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PMS Rapid Relief Pearls

This is the third in a four-part series about hormones, celebrating our new-and-revised Deep Dive clinical course, Hormones Demystified.  In the first video, I talk about the unexpected, negative effects of oral hormone supplementation on the body.  In the second, I answer the question as to why oral progesterone helps with sleep but why other solutions might be more appropriate.

For this week’s video:  no conversation about common hormone challenges would be complete without PMS!

In the clinical course, we go into great depth as to true root causes of hormone imbalance – what research shows and what can best be done to address imbalance in each scenario.  In this video, however, I want to prioritize supporting your toolbox for Rapid Relief of PMS.  Yes, I get it:  the functional medicine model doesn’t focus just on triage, symptom relief.  But we also can’t ignore the Need for relief!  Otherwise, our patients and clients keep popping NSAIDs, coffee, sugar, red wine, and chocolate in an attempt to “get by” with their suffering.  In optimizing the *impact* of functional medicine in actually helping people, Rapid Relief is key.  It can help to galvanize a patient’s belief in their ability to be well, so that they actual stay around long enough to have you help them with true, upstream root causes of their challenges. 

In this video, I give you my top 5 pearls for PMS relief.  There are dozens to choose from; these are the ones I find most effective for the average woman wrestling with debilitating PMS.  Questions have already been raised about good resources for chastetree berry and what “entry level” B-complex I might recommend in this scenario.  Gaia Herb’s Vitex Berry for chastetree berry.  For the Bs, Thorne’s Basic B or Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus are both excellent choices (note that both offer a good, initial dose of P5P for activated B6).

If you want to gain confidence in educating, inspiring, and empowering your patients and clients to overcome a variety of hormonal challenges,   consider registering for our all new Deep Dive clinical course, Hormones Demystified.  Or consider our Core 101 Semester program and get access to the full spectrum of myth-busting, truth-simplifying education we share here at the School of Applied Functional Medicine. 

I hope this is helpful to you and the patients and clients you generously serve.  Your follow-up questions are welcome below.



P.S. If you know that healthcare must be transformed to be sustainable and effective, and you believe strongly that Functional Medicine is key to making that happen, we urge you to learn about our semester program.

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6 Questions for “PMS Rapid Relief Pearls”

  1. 3
    Samantha Press says:

    Can vitex be taken during breastfeeding?

    • 3.1
      SAFM Team says:

      Chaste tree berry, also called Vitex is viewed by some as safe but there’s no definitive research confirming it is ok during breastfeeding:
      There’s some inconsistent evidence that babies can be fussy as a result of Vitex use while breastfeeding.
      Dose matters: low, 50-100 mg will help to increase prolactin; higher dose can have the opposite effect and lower prolactin, which may be desirable in case of PCOS, but not during breastfeeding.

  2. 2
    Dina Assaad says:

    Hi Tracy! I recently came a across a Methyl B complex .
    How is it different than the plain B complex ?

    • 2.1
      SAFM Team says:

      A wide and complex variety of B vitamins is essential for the body to convert food into cellular energy. These water-soluble vitamins are first absorbed in the small intestine and then travel to the liver where they are transformed into their active coenzyme forms. One of the key roles of B vitamins is to serve as prime coenzymes for energy production and, also folate, B6, and B12 in particular, are critical for proper methylation, a biochemical process that helps convert homocysteine into the amino acids methionine and cysteine and create methyl groups in the process. This process is vital for supporting cardiovascular and mental health, a healthy nervous system, regulating gene expression, detoxification functions, proper energy metabolism, as well as immune and nerve cell function. Additional intake of B vitamins is often needed by individuals with high levels of stress.

      Methylated B vitamins typically refer to methylcobalamin (methyl B12) and methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), which behave quite differently in the body than their ‘plain’ counterparts such as cyanocobalamin (cyano-B12) and folic acid. There are many people who have a genetic issue with the utilization of the cyanocobalamin or the folic acid and they typically do better when using the methylated forms of these nutrients.
      You may enjoy these posts and write-ups:

  3. 1
    Deborah Lynn Strafuss says:

    Recently, in the past year or two, I have slowly developed an intolerance toward good quality vitamin B complex. I first began to flush after taking Jarrow B-Right, which was a niacin flush, but then I developed a very irritated, dry bumpy itchy face breakout that took about 5 days to clear – ie, no vitamin B. I then researched and found Code B from Whole Foods, another food-based B complex, took that successfully for a while and then got an even worse breakout. At this point, I don’t know if it is something in my physiology or if I am causing a problem when I take the B with other supplements such as Bone UP, C, Nordic Omegas and my E’s. Does it not mix well with a natural ginger supplement, I take one of those too, or have I developed a problem? The B’s are very important to me because of all the Alzheimer’s in my family, so this latest development troubles me. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much. Love and blessings!

    • 1.1
      SAFM Team says:

      Thanks for your question. Alas, we aren’t able to entertain personal case inquiries here, as there could be many other factors involved in the increased sensitization of your body. What I will offer, however, two possibilities. (1) You may have more of a toxic load than you realize and promoting processing of toxins and increased methylation is creating transient inflammation in your body (the next time you try it, go way low’n’slow). (2) You may be a slow methylator and simply not do well with large supplementation of methyl groups as typically found in a high-quality B complex (get your homocysteine checked; if it’s below 5, I would focus here). (3) You may have an issue with the *form* of B-complex you are using. Contrary to popular myth, “food based” supplements are not necessarily better or the optimal choice for a unique person. These kinds of nutrients are almost always derived from yeast fermentation, and if a person has a sensitivity or allergy to yeast, this they will often be unable to tolerate (especially, as you describe, over time) ongoing intake. If you can, check your homocysteine. Then, I would encourage you to try again but with a synthetic B-complex e.g. Thorne’s “Basic B”. For the first 10 days, twist open the capsule, discard about half of the contents, reassemble, and take it with food only every other day. If you do well, move up to a half-cap every day for 10 days. Only then, consider a full cap once daily. Your personal experiment will likely give you some powerful clues! This is complex but may interest you: .

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