Every woman comes to a period when menstruation permanently ceases. Menopause is a natural process, yet a terrifying adventure for most women due to its associated physiological and psychological responses.
Hormone therapy has been the first-line treatment for managing menopausal symptoms. However, most women are reluctant to try hormonal replacement and find relief to resorting to conservative measures and the use of supplements like Magnesium.
Is Magnesium Use in Menopause Scientifically-Backed?
As we age, the capacity of the human body to absorb magnesium decreased by 30%. Women as early as 40 years old undergo estrogen decline contributing to menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, and painful sex. Among these menopausal symptoms, 75% of women experience hot flashes.
Research shows that magnesium supplements improve hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The two pilot studies published in Menopause New York revealed that intake of up to 1200 mg of magnesium daily results in a decrease in hot flash episodes.
The link between magnesium and menopausal symptoms relief is not clearly defined, yet existing studies interpret that Mg intake calms down the vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.
What are the Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body and the 8th most common element on Earth. It plays a role in cellular functions, energy metabolism, maintenance of antioxidant levels in cells, bone mineralization, regulation of muscle and nerve functions, Vitamin D synthesis, and preservation of normal cardiac functions.
Magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesemia occurs as a result of low magnesium consumption, increased intestinal absorption, or rapid excretion of the mineral through the kidneys. People who have low magnesium levels in the blood experience muscle cramps, weakness, low-stress tolerance, irritability, muscle spasms, and migraine. As the deficiency progresses, it may lead to osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, depression, psychosis, arrhythmia, and cardiovascular complications.
How Magnesium Benefits Women in Menopause?
The decline in estrogen associated with menopause does not only delimit women in their reproductive capacity. It also negatively impacts the normal physiologic processes affecting the heart, bones, gut, sleep, and emotions.
- Magnesium can reduce blood pressure. Magnesium helps maintain heart rhythm and blood pressure levels. In a clinical finding released by the Nutrients, people with increased consumption of magnesium supplement from 150 to 400 mg have greatly lessened the risk of cardiovascular problems such as stroke and coronary heart disease.
- Magnesium keeps bones strong. Magnesium works synergistically with Vitamin D. The body needs magnesium to convert Vitamin D to its active form, which consequently increases calcium absorption into the bones. As a result, they remain sturdy and prevent bones from breaking down during mid-life.
- Magnesium can combat menopausal insomnia and low mood. Menopausal symptoms are associated with vasomotor instability as a result of the imbalance in serotonin and norepinephrine levels. Aside from its vasoactive and neuroactive effects, magnesium has a serotonergic property that contributes to mood regulation and depression.
- Magnesium can help relieve constipation. Magnesium is commonly used as an active laxative ingredient. Due to the rapid shift in hormones during menopause, women suffer from irregular bowel movements like constipation. Magnesium is a natural osmotic laxative that draws water from nearby tissues to soften and provide bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass.
Consult with your doctor
Most women don’t talk to the GP about menopause. Women should not feel embarrassed and powerlessly speaking to their doctors about their symptoms. Not consulting a doctor could delay the diagnosis and management of menopause.
It may also result in symptoms turning worse than expected. Women should increase their awareness about menopause and not suffer its consequences in silence. There are sources of information available to raise awareness and support women during the transition.
How to Obtain Magnesium Naturally?
Besides magnesium supplementation, there are natural strategies menopausal women can do to improve their symptoms.
- Formulate the best diet plan. Magnesium can be found in naturally-grown food. Soy, black beans, bananas, broccoli, seeds, nuts, oatmeal, green vegetables, whole grains, sweet corn, and tofu have a high percentage of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are substances containing estrogenic properties that ease symptoms of menopause including its long-term effects.
Also, steer clear from junk and processed foods. Ultra-processed food products have a lowered level of magnesium. Avoid overboiling or overcooking food too. High temperatures can deplete the mineral content in vegetables.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle. Minimize the loss of magnesium in the body by limiting the consumption of alcohol, sugary drinks, and caffeine. Also, get plenty of sleep and rest. Moreover, avoid smoking as this likely aggravates menopausal symptoms and increases the likelihood of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.
- Use botanicals. Several plants have estrogenic properties. The Journal of Women’s Health has enumerated some botanical products that help with sleep, anxiety, and mood problems associated with menopause. Ginkgo, ginseng, St. John’s wort have positive effects on cognition, memory, insomnia, fatigue, and mood disturbances. Botanicals are available for consumption as fresh and dried products. They are also ready for use through powder, capsules, and tablet forms.
- Gain the benefits of exercise. Exercise does not only maintain bone mass and strength but also helps with managing menopausal symptoms. Moreover, regular physical activity improves cardiorespiratory function, elevates mood, and alleviates stress.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Weight-bearing activities, such as running and dancing, are particularly beneficial to bones.
- Find ways to calm your mind and body. Where your mind leads, your body follows. Knowledge about menopause does not only contribute to a person’s ability to self-manage the unpleasant effects of menopause, but positive feelings and thoughts also help in overcoming and arresting the long-term impacts of menopause to emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
Mind-body interventions, like hypnosis and cognitive behavioural therapy, have a positive clinical effect on alleviating hot flashes. It also has favourable interference on the psychological signs associated with menopause.
Olive Oil Diet Questions and Answers
A: The daily recommended allowance of magnesium for adults is 420 mg for men and 350 mg for women. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirms a tolerable and considerable limit of taking the supplement of 350mg per day without side effects.
A: In a pilot phase trial of magnesium supplements, women who received oral magnesium therapy of 400 mg for four weeks have shown a reduction of menopausal symptoms and frequency, including hot flashes and abnormal sweating.
A: Magnesium comes in different preparations that have varying intestinal absorption rates. There is an oral or topical formula. Women during the menopausal transition get the optimum health benefits by taking the magnesium glycinate form. Magnesium glycinate is the best-absorbed type of magnesium. It is also the recommended magnesium form for managing depression. Magnesium glycinate is available in capsule and powder forms.
A: Magnesium is expelled from the body through the kidneys. The excretion rate of magnesium depends on the amount consumed. People who have a daily intake of more than 250 mg of magnesium, flush out 80 to 160 mg of the supplement.
A: Because of the way food is being processed these days, people do not get enough magnesium from the food they eat. For this reason, taking magnesium supplements every day guarantees that the body has enough nutrition to carry out its daily functions. However, as the person approaches the 5th decade of life, the human body needs less amount of magnesium, and therefore, older people require a smaller dose of the supplement. Magnesium toxicity is a rare phenomenon, and the side effects are uncommon and tolerable. People develop bowel intolerance as the first clinical manifestation of the overconsumption of magnesium supplements.
Magnesium is vital for many critical physiological activities. The current dietary lifestyle has influenced the absorption of Mg in the body, such as the manner of food processing and the use of pesticide agents in food. The use of magnesium during the menopausal stage seems to be an effective remedy in managing symptoms with mild and tolerable side effects.
Taking the recommended dose of magnesium daily is safe and therapeutic, particularly for menopausal women. With the use of the right supplement, proper diet, healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and a positive frame of mind, women in their climacteric years do not need exogenous hormones to stay healthy.