You have probably seen those funny TV commercials that show harried men fighting at the dairy counter for the last carton of milk, ostensibly to bring it home to wives who are mad with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While this is effective product marketing, research has shown that calcium supplementation can reduce the severity of PMS symptoms, perhaps because blood calcium and vitamin D levels are lower prior to menstruation.
Now, new findings from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study suggest that calcium and vitamin D may also play a part in preventing the initial development of PMS, according to a report in the June 13, 2005, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. After adjusting for age, smoking and other risk factors, the investigators found that women with the highest intakes of calcium and vitamin D had a lower risk of developing PMS symptoms. Intake of skim or low-fat milk was also associated with a lower risk.
These findings led the researchers to conclude that “a high intake of calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of PMS.” Although indicating that more studies were warranted, the authors added, “Given that calcium and vitamin D may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and some cancers, clinicians may consider recommending these nutrients to all women.”