Magnesium for Moms - From Menstruation to Menopause

by Sarah Clachar, Health Writer

Magnesium for Moms - From Menstruation to Menopause

 This month we celebrate motherhood. The work mothers do in raising children – nurturing, disciplining, exercising endless patience, or sharing in the excitement of each success small and large – is invaluable.

But the contributions mothers make are also physical. Our bodies do enormous work preparing for pregnancy, building new life inside of us, and then helping it get out into the world. And to do this tremendous job, our bodies need specific nutrients. One of them is magnesium. Says practicing naturopathic doctor Kris Somol, ND, "Magnesium has worked wonders with many gynecological complaints I have encountered."1

PMS - The Hormonal Link

You probably already know too well the outward effects of the hormonal swings our bodies go through every month – moodiness, cravings, headaches, and irritability. Well, these rude reminders that earn menstruation the nickname "the curse," can indicate hormone-induced nutrient depletions inside the body.

According to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, estrogen, and progesterone, the hormones that ebb and flow with our monthly cycle, affect the levels of magnesium in our bodies.2 High levels of estrogen and progesterone are linked to significant drops in magnesium levels – as much as a 30% decrease.3 One reason for this magnesium depletion as Dr. Somol explains is that magnesium is also necessary for the metabolism or breakdown of estrogen. The more estrogen, the more magnesium used up to break it down.4

And these two hormones peak right around that dreaded premenstrual syndrome (PMS) time, resulting in especially low magnesium levels.

So this explains quite a few things. How about pre-menstrual chocolate cravings? Ounce for ounce chocolate is probably one of the more magnesium-rich foods.5 Yearning for the dark stuff is our body writing its prescription. Some women also develop a yen for dark leafy greens at this time, another food rich in magnesium.6

Headaches, Moodiness, and Cramps

 If headaches – even migraines – plague you right before your period, low magnesium levels may also be to blame. Statistically, more of these sled-hammer headaches hit women right before menstruation. With hormone levels high, magnesium levels drop in the smooth muscle cells surrounding the blood vessels in your brain. Without adequate magnesium, these muscles spasm and cramp, restricting the flow of blood, causing premenstrual migraines or even increasing the risk for a stroke.7

Even pre-menstrual moodiness may be linked to low magnesium levels, according to one small double-blind placebo-controlled trial conducted in Italy.8 Additionally, magnesium is essential for helping your body make use of another natural mood-buster, omega-3 fatty acids.9

Finally, magnesium continues to provide relief during menstruation when cramps hit. Explains Dr. Somol, "[Magnesium] is essential in the process of muscle relaxation after a contraction. This is why it is useful for menstrual cramps," as well as prenatal leg cramps and labor.10

Magnesium for a Healthy Pregnancy

 Unquestionably, adequate magnesium is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Clinical trials have shown that mothers who take magnesium supplements have healthier babies and fewer pregnancy problems.11 

Good For Motherhood And Beyond

Menstruation and pregnancy mark the active phase of our reproductive lives. Yet even with menopause, magnesium can help ease the transition. Dr. Somol uses it frequently to help with hot flashes.15 

To get your magnesium, Dr. Somol recommends eating lots of leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and drinking hard water. Yet with magnesium-depleted soils, these foods may have less than we need. For that reason, magnesium supplementation may be necessary. Says Dr. Somol, "I have used magnesium supplementation with many patients," listing a lengthy number of health issues women face – from gynecological complaints to cardiovascular issues. She notes, "There are many times when magnesium has been sufficient to correct certain symptoms."16

So honor your womanly body – at whatever stage – and care for it. Inside magnesium's simple mineral package lies health benefits equal to at least a dozen hand-picked bouquets and several Mother's Day brunches. 

Jigsaw Magnesium w/SRT is an easy and effective way to get the magnesium the female body craves.

Cited Sources

  1. Personal interview Kris Somol 4/21/09
  2. Muneyvirci-Delale O. et al. Sex Steroid Hormones Modulate Serum Ionized Magnesium and Calcium Levels Throughout The Menstrual Cycle in Women." Fertility and Sterility. 1998 May;69(5):958-62
  3. Muneyvirci-Delale et al.
  4. Somol interview.
  5. Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle. Ballantine, New York. 2007, p. 136.
  6. Somol interview.
  7. Dean, p. 134.
  8. Facchinetti F. et al. Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1991 Aug;78(2):177-81.
  9. Dean, p. 137.
  10. Somol interview.
  11. Dean, p. 142.
  12. Dean, p. 141.
  13. Smyth, RM et al. Magpie Trial in the UK: Methods and additional data for women and children at 2 years following pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2009 April 14; 9(1): 15. and Magpie Trial Coordinating Center. The Magpie Trial follow up study: outcome after discharge from hospital for women and children recruited to a trial comparing magnesium sulphate with placebo for pre-eclampsia. BMC Pregnancy And Childbirth. 2004 March 8; 4(1):5.
  14. Doyle LW, et al. Magnesium sulphate for women at risk of preterm birth for neuroprotection of the fetus. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2009 Jan 21; (1)
  15. Somol interview.
  16. Somol interview.
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