Jen Adams - Menopause

Magnesium - The Menopause Miracle

Are you in your late 40s and starting to struggle with a few menopause symptoms? 

If so it’s worth thinking about whether you are getting enough magnesium in your diet. It can help you to reduce or even avoid most of the unpleasant symptoms that women experience during menopause. Everyone needs a regular supply of magnesium, whatever our age as it is present in every one of your cells, and a vast range of biochemical processes in your body couldn’t happen without it.

Magnesium is vital for so many things but here’s just a few related to the menopause;

  • Bone health
  • Energy release
  • A healthy heart
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Muscle and nerve function
  • Controlling blood sugar balance
  • Thyroid & Adrenal function
  • Keeping your mood on an even keel
  • Quality sleep
  • Strong, healthy skin, hair and nails

Magnesium - where do I find it? 

Is one of the most common elements on the earth. It is found in a huge variety of foods so you should be able to get your regular fix from your daily diet. But here’s the thing – processed products are likely to be deficient, and modern farming methods mean that even many of the freshest foods contain only a fraction of the magnesium they did when agriculture was less intensive. All in all, many of us are now likely to have a magnesium deficiency.

How much magnesium is enough?

The UK recommended daily intake is 300mg for men and 370mg for women, it's recognised these that we may well need more than that for optimal health and that there are groups of people who will need extra. Menopausal women are one of these groups – but you’ll also benefit from upping your magnesium intake if you are pregnant, elderly, poor kidney function or type 2 diabetes. If you use alcohol to help you get to sleep you will also be a good candidate for a magnesium-based supplement.

Your body could also use more of it at times when you are stressed, or you are taking some prescription medications; it could be worth checking that with your pharmacist if you’re going to be taking a medicine long-term.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

I don’t have figures for the UK, but it is estimated that, in the US, 80% of adults probably aren’t getting enough of this vital element. Many of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are just what you’d expect during menopause. They include:

  • Poor sleep and tiredness
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Food cravings
  • Brain fog or lack of concentration
  • Cramps and Restless legs
  • High or fluctuating blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines

How to get more magnesium in diet?

You can improve your magnesium intake by eating these, which are all excellent sources:

  • Organic natural foods, especially fresh green leafy vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Red kidney beans
  • Melons
  • Oily fish (inc salmon, mackerel, herring)
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Berries, especially raspberries and strawberries
  • Cocoa - Dark chocolate or nibs
  • Papaya
  • Tomatoes

You should also avoid processed foods as much as possible, especially baked goods and sugary drinks, particularly fizzy ones as these can actively hinder absorption.

Shall I take a Magnesium Supplement? 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency I’ve mentioned above, especially if you are going through the menopause (or think you might be approaching it), it could be well worth taking a supplement. Encouragingly, Magnesium is a supplement that tends to start to show results pretty quickly. If you are suffering from hot flushes and night sweats, for example, taking a magnesium and calcium combined supplement may well reduce these unpleasant symptoms within a few days.

As always with supplements, it is well worth taking professional advice as you do need to balance your additional magnesium intake with other vitamins and minerals for optimal effect – I’d be very happy to advise on your specific needs. One word of caution though – if you are prescribed medication, always tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are taking a supplement. Magnesium supplements can have an adverse effect on some antibiotic treatments and may interact badly with some blood pressure or heart medications; this is because magnesium is sometimes used to treat certain cardiovascular disorders so you may become over medicated.

As a registered nutritional therapist, I have a particular interest in helping women to treat menopause symptoms and to sail through this stage in their lives without difficulty. Why not let me advise you on your food choices and an exercise plan that will help?

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