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Taking zinc can alleviate PMS

In this 6-month randomized controlled trial, zinc supplementation improved various aspects of premenstrual syndrome.

Background

Premenstrual syndrome involves a set of clinically significant physical and psychological symptoms during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. About 80–90% of women manifest at least one symptom of PMS, but only 2.5–3% experience severe symptoms that impair social activities and relationships. Some evidence suggests that serum zinc levels are lower in women with PMS compared to healthy control comparators.[1] Could zinc supplementation improve PMS symptoms?

The study

In this 6-month randomized controlled trial, 69 women (almost all of them were Ph.D. students) aged 18–35 were assigned to receive a capsule containing 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate or a placebo daily for 3 months. The severity of PMS was assessed at baseline and at the end of the study using the Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool-Adolescent (PSST-A). The PSST-A has two parts: the first assesses mood and physical and behavioral symptoms, and the second assesses the effect of these symptoms on daily functioning.

The results

Compared to the placebo, zinc improved both parts of the PSST-A. Zinc improved anger/irritability, anxiety/tension, sensitivity to rejection, depressed mood, interest in work and home activities, social life activity, difficulty concentrating, fatigue/lack of energy, overeating/food cravings, sleepiness, physical symptoms (i.e., breast tenderness, headaches, muscle pain, bloating), school/work efficiency, and relationships with friends, classmates, coworkers, and family.

Note

A limitation of this study is that lifestyle factors (e.g., diet, physical activity) were not measured and monitored. Also, the researchers did not adjust for multiple comparisons, despite the inclusion of numerous outcomes, which increases the risk of false-positive results. Therefore, the results should be considered preliminary.

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