An anonymous Hormonology newsletter subscriber asks: “How can I keep even-keeled throughout my cycle and keep that upbeat feeling I have in Weeks 1 & 2? Are there any supplements or foods that help? I cannot stand the extreme moodiness and irritability and neither can my family.”
My answer: While there’s no magic pill (yet!) that will keep your mood perfectly level and upbeat (even gals on the Pill go through PMS during their sugar pill days), researchers have discovered that certain supplements taken daily can improve your outlook and reduce irritability, the blues and moodiness throughout your cycle and especially during Week 3 and Week 4 when lower levels of estrogen make you more susceptible to mood problems. These include 1000 mg. of calcium (500 mg. twice daily), 800 IU of vitamin D, 60 mg. of pine bark extract (30 mg. twice daily), a B-complex vitamin, 1000 mg. of omega-3 fatty acids containing DHA and EPA, and a multivitamin that contains vitamin E and minerals, including iron. These nutrients impact brain chemicals and certain processes in the body that have an effect on your moods and sensitivity to fluctuating hormones. You can try them all or just one at a time to see how they affect you. Please bear in mind that it can take up to three cycles for the full effects to kick in, so having patience will pay off. And, as with all supplements, always look up possible interactions they can have with over-the-counter or prescription medications you are currently taking at Drugs.com.
Other study-proven ways to improve your moods during Week 3 and Week 4 are to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and seeds and low in saturated fat and sugar, and to reduce stress levels, for instance, by practicing yoga, t’ai chi or mindfulness meditation.
Also important to keep in mind: Moodiness can be exacerbated by caffeine (which can put you on edge), alcohol (which is a depressant that worsens blue moods) and skipping meals or going too long between meals (even if you don’t feel hungry, your blood sugar could drop, causing anger and irritability). So, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can also keep your moods in check.