Magnesium - The Master Menopause Mineral

mineral Nov 14, 2021

Let me tell you about Maggie, she’s a patient of mine and yes I’ve changed her name. She came to see me wanting help with her menopausal transition. Her main concerns included poor stress tolerance with frequent outbursts, anxiety, and depression. She had regular headaches, trouble with sleep, and painful leg cramps overnight. She was fatigued and experiencing brain fog. In recent tests she discovered her blood pressure was borderline, she had prediabetes and osteopenia.

Every one of these symptoms is very common at this stage of life, I bet you have experienced at least some of the list.

She felt like she was falling apart and could no longer cope.

We decided to add a few additional tests to those already done, including sleep apnea. This is so important when you see sleep issues, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and mood changes. The only supplement I started her on while we waited for results was magnesium. And she actually resisted starting on this product as her doctor has tested her serum magnesium levels and it had come back normal. 

I had to explain that most of her magnesium was stored in her bones, then muscle and soft tissue. The serum only contains 1% of your magnesium stores and it's highly regulated and will take from bone and muscles in order to maintain that 1% and with her osteopenia diagnosis I was very concerned she was magnesium deficient. If she wanted a more accurate assessment of her magnesium stores we could test her red blood cell magnesium.  She choose not to test and she started her magnesium supplement. 

We caught up 2 weeks later and she couldn’t believe the difference. She really thought she needed progesterone, as she had heard this helps with sleep and moods, and yes it does do that, but I always start with key health building blocks such as magnesium and if symptoms don’t improve then I start considering other options and progesterone was on my plan B list.

The biggest change was in her sleep, she was getting to sleep faster and without her leg cramps waking her up anymore she was staying asleep longer. The additional sleep improved her energy, brain fog, and moods. She still had a headache during this time but the frequency and intensity had already started to reduce.

 So you can see why magnesium is my all-time favourite menopausal mineral, not only does it help with so many different aspects of health, it also works fast. 

 

Magnesium summary

Magnesium is an essential mineral cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. It is involved with

  • sleep 
  • energy production
  • brain function
  • mood regulation
  • bone health
  • muscle health
  • heart health 
  • nerve impulse conduction
  • blood sugar regulation
  • cellular health
  • pain reduction
  • detoxification (especially estrogen detoxification)
  • bowel health and regularity of movements
  • and lots more...

 

Deficiency can occur due to soil depletion, poor dietary choices (good sources of magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocado), and digestive issues. Magnesium needs to be absorbed via the intestines. Women with inflammatory digestive conditions tend to have the lowest levels of magnesium. Having low stomach acid is another risk factor. Magnesium absorption can be reduced by the presence of dietary phytates, alcohol, caffeine, insufficient protein, certain medications, other mineral imbalances, or lack of cofactors such as potassium, selenium, B6, and vitamin D.

You may have noticed magnesium comes in many different forms. Please speak to your healthcare provider to discover which one may be most suitable for you. But here are a few of the options:

Magnesium threonate - this is generally the best form for brain health. Think cognition, moods, brain injuries, and neurodegenerative disorders

Magnesium glycinate - is a great option for muscle relaxing, mood relaxing, sleep-enhancing

Magnesium citrate - again muscle relaxing, spasm releasing, and reduction of muscle pain. May even reduce arterial stiffness

Magnesium malate - for energy metabolism, muscle pain, migraines, and depression

Magnesium taurate and orotate - best forms for heart health

Magnesium chloride - this you will find in topical magnesium products - this is well absorbed via the skin and a good option if you have low hydrochloric acid or other digestive issues

Magnesium oxide - I only ever use this form for constipation. It draws water into your bowel and softens and clears stool. It doesn't have any of the other magnesium benefits

Magnesium sulfate, you find this in Epson salts - simply add to your bath and soak, good  for soothing sore muscles, relaxing the mind, and detoxifying the body

Magnesium chelate - muscular health

Magnesium sucrosomial - the most important form for bone health, may also help with energy

Magnesium glycerophosphate is a combination of magnesium and phosphorus. Glycerophosphates enhance phospholipid production, phospholipids are vitally important to cellular health. 

 

Before you run off and purchase magnesium we need to take about the dangers, interactions, and contra-indications.

Dangers - too much magnesium can cause short-term diarrhea. Stop the magnesium and your diarrhea will resolve.

 

Medication interactions

  • Magnesium may interact with Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, best to take a different time of the day.
  • Magnesium needs to be taken at least an hour away from antibiotics
  • Diuretics increase magnesium loss and increase the need for supplementation.
  • Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium can cause magnesium deficiency by reducing their absorption. Supplementation may be helpful.
  • Magnesium may increase the effectiveness of diabetic medication and may allow for a lowering of dose. Insulin specifically reduces magnesium levels, ideal to take a supplement with this drug.
  • Magnesium supplementation may be needed with heart medications such as digoxin as it increases its excretion.
  • Magnesium may interfere with levothyroxine, best to take it at a different time of the day.
  • Penicillamine can reduce magnesium. Taking additional magnesium at different times of the day can help reduce the side effects of this drug.
  • Corticosteroids such as prednisone increase your need for magnesium. 
  • And the list goes go, I can’t emphasize enough the need to check for interactions if you are taking medications. Chat to your practitioner and check safety first.

 

Magnesium is contraindicated with renal failure and heart block

 

I hope you have enjoyed learning about magnesium. If you would like to learn more, consider joining our Menopause Makeover Program

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