Vitamin E may ease menstrual cramps

April 27, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, Women's Health

Vitamin E may ease menstrual cramps
New research from Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran suggests that taking vitamin E a few days a month may help ease menstrual cramps.

The study of nearly 300 teenage girls found that those who started taking vitamin E (200 mg, twice a day) two days before their periods experienced considerable less cramping than their peers who used only standard pain medication. In fact, girls in the vitamin E group showed a sharp reduction in the number of hours they suffered cramps each month. Study participants who took vitamin E had cramps for less than two hours, on average, during their periods compared with 17 hours for those girls who did not take the vitamin. As well, only 4 percent in the vitamin E users reported using ibuprofen for pain, compared with 89 percent of girls in the placebo group.

Common menstrual cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are thought to result from the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract in order to expel the uterine lining, resulting in menstrual blood flow. Vitamin E, by acting on two enzymes in the body, can inhibit the formation of prostaglandins � and according to researchers, potentially inhibit menstrual cramps as well.

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