Objective: This exploratory study was designed to determine whether dietary calcium and manganese affect menstrual symptoms in healthy women.
Study design: Ten women with normal menstrual cycles completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire each cycle during a 169-day, live-in metabolic study of calcium and manganese nutrition. Women were assigned in a double-blind, Latin-square manner to each of four 39-day dietary periods: 587 or 1336 mg calcium per day with 1.0 or 5.6 mg manganese per day. Responses were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Results: Increasing calcium intake reduced mood, concentration, and behavior symptoms generally (p < or = 0.05), reduced pain during the menstrual phase of the cycle (p = 0.034), and reduced water retention during the premenstrual phase (p = 0.041). In spite of increasing calcium intake, lower dietary manganese increased mood and pain symptoms during the premenstrual phase (p < or = 0.05).
Conclusion: Dietary calcium and manganese may have a functional role in the manifestation of symptomatology typically associated with menstrual distress.