Magnesium – your best friend during menopause
Heart disease. Diabetes. Insomnia. Bone Loss.
Women in menopause face all these debilitating and sometimes deadly conditions. Understanding the importance of minerals and assuring their healthy levels, is an important part of maintaining optimal health in this stage of life.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is utilized by more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, blood glucose control, and blood pressure and is one of the seven essential macro minerals (along with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur).
This important mineral is required for energy production, structural development of the bones and plays a role in the transport of calcium and potassium across membranes (a process important to nerve impulse conduction). It also controls muscle contraction and helps to maintain a normal heart rhythm.
Women should aim for at least 100 milligrams of these minerals per day to prevent deficiencies typically caused by poor food and soil quality, high sugar intake and elevated stress levels.
An adequate intake can help prevent problems with bones, the cardiovascular system and prevent onset of diabetes.
Benefits of Magnesium for Menopause Symptoms
Let’s take a look at how magnesium can influence your menopause symptoms:
1. Bone Health
Magnesium is important for bone formation. When estrogen decreases, bone density also decreases – up to 10% – putting women at risk for fractures.
Magnesium helps assimilate calcium into the bone, improving density and plays a role in preventing osteoporosis.
Menopause can impact sleep patterns. Sleep loss or insomnia can decrease magnesium levels.
A spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, noted that magnesium can help relax muscles which leads to better sleep .
Magnesium binds to a special neurotransmitter called GABA, which is an active ingredient in many sleeping pills.
Studies have shown that magnesium deficiencies and disruptions to its normal processing, contribute to numerous mental health problems, including anxiety
Anxiety is defined as fear or nervousness in anticipation of non-specific factors (in comparison to stress that is usually caused by external factors) and its effects range from a mild annoyance to crippling the ability to manage everyday life. Those suffering from anxiety experience restlessness, irritability and panic disorder.
This important mineral’s most important attributes are its calming and relaxing effects.
An added bonus, is magnesium’s benefit in protecting the arteries and heart, which can be impacted by the symptoms of anxiety.
4. Heart Attack and Stroke
The risk of heart disease for women increases after menopause.
Low magnesium levels are associated with arterial health issues and can increase the risk for atherosclerosis (a fatty buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries), hypertension or high blood pressure.
5. Migraine Headaches
Small studies suggest that magnesium therapy may help prevent or relieve headaches. Apply magnesium oil on the forehead and temples during a migraine to help ease symptoms.
6. Calcium Absorption
Calcium is an essential mineral during menopause and has been a recommended supplement to help in the prevention of osteoporosis (plant-based sources are best). It also fights muscle cramping during menstruation as well as during menopause.
Yet, calcium alone is not enough. Without magnesium, calcium may be not fully utilized, and under absorption can lead to arthritis, osteoporosis and premenstrual symptoms.
Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, so magnesium status can also impact the risk of developing diabetes.
Results from large studies indicate that consumption of a diet rich in magnesium reduces risk of type 2 diabetes onset. Diabetics can present with magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium plays an important role not only in diabetes prevention, but also for those with the condition.
During peri menopause and menopause, digestive issues like constipation, weight gain, abdominal pain and bloating can occur.
The offender here is fluctuating hormones. A healthy ratio between estrogen and progesterone aids in regular elimination.
Imbalances slow progress of fecal matter in the colon and cause constipation. Estrogen decreases during menopause also impact tissue moisture or mucosa, both in the vagina and intestines.
When used as a dietary supplement in the 400mg range, magnesium can help overcome hard-to-treat constipation. Take the recommended dose in the evening with water before bed.
While magnesium supplements assure proper levels, eating magnesium rich foods provide you with additional nutrients.
Top 10 magnesium rich foods based on 1 cup (according to USDA):
- Rice bran – 922mg
- Pumpkin seed – 764mg
- Sesame seeds – 518mg
- Brazil nuts – 500 mg
- Almonds – 430 mg
- Cocoa – 429mg
- Cashew nuts – 356mg
- Walnuts – 185mg
- Spinach, cooked – 157 mg
- Swiss chard, cooked – 150mg
- Black beans – 120mg
- Avocado – 58mg
- Yoghurt of kefir – 46mg
- Banana – 32mg