Calcium is a promising treatment for PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). All studies done on calcium and premenstrual symptoms have shown that it does provide symptom relief. In the largest study, women took 1200mg per day and had almost a 50% reduction in their symptoms. Some women in this study who were taking a placebo had a 30% reduction in symptoms, (which just goes to show the power of positive thinking!).
One scientific study showed that women have lower levels of calcium the week before their period than the week after their period. That could indicate that PMDD symptoms are partially due to low calcium levels. Also, the symptoms of people with low levels of calcium were the same as PMS and PMDD symptoms.
There is some evidence that women with a premenstrual disorder, like PMDD, have a lower bone mass. This hasn’t been proven to be related to calcium, but it also hasn’t been proven that it’s NOT related. Considering most women only get half the recommended daily allowance, a supplement would help protect your bones as you age.
Since there’s evidence that it helps relieve premenstrual symptoms and could be an effective PMDD treatment, then it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Calcium supplements are generally safe and widely used. Keep in mind that calcium absorption is inhibited by too much protein, oxalic acid (found in leafy green vegetables) and alcohol. So don’t overdo it in any of these areas.
Dosage for PMDD Treatment:
- Take 900-1200mg/day. You must spread this out in 2-3 doses, as your body can only absorb 500mg at one time. (The toxic level of calcium is 2500mg/day.)
- It should be taken with food, however not anything high in fiber. Fiber binds calcium and prevents your body from absorbing it.
- There are two types of supplements you can take: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, which is less irritating to your digestive system if you have a sensitive stomach.
- You will need to take it at least three months before you may start to notice improvement of your symptoms.
Calcium supplements reduce the effectiveness of some medications, including the antibiotic tetracycline and the anticonvulsant phenytoin (aka Dilantin). Talk to your doctor if you take either of these or if you have issues with your parathyroid gland, kidney stones or kidney disease. Stop taking it if you start to have severe constipation, nausea, excessive fatigue or large urine output.