24 Feb Magnesium for Better Health & happy hormones
Magnesium is my current favourite supplement. Why? Simple because of the range of issues that are coming into the clinic lately, which often involve hormonal imbalance and some form of muscular pain! Perfect pairing for magnesium!
What’s up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? And why are we constantly prescribing it!
We’re deficient for various reasons, we may not be eating enough as even if you do manage to get 2-3 cups of leafy greens on a daily basis our soils are believed to be low in this precious mineral. On top of that our cells dump magnesium during stress. We actively push it out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system and cope with daily life (2).
Plus for those of us on medications there are many that actually deplete our stores including commonly used hormones such as the oral contraceptive pill (1).
See full list here; https://www.drperlmutter.com/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-causes-treatments/
So what are the symptoms when we are low (1)?
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
- Memory problems
- Loss of Appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty swallowing
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Magnesium Deficiency Clinical Conditions
So lets talk about why possibly supplementing magnesium will give you Better Health & Happier hormones. According to Lara Briden magnesium will do the following;
- Regulates cortisol. It calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system—also called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—is your central hormonal system. When it functions well, then your other hormones (thyroid and reproductive hormones) will function well too.
- Reduces blood sugar and normalizes insulin. It’s so effective at improving insulin sensitivitythat I refer to magnesium as “natural metformin.” Healthy insulin sensitivity means fewer sugar cravings and is effective treatment for weight loss and PCOS.
- Supports thyroid. Magnesium is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most thyroid disease. Other ways to address thyroid autoimmunity include gluten-elimination and a selenium supplement.
- Aids sleep. Magnesium is the great sleep-promoter, and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should enjoy a beneficial surge of anabolic hormones such as DHEA and growth hormone.
- Fuels cellular energy. It’s so intricately involved with mitochondria and energy production, that we can safely say: “Without magnesium, there is no cellular energy”. Hormonal tissue has a high metabolic rate, and so requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.
- Makes hormones. It aids in the manufacture of steroid hormones including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. That may be why magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 50 percent.
- Activates vitamin D.Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot do its job. Conversely, too much vitamin D supplementation causes magnesium deficiency.
- Slows aging. It prevents telomere shortening, reduces oxidative stress, and enhances the production of glutathione.
Testing of magnesium is not particularly useful, mainly because it is believed that only 1% is in the blood and the rest is actually inside our cells. So often as a practitioner I use your symptoms as clues what is missing. Specifically hormonal symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency (as well as other deficiencies) could include;
- PMS, including cramps, headaches and mood swings
- Painful periods
- Painful ovulation
- Sugar and chocolate cravings
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Anxiety and high stress levels, the inability to relax
At the clinic I prescribe a few different magnesium formulations. I adore the range by Metagenics, as each formulation is targeted for a specific condition plus contain lots of other goodies such as B-vitamins. Other ways you could boost your Magnesium include;
- Epsom salts – add two cups of epsom salts to a bath a couple of times a week and you will receive sufficient magnesium. Plus side it is also super relaxing, downside is that not all of us have a bath or time!
- Topical cream – At the clinic I use BioCeuticals cream, that you apply directly to your skin. Applying magnesium to the skin helps with absorption as you avoid the gut, which can compromise absorption if your gut health isn’t great. I also like the cream by BioCeuticals as it doesn’t create any itchy feeling like many creams and oils do.