I absolutely LOVE dealing with period cramps every month — said no woman ever! Personally, I cramp pretty severely. They aren’t debilitating, stay-in-bed-all-day cramps, but they are uncomfortable, annoying, and totally distracting, especially if I have tennis.
I’m not a fan of taking medication; however, I will occasionally pop an OTC pain reliever for relief from painful cramps during that time of the month. One busy morning when I had no time to waste on annoying cramps, I headed straight to my medicine cabinet for a pain reliever. As I passed the kitchen counter, I spied the Gaia Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength bottle that I had purchased for my husband. (He has a long family history of heart disease, so being proactive is a must.)
Since period cramps are linked to inflammation, I figured I’d conduct a little experiment with the turmeric and use myself as the guinea pig. Surely the natural anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric would have the same effect… right? Worst-case scenario, my experiment wouldn’t work, and I’d simply go back to the OTC pain meds.
Skeptical but excited about possibly finding an all-natural treatment for my monthly malady, I took a double dose, which is nearly 1,000 mg. As a registered dietitian, I felt safe doing this because that amount wasn’t even close to what’s used in many clinical trials (it can be as much as 2,000 mg per day).
Fifteen minutes after taking the pills, my annoying cramps were history (herstory..?) I felt similar relief as when I took OTC medication, and it took less than half the time for the effects to kick in. There’s a bonus, too. Turmeric is considered a powerful antioxidant, so I get the added health benefits of combatting harmful oxidative stress. Sweeeet!
As it turns out, I’m not the first person to discover this natural remedy for menstrual cramp relief. One study evaluated the active compound found in turmeric and its effect on PMS symptoms (including period cramps). Women who took turmeric supplements daily starting seven days before menstruation and through the first three days of their period experienced significantly fewer symptoms.
The Gaia Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength supplements contain not only turmeric but also black pepper extract. This is important because black pepper helps the body absorb curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. Research shows that taking piperine, a compound found in black pepper increases curcumin absorbability by 2,000 percent.
Now I take the Gaia Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength supplements every month, starting a week before my period begins. To me, there is little to no downside in supplying my body with this natural herb. It’s easy enough to add to my diet, and I love the idea of having fewer PMS symptoms any month of the year!