If you have a period, chances are you’re well acquainted with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). By some estimates, more than 90% of women have experienced some form of PMS. And because there are as many as 150 physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive symptoms associated with PMS, that means you can expect to experience some combination of symptoms like irritability, depression, uncontrolled crying, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, cramps, acne, brain fog, and muscle aches … Every. Single. Month.
These are pretty major symptoms, and for many women, they’re severe enough to impair normal daily functioning. PMS causes real suffering for a lot of women, and yet, it continues to be minimized and treated as a joke. Even doctors are often dismissive of it.
News flash: What if we told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Although PMS is extremely common, it isn’t “normal.” We’ve been told it’s just part of being a woman, but in truth, there are a lot of things you can do to alleviate PMS symptoms, starting with taking a good PMS vitamin.
What causes PMS?
First, let’s take a quick look at what causes PMS. A lot of it comes down to abnormal fluctuations in hormones or sensitivity to chemical changes in the brain.
Have you ever heard someone describe a woman with PMS as “being hormonal”? I’ve said it myself: I’ll tell my husband I’m hormonal so that if I start crying for no apparent reason, he won’t be alarmed (or think he’s done something wrong). But when we say a woman is “hormonal,” what we really mean is, she’s emotional, irrational, or downright crazy. These negative connotations around the word “hormonal” aren’t just dismissive — they’re inaccurate.
All humans are hormonal, in the sense that our bodies are full of different hormones that are necessary for good health and well-being. Abnormal fluctuations in these hormones can cause all kinds of health issues — and not just for women. Throughout the menstrual cycle, which lasts roughly 28 days, hormones are constantly changing. And the changes in mood and other symptoms that occur during PMS aren’t caused by excessive hormones, but rather by a sudden drop in hormones.
But PMS isn’t just about hormones. Neurotransmitters also play a role. These molecules — which include serotonin and dopamine — transmit messages throughout the body, and also help control mood and regulate emotions. Neurotransmitters are naturally produced by the body, but many factors (like digestive issues or the use of some prescription drugs) can impair the body’s ability to build them. And what happens when neurotransmitters are low? The risk of depression increases.
Diet, lifestyle, and stress management can all help balance hormone levels and neurotransmitter production. That’s where PMS vitamins come in.
What vitamins are best for PMS?
Research shows that numerous vitamin and mineral supplements can help relieve PMS symptoms.1 These vitamins and minerals help in different ways. Some help balance hormones. Others aid in the production of neurotransmitters, which can make those PMS mood swings less severe.
Some vitamins and minerals that can help with PMS symptoms include:1
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
What’s inside Pixie Balance (and why)
We’ve formulated Pixie Balance with some of the best research-backed ingredients for alleviating common PMS symptoms. This PMS supplement contains magnesium, vitamin B6, and a combination of plant-based ingredients to help make that time of the month more tolerable.
Each ingredient in Pixie Balance has been carefully chosen to help relieve PMS symptoms and balance hormones for women in all stages of life.
Magnesium Glycinate, 12mg
Used for: menstrual cramps, PMS migraines, stress relief
What it is: Magnesium, also known as the “miracle mineral for periods” is a mineral needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. In fact, every cell in the body needs magnesium to function properly. You can get magnesium from the foods you eat, but many people don’t get enough.
What it does: Magnesium is necessary for proper muscle function. Low levels of magnesium can lead to muscle twitches, tremors, and cramps. Yep, that includes those dreaded menstrual cramps.2 When taken daily, magnesium can help relax the muscles of the uterus and ease period cramps.2
Learn more about magnesium
Regularly taking magnesium supplements can also help prevent menstrual migraines.3 If you’ve ever had a menstrual migraine, you know just how debilitating they can be. There’s nothing worse than lying in bed all day because any light, smells, sounds, or movement make you completely nauseated.
Magnesium also calms the nervous system and helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can in turn lead to better menstrual health and overall health.4 Stress can throw your hormones out of whack, leading to weight gain, missed periods, mood swings, and other health issues.
How much magnesium should I take for PMS?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310-320 mg for healthy adult women. Try to get most of your magnesium from your diet, as high doses of magnesium from supplements can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and cramping. Dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale), legumes, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate are all good sources of magnesium.
Pixie Balance contains 12mg of magnesium per serving, or 3% of the RDA.
Warning: Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you have kidney disease.
Vitamin B6, 20 mg
Used for: Mood swings, cravings
What it is: Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods. It’s needed for many processes in the body, including helping the body turn food into energy. It’s also important for a healthy brain and a strong immune system. Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, they must be replenished daily.
What it does: Vitamin B6 helps regulate mood, and may improve symptoms of depression. That’s because vitamin B6 is needed to create neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B6 are associated with depression.5
Learn more about vitamin B6
B6 supplements may help with a wide variety of PMS symptoms, especially when taken with magnesium. One study found that magnesium combined with B6 significantly improved symptoms such as depression, crying, irritability, anger, insomnia, brain fog, breast tenderness, bloating, headache, acne, and muscular pain.6
How much vitamin B6 should a woman take daily?
The RDA for women between the ages of 19-50 is 1.3mg; however, it is safe to take up to 100mg daily. Pixie Balance contains 20mg of vitamin B6, which is 1176% of the RDA.
Warning: Long-term supplementation of more than 200mg can cause nerve damage. Check dosage of any multivitamins or other vitamin B supplements to ensure you remain within recommended limits.
