Omega-3s may help fight the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to a recent study from Iran. The research will be published in the June edition of Complementary Therapies In Medicine.

The estimates of how many women suffer from PMS are as wide-ranging as the number of ways to help ease the symptoms, which have been making women miserable since Eve got that rib. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that at least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom. Most of these women have fairly mild symptoms that don’t need treatment. Others (about 3 to 8 percent) have a more severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The authors of article report that in 2–10 percent of cases, PMS symptoms are severe enough to affect women's lifestyle and job.

Researchers at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences conducted a randomized, double blind, controlled trial with 184 women. One group received 2 g of omega-3 each day, the other group received a placebo. The scientists compared the severity and duration of symptoms one and half months and three months after they started treatment.

After 45 days, the mean severity of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating were “significantly lower” in the group of women who received omega-3 supplementation, according to the article. After three months, the mean severity of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, bloating, nervousness, headache and breast tenderness were lower for the women who took the fatty acids than for the women in the control group.

“It appears that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the psychiatric symptoms of PMS including depression, nervousness, anxiety and lack of concentration and may also reduce the somatic symptoms of PMS including bloating, headache and breast tenderness.,” writes article author Nahid Sohrabi. “These effects increased by longer duration of treatment.”