Since the launch of Elle Sera, I’ve been inundated with questions surrounding PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and PMDD premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Can the capsules help these conditions?
Will it alleviate the terrible side effects at the time of the month?
How would it support the reproductive system?
After diligent research we found Elle Sera is a safe, potent natural herbal supplement which may have a very positive effect on PMS and PMDD symptoms of those ladies that suffer with this debilitating condition.
But don’t just take my word for it, let me walk you through the evidence and explain how we came to these conclusions.
Firstly let me explain, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a particularly severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), a psychological, behavioural, and physical symptom that occurs during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and disappears by the onset of menstruation.
PMDD is classified as “depressive disorder not otherwise specified” and emphasises emotional and cognitive-behavioural symptoms.
Very importantly, in recent years, a new connection between PMS and inflammation has surfaced and a correlation between symptoms of PMS/PMDD and blood levels of several inflammatory markers have been discovered. (This is important to note as Elle Sera is a very powerful anti-inflammatory complex!)
The official diagnostic criteria for both PMS and PMDD require the presence of at least one moderate to severe affective symptom and functional impairment from the below symptoms list:
-Depressed mood or hopelessness
-Affective lability (sudden mood swings)
-Tension or anxiety
-Decrease interest in activities
-Change in sleep
-Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
-Lack of energy
–Other physical symptoms, e.g., breast tenderness, bloating
-Change in appetite, e.g., food cravings
The symptoms above in PMS/PMDD seriously interfere with work, social activities, relationships and are not an exacerbation of another disorder.
Results results show, that up to 90% of women of reproductive age experience several premenstrual symptoms varying from mild to severe; around 20–40% of them experience PMS, and 2–8% suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
While many have heard of PMS, not many have heard of PMDD and that’s because it straddles two areas which have historically carried stigma – mental health and menstruation. There is no doubt that this has held women back in looking for help and support.
As PMDD cannot be picked up by blood tests and often the severity of symptoms are doubted, diagnosis rates are low. Training is severely lacking for health professionals in this area and I hope with more discussion around the topic, this can improve.
When I spoke about this on instagram, one lady Rebecca messaged me and described the brutal reality of a life living with PMDD.
She said: “I had never suffered with it before. But two years after I had my son, it was the worst it has ever been.
“During ovulation and on my period, I felt like I wanted to die, I nearly got sectioned.
“And then as soon as I wasn't on or ovulating, I was my normal happy self.”
What is the cause of PMDD and how is it diagnosed?
According to the IAPMD: “In 2016, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that women with PMDD are more sensitive to the effects of sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, due to a molecular mechanism in their genes. Researchers compared white blood cells in women with PMDD and those without, which confirmed that it impacts a woman’s cellular response to sex hormones.”
Basically your hormones are normal (it is not an imbalance) but your body’s reaction to those fluctuations is abnormal. The fluctuations are the same as someone who does not have PMDD, but you have a sensitivity to those changes as they rise and fall.
So how can Elle Sera help?
I enlisted the services of my trusted health expert Barbara Usak, ANutr (Registered Associate Nutritionist) BSc Human Nutrition / PGDip Clinical & Public Health Nutrition.
We researched the 5 herbal ingredients in Elle Sera to find out if these can help and act as a beneficial herbal treatment for PMS/PMDD:
Maca Extract (10:1) (Lepidium Meyenii
Maca has been traditionally used in the Peruvian Andes for centuries as an adaptogen to address female hormonal imbalance and associated pathologies including menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms; it has also been shown has been shown to reduce anxiety in some studies, which one of the main symptoms associated with PMDD.
It was found by a systematic review that the compound ‘phytosterol’ that is present in Maca may help to regulate oestrogen and progesterone levels and subsequently aid in the alleviation of PMDD symptoms.
Overall, there is some very promising evidence out there to suggest that Maca is beneficial in the treatment of PMDD symptoms.
Tribulus Terrestris Extract (35:1) (Tribulus Terrestris)
Tribulus contains a wide range of phytochemical like flavonoids, steroids, estradiol and saponins that possess pharmacological activities and are useful for various health benefits such as anti-depressant activity.
It is thought that its anti-depressant activity is achieved by the alkaloid (harmine) present in Tribulus, which is an inhibitor of monoamine oxidase that helps to increase level of dopamine in the brain.
It was shown in a study that the regular use of Tribulus for several months often significantly decreases the intensity and occurrences of insomnia, general tenseness, irritability, depression, many of the debilitating symptoms of PMDD.
Overall, there is some good evidence to suggest that Tribulus may be beneficial in the lessening of PMDD symptoms.
Gingko Leaf (Gingko Biloba)
Ginkgo biloba is rich in flavonoid glycoside and terpene lactone and a published placebo-controlled trial on the efficacy of Ginkgo for the treatment of PMS was effective against the congestive symptoms of PMD.
Bioflavonoid, an active ingredient of Ginkgo, is known as a stress modulator which explains the efficacy of Ginkgo as an anxiolytic medicine alternative for PMS/PMDD.
Gingko biloba was also found in study to improve PMS symptoms, particularly breast tenderness and fluid retention.
Also, due to its ability to increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation, Ginkgo may have a positive effective and help reduce PMS/PMDD symptoms.
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo’s efficacy in the treatment of PMS and PMDD also concluded that Ginkgo can reduce the severity of PMS symptoms, so overall there is good evidence available to show that Ginkgo may have a positive effect on the treatment of PMDD symptoms.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
The main phytoactive ingredients in Siberian Ginseng are eleutherosides and ciwujianosides and these active components can provide protection against oxidative stress (among other benefits), contributing to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Siberian Ginseng is also used for stress management because of its calming effects and research has shown that it may help with some PMDD symptoms, such as mood symptoms and sleep disturbances, and with one's overall sense of well-being.
Siberian Ginseng has been also shown to increase serotonin levels and therefore it may be beneficial as a natural herbal alternative to the SSRI medications traditionally used to treat PMDD.
To sum it up, there is good evidence to suggest that Siberian Ginseng may have multiple beneficial effects on the easing of PMDD symptoms.
Beetroot (Beta Vulgaris)
Beetroot potential benefit in treating PMDD is coming from its bioactive pigments called ‘betalains’ that are known to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities and therefore may be valuable in easing PMDD symptoms.
There is some limited evidence to suggest that Beetroot may help alleviate PMDD by its anti-inflammatory effects.
Overall, Elle Sera is a safe, potent natural herbal supplement that may have a very positive effect on PMDD symptoms of those ladies that suffer with this debilitating condition.
1., A review of treatment of premenstrual syndrome & premenstrual dysphoric disorder - ScienceDirect
2., Diagnosis and Treatment of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - American Family Physician (aafp.org)
3., Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: systematic review | SpringerLink
4., A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (liebertpub.com)
5., Herbal treatments for alleviating premenstrual symptoms: a systematic review: Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology: Vol 32, No 1 (tandfonline.com)
6., Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho‐oncologic relevance - Yeung - 2018 - Phytotherapy Research - Wiley Online Library
8., Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review - ScienceDirect
9., Hormone Replacement Alternatives for Women | Ward Dean, MD
11., Herbals and Other Dietary Supplements for Premenstrual Syndrome and Menopause