The six essentials that women need more of are:
- B vitamins – especially vitamin B6, What it does: Critical during pregnancy for the development of a baby’s brain and nerves. Also essential for brain and nerve function. Needed for utilising… and B12
- What it does: Strengthens immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen, keeping bones, skin and joints firm and strong. Antioxidant, detoxifying pollutants and protecting against…
- What it does: Strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them to relax, also important for PMS, important for heart muscles and nervous…
- What it does: Component of over 200 enzymes in the body, essential for growth, important for healing, controls hormones, aids ability to cope with stress…
- Isoflavones are naturally occurring compounds – many act as phyto-oestrogens. An example of an isoflavone is Soya Isoflavones….
- Indoles eg I3C
B vitamins are important both for the production of energy and stabilizing mood. B6 is needed to convert essential fats into prostaglandins, which sensitise cells to hormones and therefore prevent the effects of hormone imbalances.
Vitamin B6 is needed for choline to function which helps to clear oestrogens from the liver. If these oestrogens are not cleared efficiently, symptoms related to Oestrogen is one of the main female sex hormones…. overload may occur, including greater risk of breast cancer.
A low level of B6 is associated with an excess of oestrogen in relation to Progesterone is one of the main female sex hormones…. so supplementing with the vitamin will help to restore the balance. It has also been shown that vitamin B6 levels are depleted in women taking the contraceptive pill, likely to be due to the additional supply of oestrogen. Several trials on vitamin B6 have reported considerable improvements in premenstrual syndrome, usually at a dose of 100mg a day (1). B6 alleviates depression associated with premenstrual syndrome (2). Also, premenopausal women in the top third for B6 levels cut their risk for breast
cancer by a third. (30)
Vitamins B12 and folic acid are also co-factors for the enzymes that either synthesise hormones or help to create prostaglandins. Together with B6 they are the cornerstone of Methylation is what occurs when the body takes one substance and turns it into another, so that it can be detoxified and excreted from the…, which protects DNA, hence doubly essential in pregnancy to minimise risk of pregnancy problems and birth defects. But methylation also helps switch off genes that predispose to disease.
In order for your body to convert B6 (as pyridoxine) into its active form (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), which your body can use, it needs other nutrients such as zinc and magnesium. Giving vitamin B6 elevates magnesium levels during periods (3). Low magnesium levels are associated with poor appetite, nausea, lethargy, mood swings and muscle cramps. Magnesium reduces water retention (4) and improves mood (5).
Women suffering from PMS have been shown to have lower levels of magnesium compared to women without symptoms. Oestrogen increases tissue and bone absorption of magnesium, thus, ageing (decreasing oestrogen) is associated with increased need for magnesium (and higher rates of magnesium deficiency conditions) (6).
Like vitamin B6 and zinc, magnesium is required for making prostaglandins, and may help PMS sufferers this way. Cramps are most commonly due to What it does: Promotes a healthy heart, clots blood, promotes healthy nerves, contracts muscles, improves skin, bone and dental health, relieves aching muscles and bones,…/magnesium imbalances and can be corrected by supplementing with magnesium.
The combination of vitamin B6 with magnesium is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of PMS. A randomised controlled study gave three groups of women either a placebo, magnesium on its own or with...