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Any woman who has suffered PMS knows the toll it can take on her ability to function, let alone live a happy, healthy life. Exceptionally severe PMS is known as PMDD, which stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Women with PMDD endure the physical symptoms and also become markedly depressed or anxious during the second half of their menstrual cycles to the point where their social and work lives are completely disrupted.
Birth Control, Antidepressants Often Don’t Help PMDD Symptoms
Most women who are struck with severe PMS or PMDD symptoms cycle after cycle are desperate for relief, and beating depression that plagues them before each cycle is a top priority. Many of these women who consult their doctors are offered one of two common, conventional treatment options: birth control pills or antidepressants. These options may help diminish the symptoms for some PMDD sufferers, but they do not treat the underlying cause and they are both associated with dangerous or unwanted side effects such as weight gain, loss of libido, and more.
Study Looks Into Inositol Benefits for PMDD
Inositol is a B-vitamin-like compound that has previously been studied as natural treatment for a number of conditions, including polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, panic disorder, depression, and anxiety.[2-5] Inositol is known to have effects in the brain, supporting neurotransmitter function. In fact, it is thought to play a role similar to the SSRI antidepressants by increasing serotonin availability, which is why it can be effective for beating depression. It also is known to be involved in the female reproductive system, supporting ovarian function. For this reason, a group of Italian researchers decided to conduct a study to identify any inositol benefits related to symptoms of PMDD.
They gave women with PMDD either placebo or two grams of inositol powder twice a day. The powder was a specific form of inositol called myo-inositol. Because inositol exists in many different forms which have differing effects in the body, it’s important to know which type is used for various purposes in order to achieve the desired inositol benefits. Myo-inositol is the primary form of inositol found in the central nervous system and is the form that supports neurotransmitter function. It is also thought to be the form that supports ovarian function. The inositol supplement used for beating depression, anxiety, and other symptoms is typically derived from rice bran and is usually found as a loose powder because of the need to take large amounts to achieve a therapeutic effect.
Study Authors: “We Were Able to Clearly Prove the Efficacy of Inositol in PMDD”
Results showed that compared to placebo, the women taking the myo-inositol powder experienced significant improvement in their symptoms based on three separate standardized symptom questionnaires, including a depression-specific questionnaire. According to the authors, who published their research in the journal Human Psychopharmacology, “…we were able to clearly prove the efficacy of myo-inositol in PMDD .” In addition to this study showing the inositol benefits in beating depression and other symptoms associated with PMDD, other studies have found inositol benefits also include relief from symptoms panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, binge eating, PCOS, and insulin resistance.[2-5]
So how do you know if your PMS is severe enough to be considered PMDD? Read part 2 of this article to learn what are the common symptoms of PMDD as well as the specifics on taking an inositol supplement regularly for beating depression, anxiety and the other PMDD-related symptoms.
This article was originally published in 2013. It is regularly updated.