Vitamin E for Menstrual Health
Vitamin E is best known as an antioxidant, but it also offers health benefits to women who suffer from menstrual cramps and other problems.
Several studies have shown that girls and young women who take vitamin e supplements in the days leading up to their periods report lower levels and shorter duration of menstrual pain.
It is believed that vitamin E inhibits production of prostaglandins, natural hormones that cause the uterus to contract in order to expel the menstrual lining during menstruation. Excess levels of prostaglandins are believed to be one of the most common causes of primary dysmenorrhea, the medical form for the most common type of menstrual cramps. (Secondary dysmenorrhea, the other kind, is caused by another condition, such as endometriosis.)
Other Health Benefits of Vitamin E
As mentioned above, vitamin E is a well known antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals within the body and promote general health and well being. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants is associated with lower risks of cancer and heart disease and improved immune system function. Antioxidants also have anti-aging properties.
Vitamin E also has an anti-inflammatory effect that may be beneficial for women suffering from cramps, joint pain, arthritis, and other conditions.
Finally, it protects the skin against damage by the sun, and is even available as a topical cream to use instead of sunscreens.
Sources of Vitamin E
The best sources of vitamin E include:
- leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale
- seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds and almonds
- bell peppers
- olives, and olive oil
Vitamin E supplements are also available; however, I recommend increasing dietary consumption because it is harder to overdose.
Do you suffer from menstrual cramps? Learn how a healthy diet can help relieve your cramps in 20 Ways To Relieve Menstrual Cramps.