Could Your PMS Signal a Need for More Magnesium?
We dread our monthly cycles of hormonal changes, leading up to menstruation. Often times with the change in hormones, we begin to feel fatigued, moody, irritable, and lethargic. We may experience bloating, swelling, sore breasts, sleep disturbances, headaches, and increased sugar cravings. Prior to incorporating magnesium into my routine, I struggled with monthly mood swings, particularly feeling anxious and irritable on the days leading up to my period. One of the biggest things that helped me to regulate my moods and decrease symptoms, was adding topical magnesium to my routine, particularly around PMS time, when everything gets tender and sore.
After ovulation, we enter the luteal phase, or second half of our cycle. This is where our hormone levels begin to change dramatically, and the dreaded premenstrual syndrome (PMS) kicks into action. Estrogen helps make serotonin (the feel good chemical). And when estrogen drops before our period, serotonin levels drop as well. Due to decreased levels of serotonin, we tend to feel moody and irritable.
Many women in our modern society are deficient in magnesium due to low dietary intake, depleted magnesium in our soil, modern stressors (stress depletes magnesium), carbonated beverages and coffee consumption, and a high processed food, nutrient poor diet. Serum magnesium levels tend to be low when there is a severe deficiency. However, these researchers found that serum magnesium diminished significantly in the premenstrual week.
Magnesium’s uses are wide-reaching, affecting many areas of women’s health and gynecology from pre-menstrual syndrome to menopause, PCOS to endometriosis, and beyond. Craving chocolate around PMS time? Chocolate is high in magnesium, and our requirements for magnesium increase as we approach menstruation. Women have already have a lower dietary intake of magnesium than men do, and yet we need magnesium for our hormonal health.
A growing amount of evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may play an important role in PMS. By increasing levels of magnesium, we decrease PMS symptoms. Many women (myself included) are finding relief with magnesium supplementation. However, the underlying mechanism is still yet to be fully understood. With that said, we do know that magnesium lowers anxiety and prevents insomnia, and also acts as a diuretic to help with swollen breasts and abdomen.
Magnesium is also involved in hormone regulation.
Researchers hypothesize that magnesium influences different ion levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body, and this may be why it helps with PMS, and bloating. More stabilized hormones means increased serotonin, and a better overall mood. A significant reduction of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms (nervous tension, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety) has been noted with magnesium supplementation.
Can topical magnesium help?
Topical magnesium helped significantly with my cramping, sore breasts, anxiety, sleep, and overall mood changes during PMS. Topical magnesium bypasses the need to be digested. For many of us struggling with digestive health issues, taking a supplement internally does not guarantee we are getting the nutrients from it. Topically, we are able to increase our magnesium levels, and start to feel better fast! When I approach my monthly cycle, my sleep becomes more disrupted. I use magnesium lotion on my breasts, lower abdomen, and inner thighs right before bed. It helps me with breast tenderness, cramping, and sleep latency. As my period approaches, and abdominal cramping become stronger, I find magnesium chloride bath soaks help tremendously with all over body aches and cramping.
About the Author:
Kathryn is a functional nutritional therapist, author, editor, and mama of two boys. She enjoys spending her free time out in nature-hiking and fishing. You can find her at www.primalmusings.com and her book “Forties on Fire” can be found on Amazon.