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How Does Vitamin B3 Help Women During PMS?

Written by
Dr. Vidhi Hareshbhai Talati
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Feb 05, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  4 min read



There are thousands of women all around the world who are suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and looking for appropriate treatment. This article explains the role and exact dosage of vitamin B3 in PMS.

How Does Vitamin B3 Help Women During PMS?

Some researches show that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occurs due to some mineral and vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B3 is also referred as niacin and also as nicotinic acid. Metabolism is primarily regulated by vitamin B3. It also helps to maintain sex and stress hormones.

PMS means premenstrual syndrome. It is the symptoms that appear before periods or menstruation in women. PMS consists of various types of symptoms such as mood changes, breast enlargement and tenderness (even mild touch may induce pain in the breasts), craving for certain types of food, body weakness, bloating, headache, acne, fatigue, irritability, tension and depression. Every 8 women out of 10 women experience premenstrual syndrome once in their life. Peak time of PMS is in the early 20s and continues till 30 years of age. The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but according to researches hormonal changes may be responsible for these symptoms prior to menstruation.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome:

There are many emotional and physical symptoms present before menstruation. Women may feel depressing mood and become aggressive in nature. Tension and anxiety may become obvious during these days. Appetite or hunger changes may become obvious. Insomnia (difficulties during sleep or absence of sleep) is also present. Poor concentration in work and studies is also present. Social withdrawal may hamper the woman’s social life.

There are many signs and symptoms associated with PMS. They are divided into physical and emotional symptoms.

1) Physical symptoms are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, breast enlargement, clumsiness, fatigue, weakness, headache (severe), muscle pain and increased hunger. Acne vulgaris, skin itching and eczema are the skin manifestations present during PMS. Joint pain and weight gain due to fluid retention are also present. Constipation or diarrhea is present with abdominal discomfort. Lower abdominal pain is also present. A woman may find different varieties of these symptoms at each cycle.

2) Emotional symptoms are depression, tension, anxiety, loss of concentration, loss of focus in any work, irritability, motivational loss, etc.

Symptoms vary from cycle to cycle and woman to woman.

Role of Vitamin B3 in PMS:

  • Serotonin is a hormone which maintains mood swing, tension and depression. Serotonin is referred to as "feel good" neurotransmitter for mental health.
  • Vitamin B3 is responsible for production of serotonin. Without vitamin B3, tryptophan does not convert into serotonin and patient suffers from aggression and other psychological symptoms.
  • If a woman has deficiency of vitamin B3, she would have symptoms of neurological system. A woman may feel tired, aggressive and become irritable.
  • Niacin also has important characteristics such as, conversion of glucose into energy directly, reduction of sugar in blood providing maximum energy. So, niacin also reduces symptoms such as tiredness. Niacin converts carbohydrate into power and helps to prevent fatigue.
  • Niacin also reduces the menstrual cramps due to abdominal or pelvic muscle spasm. It also relieves the severe headache during premenstrual period.
  • During PMS, adrenal gland works under so much stress. In addition, there is also low level of cortisol production. Cortisol is the main hormone which maintains the normal health of mental system. So, it is mainly treated with niacin.

Food Supplements Containing Vitamin B3:

  • Corn is very beneficial for the treatment of PMS because it is rich in niacin.
  • There are many other food supplements available in the market containing vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is available mainly from cow's milk, eggs, white flour, peanuts, various fruits, different types of vegetables, meat, beef, pork, fish and fish products, yeast and yeast products, various types of breakfast cereals, etc.
  • It is available as alone or with the combination of other vitamins such as vitamin B complex including riboflavin, folic acid, pyridoxine, etc.


As per food and drug administration, daily requirement of vitamin B3 is 17 mg in men and 13 mg in women. Additional 3 mg is necessary for breastfeeding women. One research of European Union has proved that recommended daily administration is 18 mg per day for both men and women.

Side Effects of Vitamin B3:

Medical supervision is essential to avoid many side effects.

  • Intake of vitamin B3 if more than normal dose causes many adverse effects such as uncomfortable skin flushes. The most common sites are around lower face and neck.
  • If person takes more than 100 mg, it causes severe side effects. Very high dose such as more than 3000 mg may damage the liver tissues permanently.
  • Gouty arthritis and gouty attack is a common side effect with high dose of nicotinic acid. Gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea and vomiting are also common features. Burning sensation and allergies are also present with high dose.
  • One more side effect of niacin is that it produces profound vasodilatation. Vasodilatation means dilatation of blood vessels. It causes flushing of face or extremities and abnormal skin tingling sensations.
  • There are many forms available for prescribing niacin. Most common is the tablet form. It is coated with a thin film which delays the release of vitamin B3 in blood. It takes about 8 to 12 hours for release in blood. It has one beneficial effect i.e, extended release tablets eliminate the problem of vasodilatation. But one draw back is that it causes toxicity in liver with prolonged use. It is also available with the combination of laropiprant which decreases the side effects such as flushing and vasodilatation.


If a person takes niacin more than 1.5 to 6 g, it produces various side effects. Itching, dry skin, skin rashes and eczema are produced by high dose of niacin. Gastrointestinal complications such as nausea, vomiting, improper digestion, toxicity of liver etc., are also present. Many patients found some rare symptoms such as altered cardiac rhythm, abnormal increase in level of glucose and birth defects.

Are you suffering from premenstrual syndrome? Consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online for appropriate treatment -->


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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  4 min read




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