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The cause of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is not convincingly known, and continued exploration into possible dietary associations goes on. Investigators conducted a study nested within the Nurses’ Health Study, a very large group of women who provide biennial reports on their diet and lifestyle and health status. The possible association of dietary B vitamin intake and PMS was evaluated over a 10 year period. PMS was diagnosed in 36% of the participants (1057 women) and 1,968 women did not have PMS.

clip_image002Women who had the highest intake of thiamine were 25% less likely to develop PMS than those with the lowest intake. Women with the highest intake of riboflavin were 35% less likely to develop PMS. The intake of all B vitamins together in a B-complex supplement did not appear to lower the risk for PMS.

Comments: Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has shown benefits in treating PMS in most, but not all studies, and has shown a substantial and broad effect on the whole range of PMS symptoms in the positive studies. Doses have ranged from 50 gm to 500 mg per day. Given this body of research and information spanning since 1973, I’m not sure what compelled the investigators in this current study to track vitamins B1 and B2, rather than vitamin B6.

Reference: Chocano-Bedoya P, et al. Dietary B vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr 2011 May; 93:1080

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