Out of sheer desperation I have been reading ways to alleviate my often debilitating PMS.
A few days ago my hormonal nightmare reached a crescendo of anxiety, which some months feels like outright dissociation. I cannot tolerate this. If I could physically climb out of my body I would. So I did a bunch of reading and took any supplement in my cabinet that was mentioned re:pms in just an effort to calm the eff down. This resulted in a long sleepless night during which I felt like I was on a bad acid trip (yes I do have reference for that, yay 90's) floating in and out of sleep testing the boundaries of dream and reality.
I will not do that again. The truth is I've been wanting to veer away from supplements other than the basics (I need vitamin D for depression and Mg seems helpful). Really putting most things to diet/excercise/lifstyle. I do have some impulsivity issues, but that's another story.
Anyway, I've read a lot saying B-6 could be THE thing for depression/anxiety/pms (never heard that before, just B overall), and have tried a fairly high dose in the few days since. I'm feeling MUCH better. Even better than non-pms time periods. I actually have no cramps. I don't want to make a judgement yet though. I was hoping in the meantime someone had some info or could help clear up some of this prostaglandin reference in this little blurb I came across. I am not interested in the pharmaceuticals, I have had very bad experience with that. I mean, what do prostaglandins do and how does this apply exactly to pms and maybe anxiety in general (not just pms)? What do you think of this list of precursors/supplements (or finding food sources)? They do mention eating more plants less animals (not an anti-paleo sentiment I think, possibly a suggestion for a few days a month), opinion?
UPDATE: Next cycle after I posted this and I actually experienced ZERO PMS symptoms. Not only that, Day 1 of the cycle I had a dream that I was dancing around doing some sort of free-style ballet complete with on-point tip toes and leaps and bounds and turns (I have never done ballet in my life). Weird, but I haven't had a dream that awesome in years. I followed most of the suggestions on here, eating similar to what Firefly recommends, plus my B-6 supp.
Prostaglandins are made from fatty acids -- from n-3 and n-6.
It's very complex, but the nutshell version is that n-3 fats and oils tend to produce more of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and n-6 fats and oils produce more of the inflammatory ones. Inflammation = pain. Cramps anyone? Tenderness? Feeling like general BUTT?
The inflammatory prostaglandins can also come from the arachidonic acid that's heavy in animal fats. That's why the article advises to limit animal fats. BUT...I would say the average American should worry way more about the n-6 coming from all the freaking soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, etc.
If you're doing a clean Paleo diet, I don't think it's as big an issue, even if you're eating a fair amount of animal foods. That being said, if you are eating well, you might just want to up the fish oil when you feel the PMS coming on...and possibly watch your animal fat intake. But I certainly wouldn't "increase vegetable oil" like the article says. That's asking for more n-6! (Unless we're specifically talking flax oil, but you're not gonna replace a lot of your usual fat intake with flax.)
If you're super bored and want to geek out, this is an awesome article about prostaglandins, where/how they come from our food, and what they do in the body.
I suffer from really bad PMS too, and in an effort to suffer less I stopped the pill and have been taking Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus daily as well as Dong Quai in the days leading up to my period. Glad to say my cramps have improved but unfortunately not my moods. I usually get one severe day of depression and several of "having to filter/gloves are off" bitchiness. Nothing has ever improved it, not anti-depressants years ago, not over one year of primal eating, not exercise, etc. My poor boyfriend!!! : / Recently read a post here about prostaglandins being the cause of diarrhea during menstruation, which I also have, but that was the first I'd ever heard of them so haven't done any research yet. Would love to hear from folks here who know! P.S. sorry this was a comment but exceeded the field...