June 13, 2005

Calcium, Vitamin D Combat Premenstrual Ills

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- A diet high in calcium and vitamin D could reduce the risk of getting premenstrual syndrome, according to a report published on Monday.

Women with an intake of vitamin D and calcium equivalent to about four servings per day of skim or low-fat milk, fortified orange juice or low-fat dairy foods such as yogurt had a "significantly lower" risk of developing premenstrual syndrome, the report from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst said.

Previous studies have shown calcium supplements helped treat the problem, but "this is the first, to our knowledge, to suggest that calcium and vitamin D may help prevent the initial development of PMS," said the report.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, did not say why the combination provided a protective effect.

The report said up to 20 percent of women experience symptoms severe enough to meet the definition of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, including anxiety, depression, headaches and abdominal cramps.

The study looked at the diets and supplement use of 1,057 women aged 27 to 44 years who reported developing PMS over the course of 10 years. The same data was compared to that taken from another group of 1,968 women who reported having no symptoms of PMS or only minimal symptoms.

"Our findings ... suggest that a high intake of calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of PMS," the study said. While more research is needed, it is known that calcium and vitamin D may also reduce risk of osteoporosis and some cancers, so doctors may want to consider recommending the nutrients, even for younger women.


On the Net:

University of Massachusetts in Amherst