What is Magnesium?
Magnesium can best be described as the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium is an electrolyte which regulates heart contractions and water balance in the body. Magnesium is also involved in lots of important reactions in the body including liver detoxification, regulating insulin and glucose, transmitting nerve impulses, regulating temperature, formation of bones and teeth.
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Magnesium is an important mineral that is deficient in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is because magnesium has been shown to play a role in glucose, insulin, and blood pressure regulation. Patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome have also shown to have low levels of magnesium.
Important functions of magnesium
- Acts as a co-factor or enzyme for chemical reactions in the body
- Produces and transports energy
- Calms adrenal glands
- Produces protein including RNA and DNA
- Transmits nerve signals to and from the brain
- Relaxes muscles to prevent twitching or spasms
Why Most Women with PCOS are Lacking Magnesium
Most people are deficient in magnesium because majority of Western diets don’t provide enough magnesium. This is could be due to many factors including poor soil concentrations, lots of processed and refined foods that are deficient in magnesium, lack of fruits and vegetables, stress, alcohol, certain birth control pill and medications, taking too high amounts of other nutrients (calcium, sodium, and iron), and medical conditions such as insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, which may interfere with the utilization of magnesium. Eating a high protein diet can also affect the absorption of magnesium.
6 Important Benefits of Magnesium for Women with PCOS:
Magnesium is a renowned treatment for headache and migraine pain. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels so they don’t narrow, thereby preventing small clots that add to migraine tension.
Provides PMS Relief
Magnesium is an effective treatment for relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, PMS. Magnesium supplementation of 250 mg daily has been shown to be helpful for decreasing cravings, bloating, cramping and reducing anxiety and sleep disturbances associated with PMS. Chocolate is one of the most common foods women crave right before they begin their periods. Chocolate is one of the highest food sources of magnesium.Magnesium has also been shown to be effective for preventing dysmenorrhea (heavy menstrual flow).
Acts as a Pain Reliever
Magnesium works as a pain reliever by reducing inflammation. It can instantly reduce severe pains. One recommended product that is highly efficient is magnesium cream called MagNificent.
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Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension, is a risk factor for heart disease. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables which is rich in magnesium, has been shown to be an effective treatment to reduce hypertension as well as other metabolic aspects in women with PCOS.
5. Improves Mood
Magnesium is known to improve mood and ease depression, which is common in women with PCOS. High levels of magnesium can help with sleep, which women with PCOS struggles with. Having low levels of magnesium can actually be an underlying cause of anxiety. Many anxiety symptoms such as anger, anxious behavior, apathy, nervousness, rapid pulse, heart palpitations and insomnia, may be reduced by supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium works to calm the nervous system to help reduce anxiety.
6. Reduces Insulin Resistance
Magnesium is deficient in people with insulin resistance and those with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. One theory is that chronic insulin reduces magnesium levels. Magnesium is important to help glucose enter cells where it is used for energy. Part of its job in doing this is regulating the function and transport of insulin, which acts as a key to open the cell doors to glucose. Without enough magnesium, glucose doesn’t enter the cells in sufficient amounts.
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How to know you are deficient in Magnesium
The status of magnesium in the body is hard to evaluate because most magnesium is located inside cells or in bone and not in the blood. Therefore, there is no one good test to detect a magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include the following:
- Muscle cramping, pain
- Frequent headaches or migraine headaches
- Mood changes like:depression or irritability
- Elevated blood Pressure
- Insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome
- Low energy level or chronically fatigued
- Memory issues, difficulty focusing, problems maintaining attention.
- Painful menstrual periods or severe PMS symptoms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Brittle bones and development of stones
- Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
- Intense cravings for chocolate
How Much Magnesium Do I Need?
The recommended amount for magnesium in adult women is 320 mg daily. However, this may not be sufficient for women with PCOS. Food sources such as avocados, chocolate, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, beans, and whole grains are good sources of magnesium, however, may provide insufficient amounts if you are deficient.
There are many types of magnesium supplements. Magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms are absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.