If you are going to take one supplement then make it magnesium.
Listen up ladies, this magic mineral could be the answer to almost all your problems including PMS, PCOS, cramps, sleep issues, stress and anxiety.
“Magnesium is my go-to prescription for almost every woman’s health problem including PMS, period pain, PCOS, post-pill amenorrhea and perimenopause,” says Lara Briden, a naturopath and author of Period Repair Manual: Every Woman’s Guide to Better Periods.
Briden says magnesium is one of the best-studied natural treatments for pre-menstrual syndrome and has had good results in several clinical trials. “It works by reducing inflammation and stress hormones, thereby making the brain more resilient to the natural ups and downs of estrogen and progesterone,” Briden explains. “It may also help to enhance the calming action of progesterone on the nervous system.”
Briden says magnesium also improves insulin resistance, which is the metabolic condition associated with PCOS. In her new book, Briden explains PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects about 10 per cent of women and is characterised by excess male hormones. It can cause irregular periods, acne, excessive facial hair, weight gain, hair loss and infertility.
“A recent study of women with PCOS found that magnesium supplementation resulted in significantly enhanced insulin sensitivity after just 12 weeks. Better insulin sensitivity results in lower androgens (male hormones) and more regular periods,” she says.
Briden says magnesium can relieve premenstrual and perimenopausal mood symptoms within a matter of hours. “Its impact on insulin resistance and PCOS will take at least a few weeks,” she says. Magnesium is also beneficial for women experiencing perimenopause (the lead up to menopause which can begin as young as 35).
“In the same way that magnesium soothes the irritability of PMS, it can relieve the mood swings and sleep disturbance of perimenopause,” Briden says.“It works by boosting GABA which is the neurotransmitter that calms the brain. Magnesium also supports the healthy detoxification of estrogen socan help to smooth out the big estrogen spikes that occur in our forties.”
Post-menopause, magnesium is good for heart and bone health which means it can help to lower the risk of post-menopausal heart disease and osteoporosis. So if magnesium helps promote the excretion of excess estrogen, is it something all women should consider taking even if they don’t have PMS ,PCOS, perimenopause, high stress or other specific problems?
Briden says yes. “By promoting the healthy detoxification of estrogen, magnesium is one way to prevent the long-term outcomes of excess estrogen such as fibroids, adenomyosis and heavy periods,” she says. “Other ways to reduce estrogen include cutting back on alcohol and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.”
It’s also worth noting one study quoted in the British Medical Journal found that 10 out of 11 apparently healthy women are magnesium deficient. Most cases of magnesium deficiency are undiagnosed and most people in developed countries are not consuming anything close to the recommended daily intake of 300 mg.
Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, nuts and dark chocolate (craving chocolate can be a sign of magnesium deficiency). However, Briden says it is not easy to obtain enough magnesium from modern processed foods. Plus, our soils are also magnesium depleted.
To make matters worse, magnesium is depleted from the body during stress. If you are going through a stressful time, magnesium supplements may help by boosting GABA and regulating the body’s stress response system by preventing the release of too much of the stress hormone cortisol.
In turn, reducing stress has positive effects on your menstrual cycle, hormonal health and PMS. “By reducing stress, you can encourage regular ovulation and the release of progesterone, which leads to lighter, more regular periods,” Briden says.
Beyond female troubles, magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential functions in the human body. It helps regulates muscle contraction, assists sleep, regulates blood pressure and improves heart health, lowers inflammation, calms your nervous system, boosts mood, improves bone density and helps regulate blood sugar. So it may be worth encouraging your partner to take it too.
Briden recommends taking magnesium glycinate in powder or tablet form because it’s the most absorbable form. “It also provides the amino acid glycine, which has its own beneficial effects on the nervous system and insulin sensitivity,” she says. “My motto: If you take one supplement, let it be magnesium. For PMS, magnesium works particularly well when combined with vitamin B6.”
Do topical applications of magnesium oil – or regular baths in Epsom salts also help us get our magnesium dosage up? “There is some evidence that topical applications can deliver a reasonable dose of magnesium,” Briden says. “It’s not my method of choice, but topical is an option for anyone who cannot tolerate oral magnesium due to digestive problems.”
She says poorly absorbable forms such as such as magnesium oxide can cause diarrhea due to its osmotic effect (drawing water into the bowel). And magnesium supplements should be avoided by anyone with kidney disease. “It doesn’t harm the kidneys but pre-existing kidney disease can impair the normal clearance of magnesium,” Briden says.
Taken from Vogue Australia. Read the original here.
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