Ingredient shows promise in PMS relief: Study

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags pms oxaloacetate Vitamin c women's health

A recent peer-reviewed clinical trial revealed that an over-the-counter nutritional supplement containing oxaloacetate (OAA) and vitamin C significantly relieved PMS symptoms.

Oxaloacetate is an energy metabolite found in every cell of the human body. It is critical to human metabolism, proper cellular function and it is central to energy production. Oxalacetic acid can be found in various foods such as daikon radish, sacred lotus, some species of squash and tarragon. 

The study 

The research, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Science​, found that the OAA product, which is marketed as Jubilance, was shown to improve PMS anxiety and gloominess by more than 50%.

Lisa Tully, PhD, headed the randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, which included 48 women experiencing PMS. Tully focused on four core mood symptoms associated with PMS: anxiety, irritability, stress and gloomy mood.

The participants completed a baseline survey consisting of Beck's Depression Inventory, Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Test, and Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire. After baseline measurements, participants were randomly assigned to take either 2 capsules of 100 mg oxaloacetate/150 mg ascorbic acid, or 2 capsules of rice flour (placebo) for their entire menstrual cycle. 

At the time of menstruation, the participants completed the four surveys again. The women then switched capsules in a cross-over design and continued the study for an additional menstrual cycle. The final assessment was repeated at menstruation. Statistical analysis of the four surveys was also performed to examine efficacy.

The research found that on average, 30 days of daily intake Jubilance supplementation significantly reduced the four symptoms when compared to the placebo group. 

The numbers

  • 51% reduction in PMS-related anxiety
  • 54% reduction in PMS-related gloomy mood
  • 36% reduction in PMS-related stress
  • 18% reduction in PMS-related irritability

The authors conclude that oxaloacetate/vitamin C supplementation during PMS significantly improved depression, perceived stress, anxiety, aggression, and suicidal ideation. 

“The mean improvement in depression was 54.1%, 35.8% for perceived stress, 51.43% for generalized anxiety, and 17.8% for aggression. Suicidal ideation was reduced by 47.9%. All results were highly significant.”

The research team said they were pleasantly surprised by the results. "This magnitude of improvement, across this range of symptoms, is highly significant. To see these results with a single dietary supplement alone, especially one that is so accessible and doesn't carry the side effects of the pharmaceuticals routinely prescribed for PMS, is very exciting.”

Tully added that this finding could be a game changer for millions of women experiencing PMS. "The significance of symptom relief without hormone disruption or altering serotonin activity, like an SSRI, evolves our understanding of the root cause of PMS mood symptoms and may provide patients an additional treatment option."

Oxaloacetate supports proper glucose regulation

Studies have shown that the cerebellum, a part of the brain implicated in mood regulation, requires more glucose during PMS. The research team theorized that Jubilance relieves these PMS-related mood symptoms by improving glucose metabolism in the brain and body. 

"This mechanism would explain why a hallmark of PMS is a craving for high-sugar and high-fat foods," explained Tully. "It also explains why so many women experience temporary relief from these foods, but symptoms return after the sugar crash."

"This important finding, to be able to reduce the severity of mood symptoms, is exciting for doctors and women sick of dealing with the monthly struggle. The magnitude of relief here is on par or greater than what is seen in typical prescription drug interventions for PMS mood symptoms, but is more accessible and doesn't require disruption of the body's natural hormone cycling,"​ added Tully.

In response to the clinical trial results, the FDA has allowed Jubilance to include the structure/function claim of "Oxaloacetate may help alleviate the mild to moderate psychological and/or behavioral symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)."


Source: Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Science

2020;63(2):195‐204. doi:10.5468/ogs.2020.63.2.195

“Oxaloacetate reduces emotional symptoms in premenstrual syndrome (PMS): results of a placebo-controlled, cross-over clinical trial”

Authors: L. Tully et al.

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