mix that results in progesterone ‘resistance,’ which is why topping off your progesterone may not be the answer. Your body may respond better to a ‘cure’ that addresses upstream causes—including precursors, such as vitamin B6, that help you make serotonin, or perhaps an herb that alters progesterone sensitivity, such as chasteberry, as well as lifestyle techniques to calm your brain.” (page 50)
Not only can progesterone, GABA and serotonin affect PMS symptoms, but so can cortisol, the body’s stress response:
“When stress is high, cortisol rises and PMS worsens. When progesterone is low, PMS also worsens. In other words, there’s a dance between cortisol and progesterone in the development of PMS, and you want to address both adrenal function and your production of cortisol as well as your progesterone to minimize PMS.” (page 283)
When addressing something like PMS, it often can take a multi-prong approach: food, exercise, mindset and maybe even some complimentary treatments or supplements.
Let’s take a look at some of these suggestions here.
- Exercise frequently: 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes
- Nourishing whole foods eating plan (Not sure what that looks like for you? Book a complimentary Discovery Session with me today!)
- Limit sugar (especially added and refined sugar)–join my next 10-Day Sugar Retreat to banish those sugar cravings!
- Reduce caffeine
- Address cortisol levels and chronic stress
- Increase fiber
- Support your liver (because all hormone processed through the liver)–check out Andrea Nakayama’s Replenish PDX excellent handout on supporting your liver!)
Some supplements can also help but aways seek advisement from your health practitioner:
- Vitamin B6: 50 to 100 mg/day (or if you are on a birth control pill, you may want to consider taking a B Complex)
- Calcium (carbonate or citrate): 600 mg 2x/day
- Magnesium (citrate, glycinate taurate, aspartate or chelated forms like malate, succinate, fumarate): 150-300 mg/day (for more on the benefits of magnesium, check out this great article from Dr. Mark Hyman)
- Vitex (chasteberry): 500-1000 mg/day (take in morning if possible)
What have you found helps with PMS? Have any of these approaches worked for you? Need more personalized guidance, please contact me today!