Ladies, it’s time to bump magnesium up your priority list, and here’s why…
A while back I decided to embark on a month of “clean living.” Since I already live a relatively clean lifestyle, this concept was more of a “fine tuning” than total rehabilitation. I started by deleting caffeine and alcohol – not that I was consuming either excessively, but both of these are diuretics, causing an unnecessary loss of minerals and fluids. I also set up reminders for myself to ensure that I took my vitamins, bumped up my activity levels, and got adequate amounts of sleep. I lowered my sugar intake, ate more raw foods, and kicked up my “good fat” consumption.
One extra thing that I did was to make a conscious and consistent effort to really boost my magnesium levels through both topical and oral supplementation. Of course, one might assume, since I have magnesium literally at my fingertips, that I have no problem getting sufficient amounts. However, I’m only human and even I find myself needing to renew my habits now and again.
So why am I telling you this, you ask?
These efforts paid off in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. Twenty three days into my “clean living” I realized that almost all symptoms of PMS had disappeared. No mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, cravings… and the inevitable cramps were surprisingly mild.
I had just obtained the proverbial Holy Grail of womanhood. No PMS. *gasp!*
Magnesium Levels and Premenstrual Syndrome
Studies have revealed that women who suffer from premenstrual symptoms have significantly lower magnesium levels by comparison. This is a pretty significant discovery given the sheer amount of women suffering through PMS on a monthly basis.
If we take a step back and consider how critical magnesium is to virtually every process in the human body, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that deficiency can lead to such a painful and exhausting outcome for those who aren’t getting sufficient amounts.
In fact, magnesium deficiency has been linked to an impressive number of women’s health issues including preeclampsia, bone disorders, depression, cramping, low energy, migraines, and mood swings. Not surprisingly, magnesium has also been tied to hormone secretion and balance, which can severely impact our entire fertility cycle, including menstruation.
I’m sure that all of us have experienced the emotional roller coaster at one point or another – that uncomfortable mix of irritability and depression, with a dash of stress and hint of brain fog thrown in. Medical science has been aware for quite some time now that magnesium deficiency is associated with dysfunctions of the nervous system ̶ including those of the brain, such as mood disorders. Case in point, a 2006 study published in Medical Hypothesis entitled Rapid Recovery From Major Depression Using Magnesium Treatment stated:
Magnesium ions regulate calcium ion flow in neuronal calcium channels, helping to regulate neuronal nitric oxide production. In magnesium deficiency, neuronal requirements for magnesium may not be met, causing neuronal damage which could manifest as depression.”
But the benefits don’t stop there!
If you are one of many who frequently find themselves doubled over by agonizing cramps, it may interest you to know that research has also indicated that magnesium supplementation can help greatly reduce their severity. Another area where magnesium performs a complementary role to calcium is in our muscles, as magnesium is required for our muscles to relax, while calcium is needed for contraction. Cramping of any type, whether it be a women’s health issue, or simply one of our many muscles acting up, can benefit from magnesium as a natural muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory agent.
And to solidify magnesium’s place as the ultimate female essential, it’s also been proven to help with:
- Fluid retention
- Fatigue & low energy
- Muscle weakness
- Brain fog
- Cravings (deficiency-related)
Losing Your Magnesium
Women, I would say, statistically have the cards stacked against them when it comes to maintaining sufficient magnesium levels. Fluctuations in hormones, increased irritability and stress, pain, and the entire circus of symptoms that accompany our cycle are all factors that exacerbate already low levels of this crucial mineral.
Of course, as females, we also have to contend with those additional hurdles such as hormone-based birth control methods, calcium supplements for “strong bones,” and pregnancy & breastfeeding ̶ all of which cause an excessive loss of magnesium from the body.
But more than that, we as a society are having more and more difficulty achieving adequate magnesium levels as a whole. Low magnesium in our soil translates to low magnesium in our food… which adds a hurdle for even the most conscientious eaters. Then of course, processing further reduces magnesium levels.
And these are only a few of numerous components that may cause magnesium deficiency.
Getting More Magnesium
We all have varying lifestyles, health, genetics, diets, etc. So, it’s important to find a balance that works for you, rather than mimicking what works for someone else.
Personally, I boosted my own intake using a combination of magnesium sources. I focused on eating more magnesium-rich foods, and trying to cut down on foods and beverages that deplete my magnesium stores. I also added an oral magnesium citrate powder to my daily routine (Natural Calm), which I add to a large bottle of water and drink throughout the day.
And, of course, I use topical magnesium – which I increased in amount and frequency. The variety of applications allowed me the flexibility to apply magnesium comfortably throughout the day, such as rubbing magnesium lotion on my arms, or massaging a spray of magnesium oil into my neck (great for relieving those cricks in my neck from staring at a computer screen all day).
Do your research on the types of magnesium supplements available, to find the right combination that works for you.
And let’s not forget – chocolate is a great source of magnesium, as well.
So, what are your particular symptoms? What things tip you off that “that time of month” is fast approaching?
Taking calcium, and wondering what your calcium to magnesium ratio should be? Read our blog post!
As always, this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases or ailments, and is provided for information purposes only. Please consult with your physician if you are considering adding a magnesium supplement to your routine.