Chaste Tree Fruit Extract, 400mg
Used for: Hormonal acne, mood swings, breast tenderness
What it is: Chasteberry, AKA Vitex agnus-castus or monk’s pepper, is the fruit of the chase tree, which is native to parts of Asia and Europe.
What it does: Chasteberry may help balance hormones, and has been traditionally used to treat many hormone-related gynecologic conditions.7
Learn more about chasteberry
Chasteberry is well-researched, especially for its ability to relieve PMS symptoms. Research on chasteberry suggests that it lowers levels of the hormone prolactin, which in turn helps balance levels of estrogen and progesterone, two key hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.8
In one study, 93% of women who took chasteberry for three menstrual cycles reported that their PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and cravings improved or completely went away.9 And, none of the study participants experienced any negative drug reactions.
Another study found that women who took chasteberry reported improvements in irritability, mood, anger, headaches, breast tenderness, and bloating.10
For best results, take chasteberry in the morning. That’s when the pituitary gland is most receptive to its effects.
Warning: Chasteberry is not recommended for individuals taking fertility medications or those under the age of 18. Talk to your doctor before taking chasteberry if you have PCOS. Wait three months before taking chasteberry after discontinuing hormonal birth control.
Dong Quai Root Powder, 350 mg
Used for: Cramps, muscle pain, depression
What it is: Also known as Chinese angelica root, dong quai is a fragrant plant related to carrots and celery.
What it does: Dong quai has been used in traditional herbal medicine for more than 2,000 years. It’s also referred to as “female ginseng” due to its purported ability to relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause, including depression and painful periods.11
Learn more about dong quai
Dong quai contains a compound known as ferulic acid, which appears to relax the uterus, leading to less cramping and muscle pain.12
Warning: Dong quai is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Maca Root Powder, 300 mg
Used for: energy, mood, postmenopausal symptoms, sex drive
What it is: A plant native to Peru, maca is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It has been used medicinally in Peru for centuries.13
What it does: Maca has long been used to balance hormones, enhance fertility, and increase energy, but more research is needed to confirm these claims. Some small studies have shown that maca may help improve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.14
Learn more about maca
Maca has also been used traditionally to enhance sexual function and desire. Some research supports these claims, with small studies showing improvements in sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men.15
Warning: Maca is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, individuals with thyroid disorders or hormonal disorders, children, or individuals taking blood thinners or birth control pills.
Lemon Balm, 250 mg
Used for: Cramps, digestion, stress relief
What it is: A lemon-scented herb from the same family as mint, lemon balm has been used medicinally for more than 2000 years.
What it does: Lemon balm is a well-researched plant that may be useful for alleviating a variety of PMS symptoms, including stress, cramps, headaches, and digestive issues.
Learn more about lemon balm
A 2015 study involving high school girls found that those who took lemon balm for three months experienced an improvement in physical, social, and psychological PMS symptoms.16
Other studies have found lemon balm effective in promoting a sense of calmness, reducing anxiety, improving memory and concentration, relieving insomnia, and relieving digestive issues such as nausea.17,18,19,20
Black Cohosh, 300 mg
Traditionally used for: Mood, cramps
What it is: An herb native to North America, black cohosh goes by many names, including black bugbane, black snakeroot, or fairy candle.
What it does: Black cohosh has long been used in traditional medicine to help with menopause symptoms, PMS symptoms, and hormonal balance. Most of the scientific research on black cohosh has focused on its ability to relieve menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances.21
Learn more about black cohosh
Black cohosh contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), which are natural estrogen-like substances that bind weakly to estrogen receptors. This can help protect against the ups and downs of stronger forms of estrogen or toxic xenoestrogens (“foreign” estrogens) from endocrine disrupting chemicals. Phytoestrogens also speed up estrogen metabolism.
Some studies suggest that black cohosh can help with hormonal imbalances, anxiety, and depression.22
Other research shows that black cohosh may have antinociceptive properties, which is a fancy way of saying it may help block pain signals to the brain.23 This could explain why black cohosh has traditionally been used to alleviate menstrual cramps.
Warning: Black cohosh is not recommended for individuals with a hormone-related condition, a history of blood clots or stroke, or those taking medications for high blood pressure.
When to take PMS vitamins
For most vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements to be effective, they have to be taken on a daily basis so the active ingredients can build up in your system. In most of the studies referenced above, participants took the supplements for 2-3 months before seeing noticeable improvements in their symptoms. If you wait until your PMS symptoms start before taking a supplement, you aren’t likely to see results. We suggest giving Pixie Balance 2-3 full cycles to experience the full effect.
Order Pixie Balance PMS vitamins
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Note: Some herbal supplements may not be safe during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, while taking fertility medications, or for those under the age of 18. Women with hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, should consult their physician before taking herbal supplements. Certain supplements may also interact with some medications, such as birth control pills, drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and drugs used to treat psychosis.
Disclaimer: We recommend consulting your doctor before use. Use during hormone therapy should be done under the supervision of a physician. Consult your healthcare professional before use if you are undergoing hormone therapy, have a thyroid disorder or other medical condition, or are taking prescription medication. Keep out of reach of children.
1. Kaewrudee, S et al. Vitamin or mineral supplements for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018 Jan; 2018(1).
1. Parazzini F et al. Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review. Magnesium Research. 2017 Feb 1;30(1):1-7.
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