Many women seek out natural remedies to help treat their menopause symptoms. Magnesium has become a popular natural remedy that women use to treat some of the unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. If you are struggling with sleep, mood instability, and gastrointestinal issues, magnesium may be helpful. Magnesium has been labeled as one of the most versatile and beneficial dietary supplements that support your overall health
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body and on the planet. It is the fourth most abundant cation in your body and is the seventh most abundant element found in the earth’s crust. The majority of magnesium is stored in your bones and muscles. The remainder is found in your soft tissues and fluids (such as blood). This important mineral plays a significant role in your physical and mental health. Magnesium benefits include:
- Creating over 600 different chemical reactions in your body that help with energy production, protein formation, gene regulation, muscle movement, and nervous system pathways.
- Enhancing physical performance
- Lowering blood pressure
- Warding off depression and anxiety
- Reducing chronic inflammation
- Fighting off and preventing migraines
- Combatting Type II diabetes and insulin resistance
- Improving symptoms of PMS
Magnesium is widely available in various food sources. Also, many people use supplemental magnesium for insomnia, depression, anxiety, constipation, and heartburn to effectively manage these conditions.
What is magnesium deficiency?
Over 50% of people in the United States do not get enough magnesium in their diet. Women are particularly at risk for magnesium deficiency, especially postmenopausal women. Because of the prevalence of osteoporosis after menopause, reduced bone density leads to a decrease in magnesium in around 84% of postmenopausal women. People who are obese and have chronic health conditions are also at greater risk for magnesium deficiency. Signs of magnesium deficiency include:
- Aches, pains, and muscle cramps
- Mood instability
- Heart irregularity
- Muscle twitches and spasms
- Disruptions in cognitive processes including brain fog and memory problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal upset including constipation
- Low appetite
There are many factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency. For example, the standard American diet is high in processed and refined foods. Additionally, our food crops have decreased in magnesium content with modern agricultural practices, making it harder to get magnesium through our diet naturally. Furthermore, the increase of chronic diseases and medication usage has added to the rise in magnesium deficiency.
Will magnesium help with perimenopause?
Many women find supplemental magnesium significantly improves multiple symptoms of perimenopause, especially sleep and mood instability. Studies have found that taking oral magnesium improves mood changes associated with the hormonal fluctuations of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Coupled with studies and anecdotal evidence, there is support for magnesium relieving some aggravating symptoms in perimenopause. Perimenopause symptoms that may improve with magnesium include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Insomnia and sleep disturbance
- Mood irregularity
- Mild to moderate depression
- Mild to moderate anxiety
The Women’s Health Initiative found that increasing your magnesium intake can maintain bone density. Furthermore, higher levels of serum magnesium are linked to greater bone density levels in both women and men. Increasing your magnesium intake can reduce your risk for osteoporosis, as well as heart-related conditions that can arise in postmenopausal women.
What type of magnesium is best for menopause?
One of the best ways to increase your serum magnesium levels is to incorporate foods rich in magnesium in your diet. Foods rich in magnesium are usually high in fiber. Here are just a few examples of foods high in magnesium:
- Legumes (chickpeas, beans, etc.)
- Leafy Greens
- Whole grains
- Certain types of fatty fish
Many women also incorporate a magnesium supplement to boost their levels, especially when they are treating a symptom. Magnesium supplements can come in many forms, which can make it difficult to select the right supplement for you. Additionally, magnesium supplements are generally considered safe for most people to try though supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Look for a magnesium supplement that goes through third-party testing through groups such as NSF International or ConsumerLab.
While it is important to increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods, you also need to consider improving your ability to absorb magnesium in your gut. To increase magnesium absorption,
- Eat your vegetables raw instead of cooking them to keep the nutrients in your food
- Avoid eating calcium-rich foods two hours before or after eating foods with magnesium as calcium can interfere with magnesium absorption
- Quit smoking
- Avoid high doses of zinc as it also can interfere with magnesium absorption
- Treat your vitamin D deficiency if you have one. Vitamin D aids in magnesium absorption in bones.
Magnesium can be beneficial in treating perimenopause and menopause symptoms. Indeed, this important mineral is necessary for your overall health and wellbeing. Before adding any supplement, it is always good to check with a medical provider.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.