Zinc is a trace element that is essential for our health. Some studies have also shown that it can help relieve period pain by preventing inflammation and promoting circulation. Our bodies don’t store zinc so we need to eat enough every day to meet our RDI, which is around 8mg. Foods rich in zinc are red meat such as beef, lamb and pork, with a 100g serving providing about 40% of our RDI. Oysters, with just 3 giving you all the zinc you need for the day and dairy products, with cheese being an especially good source. Plant-based options are nuts, seeds and whole grains, with hempseeds, cashews and quinoa being the richest sources. Another good source is dark chocolate! A 100g bar of 85% dark chocolate can give you a third of your zinc RDI, but given the high sugar content should still be considered a treat.

However, the RDI for zinc does not meet the amounts needed for preventing period pain. Studies have shown that up to 3 doses of 30mg of zinc, taken daily for the 4 days leading up to your period are needed to stop cramping, and are highly effective. As such, if you want to use zinc to help with your period pain, a supplement might be needed however, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider first.

Recommended dosage for relieving period pain:

30mg of zinc, taken 1-4 times per day, for the 4 days leading up to your period. It’s best to start with the single daily dose first and see if that is effective for you.

Safety issues:

If you’re using a supplement to increase your zinc intake you need to be cautious about other medications you’re taking. Zinc can interact with some antibiotics, making them ineffective, especially cephalexin. It can also effect the absorption of some drugs for arthritis. Large doses of zinc can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, which can be dangerous. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take more than 40mg of zinc per day. As always, it’s vital to chat to your healthcare provider about taking supplements to see if they are safe for you.