There are thousands of women all around the world suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and looking for appropriate treatment. This article explains the role and exact dosage of vitamin B3 in PMS.
Some research shows that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occurs due to mineral and vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B3 is also referred to as niacin and nicotinic acid. The body metabolism is primarily regulated by vitamin B3. It also helps regulate and maintain sex and stress hormones.
PMS means premenstrual syndrome, and it is the symptom that appears before periods or menstruation in women. PMS consists of various types of symptoms such as mood changes, breast enlargement, and tenderness (even mild touch may induce pain in the breasts), craving for certain types of food, body weakness, bloating, headache, acne, fatigue, irritability, tension, and depression. Every 8 out of 10 women experience premenstrual syndrome once in their life. The peak time of PMS is in the early 20s and continues till 30 years of age. The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but according to researchers, hormonal changes may be responsible for these symptoms prior to menstruation.
There are many emotional and physical symptoms present before menstruation. Women may experience depressed moods and become aggressive in nature. Tension and anxiety may become obvious during these days. Appetite or hunger changes may become apparent, and insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or absence of sleep) is also present. Poor concentration in work and studies is mostly seen. Social withdrawal may hamper a woman's social life.
There are many symptoms associated with PMS. They are divided into physical and emotional symptoms.
Physical Symptoms - It includes dizziness, nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, breast enlargement, clumsiness, fatigue, weakness, headache (severe), muscle pain, and increased hunger. Acne vulgaris, skin itching, and eczema are the skin manifestations present during PMS. Joint pain, lower abdominal pain, and increased weight due to fluid retention are also present. Constipation or diarrhea is present with abdominal discomfort. A woman may find different varieties of these symptoms at each cycle.
Emotional Symptoms - These include depression, tension, anxiety, loss of concentration, loss of focus in any work, irritability, loss of motivation, etc. Symptoms vary from cycle to cycle and from woman to woman.
Serotonin is a hormone that maintains mood swings, tension, and depression. Serotonin is referred to as a "feel good" neurotransmitter for mental health.
Vitamin B3 is responsible for producing serotonin. Without vitamin B3, tryptophan does not convert into serotonin, and the patient suffers from aggression and other psychological symptoms.
If a woman has a deficiency of vitamin B3, she would have symptoms of the neurological system. A woman may feel tired, aggressive, and become irritable.
Niacin also has important characteristics such as converting glucose into energy directly, reducing sugar in the blood, and providing maximum energy. So, niacin also reduces symptoms such as tiredness and converts carbohydrates into power, and helps to prevent fatigue.
Niacin also reduces menstrual cramps due to abdominal or pelvic muscle spasms. It also relieves severe headaches during the premenstrual period.
During PMS, the adrenal gland works under increased stress. In addition, there is also a low level of cortisol production. Cortisol is the main hormone that maintains the health of the mental system. So, it is mainly treated with niacin.
Corn is very beneficial for the treatment of PMS because it is rich in niacin.
There are many other food supplements available in the market containing vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is available mainly from cow's milk, eggs, white flour, peanuts, various fruits, different types of vegetables, meat, beef, pork, fish and fish products, yeast and yeast products, various types of breakfast cereals, etc.
It is available alone or with the combination of other vitamins such as vitamin B complex, including riboflavin, folic acid, pyridoxine, etc.
As per food and drug administration, the daily requirement of vitamin B3 is 17 mg in men and 13 mg in women. An additional 3 mg is necessary for breastfeeding women. One research of the European Union has proved that recommended daily administration is 18 mg per day for both men and women.
Medical supervision is essential to avoid any side effects.
Intake of vitamin B3 more than normal dose causes many adverse effects such as uncomfortable skin flushes. The most common sites are around the lower face and neck.
If a person takes more than 100 mg, it causes severe side effects. Very high doses such as more than 3000 mg may damage the liver tissues permanently.
Gouty arthritis and gouty attack is a common side effect with a high dose of nicotinic acid.
Gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea and vomiting are also common features.
Burning sensation and allergies are also present with high doses.
One more side effect of niacin is that it produces profound vasodilatation. Vasodilatation means dilation of blood vessels. It causes flushing of the face or extremities and abnormal skin tingling sensations.
There are many forms available for prescribing niacin. Most common is the tablet form. It is coated with a thin film that delays the release of vitamin B3 in the blood. It takes 8 to 12 hours for its release in blood. It has one beneficial effect, the extended-release tablets eliminate the problem of vasodilatation. But one drawback is that it causes toxicity in the liver with prolonged use. It is also available with the combination of Laropiprant, which decreases the side effects such as flushing and vasodilatation.
If a person takes niacin more than 1.5 to 6 g, it produces various side effects and niacin toxicity. Itching, dry skin, skin rashes, and eczema are produced by a high dose of niacin. Gastrointestinal complications such as nausea, vomiting, improper digestion, the toxicity of the liver, etc., can also occur. Many patients found some rare symptoms such as altered cardiac rhythm, abnormal increase in the level of glucose, and birth defects.
Among the eight B vitamins, niacin is more important for every part of the body. All the niacin needed can be obtained through the diet. However, supplemental forms are recommended for certain medical conditions, premenstrual syndrome, and also in cases of high cholesterol.
Premenstrual syndrome is a group of conditions that occur in menstruating women. It occurs between ovulation and periods. It is believed to be due to fluctuating hormone levels. PMS may cause symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, cravings, and tender breasts.
The symptoms of PMS can occur between ovulation and periods. It appears as early as two weeks before periods for a few women, whereas for some women, it may occur just before the period. On an average, it occurs between five to ten days before the period.
Before periods, the vaginal discharge may be cloudy white. This appearance of the vaginal discharge may be due to progesterone. This is known as the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
A delay in the period may be caused due to:
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Sudden weight loss or gain.
- Thyroid disorders.
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Vitamin B3 is known as niacin. It helps in maintaining optimal health of the nervous system and gut. It also helps in maintaining healthy skin.
Vitamins help in regulating PMS. Vitamin B3 and vitamin B6 help in regulating PMS. Along with vitamins, the consumption of calcium and vitamin D also helps in preventing PMS.
Hormonal imbalance can be supplemented by regulating the intake of magnesium. Magnesium not only regulates PMS but also improves overall health. Magnesium can be found in bean varieties, seeds like pumpkin seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
PMS can be regulated by the following:
- Having a balanced diet.
- Having a good sleep schedule.
- Exercising well.
- Using supplements in food.
If more than 50 mg of niacin is consumed, it may cause toxicity. Niacin toxicity can present with symptoms such as headache, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It generates something called niacin flush that causes head and neck redness.
There is a possibility of PMS worsening with age. PMS can worsen in the 30s or 40s. This could be due to the approaching menopause. Women in their late 30s and early 40s become increasingly sensitive to fluctuating hormone levels.
Last reviewed at:
08 Dec 2022 - 4 min read
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