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Vitamin B rich diet helps prevent PMS

Women may be less likely to develop premenstrual syndrome (PMS) if they eat a diet rich in two types of B vitamins – thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2).

Vitamin B rich diet helps prevent PMS

Women may be less likely to develop premenstrual syndrome (PMS) if they eat a diet rich in two types of B vitamins – thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2).

PMS is a cluster of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. A woman with PMS may experience physical or emotional changes several days before the start of her period. These may include swollen, tender breasts; acne; joint pain; memory problems; anxiety and/or depression, and for some women these changes affect their quality of life.

Researchers followed 3,025 women participating in the U.S. Nurses Health Study II. All of the women were free of PMS at the start of the study, and they filled out dietary questionnaires three times between 1991 and 1999.

It was found that women with high intakes of thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2) in their food significantly reduced their risk of PMS. Thiamine is found in fortified cereals, whole grains, beans and nuts, while riboflavin is available in milk, eggs, meat and green vegetables.  Researchers said that eating one to two servings of fortified cereal or six to seven servings of foods such as spinach, cow or soya milk, or red meat seemed to have a beneficial effect.

The researchers observed a significantly lower risk of PMS in women with high intakes of thiamine and riboflavin from food sources only. Specifically, it was also found that women with the highest riboflavin intake had a 35 percent lower risk of developing the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS symptoms compared with those who consumed the least. Intake of vitamin-B supplements did not appear to influence development of PMS nor did consumption of niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12 in foods.

Thiamine and riboflavin may have an impact on brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which have been linked to PMS. However, the study doesn't actually prove that these vitamins will prevent PMS as other factors could play a role as well.  Additional research should further explore the link between these two B vitamins and the development or treatment of PMS, the researchers conclude.
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