Wednesday, 02 December 2015 18:19

Turmeric Superior to Prozac and Pain-Killers for PMS

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PMS afflicts millions of women each month, some with debilitating symptoms. Pain killers and antidepressants are standard treatments, both of which carry serious side effects. A new study finds turmeric extract may be superior in addressing some of the root causes of the disorder. 

A new study published in the journal Neuropeptides titled, "Effect of curcumin on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in women with premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial," has revealed that the primary polyphenol in turmeric known ascurcuminis capable of improving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), including increasing an important hormone in the nervous system called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and which is known to undergo significant decreases in women who suffer from challenging PMS cycles.

Millions of women take pain-killers to reduce PMS symptoms without realizing NSAIDs like ibuprofen can have life threatening adverse effects, including thousands of heart attacks each year.  Also,aspirin is far more dangerousthan the public has been told, withevidence-based alternatives like pycnogenolgoing almost completely unacknowledged. Tylenol is not only one of the most dangerous drugs for the liver, leading one health advocate to suggest the FDA should pull it from the market, but has also only recently been found to havepsychiatric effects by numbing emotional states. Clearly we need safer alternatives, and ideally solutions that help to heal imbalances at a level far deeper than just surface symptoms.

Curcumin extract may positively modulate BNDF levels in PMS sufferers. 

According to the study, "BDNF (Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is a widespread growth factor in the nervous system (Cubeddu et al., 2011 and Autry and Monteggia, 2012). It is involved in modulation a wide range of functions including neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, neuronal survival and growth."

The study also indicated that the worldwide prevalence of PMS is as high as 80-90%, with 2-5% of women suffering so severely that it is classified as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD),a condition considered serious enough to be classified in the DSM-IV as depressive order,and against which antidepressant drugs such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used as a first-line treatment.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms that start during the latelutealphase of the menstrual cycle, and the symptoms disappear after the onset of menses.

Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels during luteal phase in women associated with PMS have more alterations than women not suffering from PMS. In this regard, altered luteal BDNF levels in women with PMS might play a role in a set of psychological and somatic symptoms of the PMS.

Studies of last decade revealed neuroprotective effects of curcumin and its ability to increase BDNF levels."

Unfortunately, the conventional approach to PMS focused on suppressing symptoms palliatively instead of resolving the root causes, which relies heavily on pharmaceutical medications, both antidepressants and pain-killers, mayadversely alter the natural patterns of BDNF secretion and/or uptake, as well as produce a battery of other serious side effects.

100 mg every 12 hours before and after menstruation produces improvement

The randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, clinical trial evaluated the effect of curcumin on three successive menstrual cycles, each 10 days in duration. 70 college age women with a confirmed recent history of PMS were randomly allocated into placebo and curcumin groups, consisting of 35 women in each. Each groups received two capsules daily of either curcumin or placebo for seven days (100 mg every 12 hours curcumin in the treatment group) before menstruation and for three days after menstruation for three successive menstrual cycles.

The women were asked to record the severity of their symptoms in questionnaire form, and self-report was used to determine the menstrual cycle phase of participants. Additionally, venous blood samples were drawn on the fourth day of each menstrual cycle to determine their BDNF levels.

The results were summarized:

Before intervention, BDNF levels and mean scores of PMS symptoms (mood, behavioral and physical symptoms) between two groups showed no significant differences. But in curcumin group first, second and third cycles after interventions BDNF levels were significantly higher and mean scores of PMS symptoms were significantly less than placebo group.

Given the extremely high safety threshold of this agent relative to pharmaceuticals, as well as its evidence-based efficacy in positively modulating the physiology and self-reported quality of life of PMS sufferers, this study opens up a new potential role of turmeric in treating a condition that is presently either under-treated or mis-treated with often ineffective, as well as unsafe medications.

Read 11650 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 22:12
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