Feb 27 2013, 7:49am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Washington, Feb 27 — Women who eat an iron-rich diet were 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) than those who consumed less, a new study shows.
The research by the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Harvard University is one of the first to evaluate whether dietary mineral intake is linked to PMS development, the American Journal of Epidemiology reports.
The study conducted by Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson and others from UMass, and Patricia Chocano-Bedoya and colleagues from Harvard, assessed mineral intake in approximately 3,000 women who were free from PMS at the baseline, according to a UMass and Harvard statement.
These women completed three food frequency questionnaires over the 10-year study period. After 10 years, 1,057 women were diagnosed with PMS and 1,968 remained free from PMS.
"We found that women who consumed the most non-heme iron, the form found primarily in plant foods and in supplements, had a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of developing PMS than the women who consumed the lowest amount of non-heme iron," said Bertone-Johnson.
Women in the highest intake group for non-heme iron had a relative risk of 0.60 compared with those in the lowest intake group.
"However, as high iron intake may have adverse health consequence, women should avoid consuming more than the tolerable upper level of 45 mg per day unless otherwise recommended by a physician," noted Bertone-Johnson.
Researchers say that iron may be help with PMS because it is involved in producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood.
Irritability, tension, and unhappiness are the three most common PMS symptoms. Others include stress, anxiety, insomnia, headache, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity and an impaired libido.
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