When it comes to menopause there’s one mineral that trumps all others and that’s magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical processes in the body and is important during menopause for so many reasons: bone support, happy mood, healthy muscle function, thyroid function, energy production and sleep. And yet so many women get less than the recommended 350 - 400mg needed per day, which can lead to magnesium deficiency. Here we look at why we need magnesium during menopause and what we can do to make sure we’re getting enough.
Magnesium may strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis
Magnesium is involved in bone formation through its influence on bone turnover, as well as its influence on vitamin D, which is also important for bone health. It’s also needed to regulate calcium in the body, which again is really important for your bones.Magnesium may also play a part in keeping muscles strong and healthy, which can help to prevent falls and fractures.
Magnesium relaxes muscles
As well as keeping them strong and healthy, magnesium is also known to act as a muscle relaxant. It is involved in sending nerve signals that help your muscles and brain to relax. 90% of the body's magnesium is found in muscles and bones, and so when levels are low, magnesium is pulled from these areas, which leads to muscle cramps and twitches. This discomfort is likely to keep you awake at night and may make you feel tired come morning.
Magnesium can improve sleep and help with fatigue
Which brings us on to how magnesium can help with sleep. Many women experience difficulty sleeping during menopause. By acting on the nervous system and instructing your muscles and brain to relax, magnesium can help you get to sleep. It would also appear to help you sleep better and for longer, and achieve a more restful night’s sleep. This is especially important during menopause. Menopausal fatigue, or crashing fatigue, is when this feeling suddenly overwhelms you. You may not even be sleepy, just completely lacking in energy and unable to continue with your normal activities.
Magnesium may help with anxiety
Certain lifestyle factors can make menopausal fatigue worse, including stress and anxiety. Anxiety may not be the first symptom you associate with menopause, but increased anxiety and panic attacks are surprisingly common during menopause.
The hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to regulate mood. Declining levels of these hormones during the menopause mean we are more susceptible to anxiety and even panic attacks. Menopausal hot flushes and sweats can also be socially embarrassing and may contribute to panic attacks.
Research has found that magnesium may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety . It is believed to affect the hypothalamus, an area in the brain that helps to regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands, which are responsible for your response to stress.
Getting enough magnesium
How best to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium? Food first! Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, almonds, avocado, oily fish, and quinoa, but do be mindful that modern farming methods often leave our soils depleted of nutrients, meaning many of us obtain less-than-optimal amounts of magnesium from food.
A magnesium supplement can also help to keep levels topped up. PrizMAG Magnesium Bisglycinate provides filler-free, high quality magnesium and glycine, an amino acid that works hand in hand with magnesium to enhance its absorption.
It’s great for those who prefer capsules over powder, and it doesn’t cause bowel intolerance like some magnesium supplements. Take two to four capsules daily.
A.Vogel’s Menopause Support also provides magnesium as well as isoflavones and hibiscus extract to provide support with all stages of menopause.