There are lots of reasons that it’s wise for cycling women to get the recommended 1,000 mg. of calcium daily: This mineral reduces your risk of bone thinning as you age, it could lower your chances of developing colon or rectal cancer, it has the potential to lower blood pressure and it’s even been shown to help with weight management.
And, there’s one more major benefit if you’re a woman who experiences bothersome premenstrual woes, such as moodiness, anger, water retention, food cravings, anxiety, depression, fatigue and/or pain: Calcium can ease pre-period problems, leading to a happier premenstrual week.
New studies reinforce the link between calcium and PMS
A new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology Science and another new study in the Journal of Caring Sciences found that women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) who took a daily 500 mg. calcium supplement experienced a significant reduction in both psychological and physical symptoms within two months and three months, respectively, compared to those not given calcium.
This new research supports numerous past studies (including this, this, this and this) that have also found evidence that 500 mg. to 1200 mg. of calcium daily can reduce premenstrual woes, cementing this mineral as a natural line of defense against pre-period complaints.
How calcium eases premenstrual problems
Researchers suspect that calcium has the ability to balance out your hormones, making you less prone to unpleasant side effects when estrogen dips in your premenstrual week.
But, don’t expect an overnight miracle. It can take at least two cycles of daily calcium intake to start experiencing premenstrual relief, the research shows. So, patience is key.
Are calcium supplements safe?
Getting nutrients from food sources is typically considered better than supplements since researchers feel there may be other compounds in food that work synergistically to make certain nutrients more beneficial. So, if you’re looking for calcium from food, you can find it in yogurt, cheese, sardines and, of course, milk. You can find more edible sources of calcium here.
That said, taking a calcium in supplement form is obviouslyfar more convenient since you can pinpoint exactly how much calcium you’re getting daily and overcome dietary restrictions (such as lactose intolerance or veganism) that can make getting enough calcium from foods challenging.
You may have heard over recent years that calcium supplements were linked to a higher heart attack risk. However, after reviewing the research, the American Society for Preventive Cardiology and the National Osteoporosis Foundation have concluded that supplementing with calcium “has no relationship (beneficial or harmful) with the risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, mortality, or all-cause mortality in generally healthy adults.” And “calcium intake from food and supplements that does not exceed the upper tolerable limit (defined by the National Academy of Medicine as 2000 to 2500 mg/d) should be considered safe from a cardiovascular standpoint.”
In other words, calcium supplements are safe for most healthy individuals.
Of course, you should always consult with your healthcare provider when starting any new supplement regimen since many can interfere with some medications–and calcium is one of them, for instance, it can interact with certain antibiotics and anticonvulsants. You can learn more here.
The bottom line
Whether you get your recommended 1,000 mg. of calcium daily from food or supplements, you can reduce premenstrual psychological and physical problems within as little as two months.
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