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Calcium, Vitamin D in Diet May Prevent PMS

Possible Cut in Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome Marks Another Good Reason to Eat Right

Women Not Getting Enough Calcium, Vitamin D continued...

"What this study says is that if you take an 18-year-old woman without PMS -- who has a 20% lifetime chance of getting it -- if she takes her calcium she has less chance of getting PMS," Bashuk says.

"Whether to take calcium is a no-brainer. And if you get a side benefit that it may prevent PMS, that would be a wonderful thing. I certainly would recommend if a woman has PMS, and doesn't take calcium or doesn't have a good dairy intake, it is not an unreasonable thing for her to go on calcium supplements and see if it helps."

Best Calcium Sources

To give you an idea of how much calcium is in some calcium-rich foods, here are some examples:

  • 1 cup of milk -- 300 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli -- 35 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup of spinach -- 120 milligrams
  • 1.5 ounces of cheddar cheese -- 300 milligrams
  • 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt -- 300-415 milligrams
  • 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice -- 300 milligrams

Bertone-Johnson and Bashuk both note that a study of this kind does not prove that calcium or vitamin D really prevents PMS. Only a clinical trial can do that. In the meantime, women may wish to consult their doctors about whether -- and how -- to get more calcium and vitamin D.

"I think it is something women can talk about with their doctors, whether they are thinking about increasing calcium and vitamin D to prevent PMS or to strengthen their bones," Bertone-Johnson says. "It is premature to suggest this is going to be the magic bullet to prevent PMS. But it is something women, after talking with their doctors, may want to incorporate into their diets."

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