Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Patricia Chocano-Bedoya from Harvard University with colleagues from both schools published new research in the Feb. 26, 2013, issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology that found eating a diet rich in iron reduced the development of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
The study was based on the self reported food intake of 3,025 women over a ten year period.
The researchers found that consumption of the form of iron found in most plant foods and in supplements reduced the potential for developing PMS. The women that were the highest iron consumers demonstrated a potential for developing PMS of sixty percent compared to women in the lowest intake group.
Iron is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin that regulates mood. Potassium regulates fluid balance in the body and may affect PMS symptoms such as swelling in the extremities and bloating by affecting fluid retention.
The researchers insist that women see their physicians or gynecologists before beginning a new diet because the reduction in PMS by diet should be made in consideration of all other medications and conditions that affect a specific woman’s health.
Most importantly the amounts of iron and zinc found to promote the reduction of PMS symptoms and onset are higher than the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iron and zinc for premenopausal women and could present some health issues for some women.