Oh, to be a woman. We are blessed with goddess energy and are also capable of being strong and muscular while holding onto our femininity. But with our female distinction we also have hormonal fluctuations which can wreak havoc on our health and our moods. It can be a tricky thing to keep estrogen and progesterone levels balanced consistently, especially for those of us who compete. Estrogen imbalance can also bring about early menopause, premenstrual symptoms, menstrual irregularities, and skin issues.
Women who practice a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management have the best chance of keeping their hormones in balance throughout their cycles. Overly processed foods, especially refined sugars, should be avoided. Strength training is also an excellent way of regulating estrogen levels in the body. However, I realize that the majority of you who are reading this are already on board with clean eating and weight training, but may still struggle with mood swings, food cravings, menstrual irregularities, and menstrual cramps.
Here are some tips on how to combat mood swings and food cravings which may emerge each month. These supplements will not affect contest prep, and may actually equip you with the best chance of staying on track even during THAT time of the month.
MOOD SWINGS: I am a big fan of the B vitamins because they are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, I make sure that all of my patients who suffer from depression and anxiety take a B-complex supplement to regulate their mood. It is also a good idea to take magnesium glycinate to restore the magnesium that is depleted during times of stress. Start with 250 milligrams daily, then increase to three times daily with meals. If you get drowsy or have frequent bowel movements, decrease your dose down to once or twice per day.
FOOD CRAVINGS: One of the reasons why women tend to crave chocolate around that special time of the month is because they are often deficient in magnesium, which is found in high amounts in chocolate. For this reason, I suggest taking magnesium glycinate(as stated before) to normalize magnesium levels in the body. Dosage parameters are the same, but if you prefer, you can take magnesium for two weeks at a time, starting a week before your period and ending a week after you get your period.
Another great supplement to take for food cravings is alpha lipoic acid. Take 100 milligrams three times daily. If you really get slugged with strong food cravings before flow visits, add chromium picolinate (200 micrograms three times daily) and vanadyl sulfate (10 milligrams three times daily) to your regimen.