For you ladies who have particularly brutal PMS, this article is dedicated to YOU.
The NudeSpots PMS Survival Guide
Premenstrual syndrome is obviously a very complex biological issue, but here at NudeSpots we discuss photobiology and heliotherapy so this post is going to highlight research on the effects of sunshine, bright light, and vitamin D on PMS.
I know there’s a lot more to it, but we never hear about the heliotherapy side of premenstrual syndrome. (Heliotherapy means using sunshine therapeutically.)
Study: Vitamin D Significantly Improves PMS Symptoms
This 2016 PMS and vitamin D study is a randomized, placebo-controlled experiment. This is considered the gold standard in scientific human studies and provides the most solid findings and conclusions. The participants have no idea whether or not they’re receiving a placebo or receiving the treatment being tested, so this reduces the “placebo effect” where someone reports feeling benefits due to a belief in the treatment regardless of whether or not the treatment is actually physically working.
They took 158 young ladies (ages 15 – 21) suffering severe, relationship-disturbing PMS symptoms who were also severely vitamin D-deficient and split them into two groups.
80 of the girls were randomly assigned to receive a 200,000 IU vitamin D megadose followed by 25,000 IU every two weeks for four months.
The other 78 girls received placebos the whole time. And remember, nobody actually knows whether they’re receiving placebos or vitamin D here.
They evaluated the girls with questionnaires before and after the experiment and what they found was that ONLY the vitamin D girls reported improvements in their symptoms. And these improvements were significant.
Results for the vitamin D girls:
-anxiety scores dropped by more than half
-irritability scores dropped by half
-incidences of crying easily dropped significantly
-they reported feeling less sad
-incidences of reported relationship disturbances dropped by more than half
None of these changes were reported by the placebo group. And remember, nobody has any idea what they were actually being given throughout this experiment.
One even more remarkable thing is that, besides the initial 200,000 IU megadose, the maintenance dose they were given was pretty small. 25,000 IU every two weeks averages out to less than 2,000 IU per day, which is a very low dose for adults. In this study the highest vitamin D level achieved by a girl was 60 ng/ml. 50 ng/ml is now considered the minimum level you want to have, so even in this vitamin D group most of the girls failed to attain optimal vitamin D levels due to the inadequacy of their given dose. The initial 200,000 IU megadose probably had been exhausted within six weeks and not provided much benefit beyond that.
So we have to wonder what the results would be had the girls in the vitamin D group been given a stronger dose. The human body is capable of producing over 20,000 IU of vitamin D from one sunbathing session.
Bottom Line: even a small dose of vitamin D daily significantly improves PMS symptoms.
(Aaaaand remember! Scientifically, sunbathing is superior to supplements for vitamin D.)
Study: Bright Light Therapy Reduces PMS Symptom Severity
Bright light therapy is a well-known and proven effective treatment for depression and seasonal affective disorder and it’s also been found to be extremely helpful for PMS.
In this randomized control trial, they took 14 women suffering from late luteal phase dysphoric disorder, a very severe form of PMS, and randomly assigned them to receive bright light therapy (10,000 lux) or just placebo light (500 lux) 30 minutes a day for two menstrual cycles.
Then, to really make this study as solid as it can be, they flipped the groups. Those receiving the proper bright light were switched to the placebo light for two more menstrual cycles and vice versa.
For both sets of cycles, for both groups, the bright light therapy was effective for significantly reducing depression scores, whereas the placebo light did not produce those results with either group.
Now more amazing is that the intensity of light used for bright light therapy is 10,000 lux, but the intensity of light on a sunny summer day is 100,000 lux. So there’s objectively no better bright light therapy than sunshine. What would these results have been if the participants had enjoyed 30 minutes of summer sunshine daily?
(At-home light therapy lamp)
A Word on Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is frighteningly common. Here’s a giant list of 46 studies examining population vitamin D levels all over the world. Everywhere these studies are conducted in the western world they find the same thing: the majority of people have low vitamin D levels.
If you’re not a regular sun-worshipper or properly taking vitamin D supplements, you’re probably deficient. This is even more likely if you are obese, dark skinned, older, live farther away from the equator, or live in an area with high air pollution – as all these inhibit our vitamin D production process.
Most people work indoors all day, they drive to and from their job in a sheltered vehicle, they get home and go inside their sheltered homes, and the little bit of time they do get some sun they’re fully-clothed and seeking shade. There’s just no sun exposure whatsoever included in the average person’s lifestyle these days.
So if you experience particularly severe PMS, check your vitamin D levels. It’s cheaper and easier than ever and doesn’t even require a doctor visit anymore. You can just order kits off Amazon.
You want to have a level of at least 50 ng/ml.
Proper supplementation is actually more complicated than most people realize and while it’s easier to overdose on water than vitamin D, I recommend sunbathing over supplementation for safety reasons. It is technically possible, although highly unlikely, to overdose on vitamin D supplements and develop hypercalcemia. However, this risk is impossible with sunbathing as our bodies miraculously know exactly how much vitamin D to synthesize. Supplements are great though if weather or scheduling conditions are affecting your ability to get sun exposure.
A sunny summer day is 10x stronger than bright light therapy and vitamin D from sunshine has been found to be biologically superior and safer than supplements. Sunshine provides both of these benefits at the same time in massive, massive doses.
If it’s a cloudy week or winter time then you’ll have to settle for the artificial solutions, but if the sun is available it might be your best medicine for PMS survival.
Check the NudeSpots directory and find a place near you where can max out your sunshine dose and heal the suffering.
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Until next time,
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