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PMS, herbal medicines and fractures

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Iron, zinc and PMS

American Journal of Epidemiology (2013) DOI:10.1093/aje/kws363

A high intake of iron and zinc seems to reduce the risk of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), an analysis of the Nurses' Health Study II suggests. Conversely, high potassium levels seem to increase PMS risk.

The authors compared food frequency questionnaires completed by 1,057 women with PMS and 1968 controls. After adjusting for calcium intake and other factors, researchers divided women into quintiles based on intake of nonhaeme iron, the form of the mineral found primarily in plants and supplements. Women in the highest quintile of nonhaeme iron intake (median 49.2 mg/day) were 36 per cent less likely to develop PMS than those in the lowest quintile (median 9.4 mg/day).

High zinc intake from supplements (≥25 mg/day) reduced PMS risk by 31 per cent (versus non-users). Women in the highest quintile of potassium intake (median 3.7g/day) were 46 per cent more likely to develop PMS than those in the lowest (median 2.3g/day). These associations are biologically plausible. E.g iron is a cofactor for tryptophan hydroxylase, the enzyme that converts tryptophan into a precursor (5-hydroxytryptophan) of serotonin.

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