3 Nutrients That Help with Menstrual Discomfort

Menstrual cramping and discomfort is a common problem that many women deal with on a monthly basis. Menstruation begins with the uterus shedding its lining. As this lining begins to break down, a flood of inflammatory prostoglandins are released. These inflammatory chemicals constrict the blood vessels and cause the uterine muscle layer to cramp. The more prostaglandins are produced, the more uncomfortable a period can be.

Although most women suffer from it, very few realize that eating the right foods can improve issues associated with menstrual pain and dysfunction. Traditional medicine often focuses on pain to help relieve the issue. If you are interested in a more natural approach, you can use these dietary tricks and it can truly make a difference in your menstrual pain:

1. Healthy Fats: Eating a diet that is anti-inflammatory and rich in omega-3's can improve your overall health. You can also supplement with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain by decreasing inflammation associated with your menstrual cycle1.

2. Magnesium: Cramping associated with menstrual dysfunction can be treated with magnesium. Getting enough magnesium can help to combat many of the issues we experience including headaches, anxiety and a lack of sleep. When using supplements with magnesium or eating foods that are rich in magnesium, it relaxes the muscles in the uterine wall2.

3. B Vitamins: A thiamine (B1) deficiency can cause cramping, muscle pain, and fatigue. These common symptoms (premenstrual syndrome) are often associated with menstrual dysfunction. When your B6 levels are low3, magnesium may not be getting into your cells, so your uterus is not relaxed.

4. Vitamin E: There are many benefits to supplementing with vitamins E. If you suffer from menstrual pain, it can help to reduce inflammation4, balance your menstrual flow, and even out your hormone levels. If you prepare in advance and eat foods rich in vitamin E a few days before you begin cramping, it can go a long way in helping to alleviating pain.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes, 2010 Mar; 2(3): 355–374 2. Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review, 2017 Feb 1;30(1):1-7. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2017.0419