While the exact cause of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is unknown, zinc levels and total antioxidant capacity are often lower in women with PMS. These deficiencies may be responsible for some of the neurophysiological symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, depression, and emotional instability. Despite this potential connection, there are few trials on the use of zinc supplementation for improving quality of life in women with PMS.

The study

In this 12-week randomized controlled trial, 60 Iran university students with PMS were assigned to consume either zinc gluconate (30 mg of elemental zinc) or a placebo. A PMS questionnaire was recorded daily by each participant for two consecutive menstrual cycles prior to the study (baseline) and for the two menstrual cycles during the study (intervention). Body measurements and blood samples were also collected pre- and post-intervention.

The results

Zinc decreased physical and psychological PMS symptoms, while the placebo had no effect. Compared to the placebo group, the zinc group had higher serum levels of zinc, total antioxidant capacity, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which plays a role in how female sex hormones interact with the brain. C-reactive protein levels didn’t differ between groups.

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This Study Summary was published on December 7, 2020.