Magnesium for Menopause - The Hidden Benefits you Need to Know
Do you know how important magnesium is for the human body? Magnesium is responsible for influencing mood regulation, healthy bone maintenance, and ensuring you have the correct levels of hormones. Not only that but it is also involved in over 300 biochemical reactions within your body - solidifying its status as one of the most important minerals in the human body.
Magnesium becomes particularly helpful and important for women as they reach older stages in life and begin to experience menopause. This is because that magnesium may help to reduce the symptoms of menopause. If that sounds too good to be true, we don’t blame you for being sceptical.So, how can magnesium help with menopause? Below, we explain everything about using magnesium for menopause, including how it can benefit this period of a woman’s life, any side effects, and the best ways to get it into your diet.
What is the Menopause?
Menopause is a natural occurrence that happens during a woman’s lifetime. On average, it typically takes place between the age of 51 to 52; though symptoms have been known to begin many years before and even after this age range.
A loss of menstruation is the main characteristic of someone going through menopause, with some of the most recognisable symptoms of this bodily change being hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and insomnia, weight gain, a decrease in muscle and bone density, and changes in hormonal levels - estrogen and progesterone are some notable examples.
Maintaining a healthy weight, alongside strong muscles and bones, is greatly important for your health. Because menopause affects these factors within your body, causing fluctuations that can be rather severe, it is important to pay heed to these issues in the early stages of menopause.
How Does Magnesium Affect Bone Health?
Approximately 60% of your bodily magnesium is stored within your bones, and this mineral plays a critical role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Defined as low bone mineral density, osteoporosis affects approximately 10-30% of postmenopausal women - and this figure increases with age.
Bones naturally undergo a remodelling process known as osteogenesis which enables the bones to strengthen themselves. During the stage of osteogenesis, bones are broken down by osteoclasts and then rebuilt by osteoblasts. This process is a faster and more effective process for younger people.
During the process of menopause, the body’s level of estrogen levels decline. This leads to a spike in activity from the osteoclasts, which are attributed to bone loss. Resulting from this, bones will be broken down at a faster rate than they are rebuilding which leads to weakened, porous bones.
Magnesium for Menopause Joint Pain and Osteoporosis Prevention
Research suggests that a deficiency in magnesium is highly associated with the development of osteoporosis due to its crucial role in cartilage and bone matrix calcification, also known as increased bone strength. A magnesium deficiency has also been linked with a lower activity of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D, both of which are crucial for the development of healthy bones. Furthermore, a magnesium deficiency has also been linked to a decrease in osteoblast activity and an increase in inflammation, both of which make bones weaker over time.
One study in 20 women with osteoporosis found that a magnesium intake 1830mg of magnesium citrate, approximately 290mg of elemental magnesium, per day for 30 days led to decreased bone turnover, which suggests a decrease in bone loss and that it is one of the best types of magnesium for menopause symptoms. In a 7-year follow-up study of 73,684 postmenopausal women, a high magnesium dosage for menopause of 334-422mg or greater of magnesium from food or supplements was associated with a greater density of bone minerals.
Since magnesium does play an essential role in the health of bones, ensuring menopausal people have adequate levels of magnesium may help to slow the rate of bone loss.
Is Magnesium Good for Menopause? Other Benefits Explained
Although magnesium has not been shown to reduce certain menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, research suggests that increasing your daily intake of magnesium can help to decrease and alleviate some other common symptoms of menopause. Some magnesium benefits for menopause include:
Up to 60% of women going through the menopausal stages experience some form of insomnia or difficulty sleeping. Compared to women not going through menopause, those who are currently transitioning through menopause, also known as perimenopause, report significantly higher rates of subpar sleep. The most common denominator is waking up throughout the night.
A lack of sleep is actually connected to a range of preexisting conditions, and conditions related to menopause. These include:
- Weight gain
- And more
One small study of 46 older adults found that supplementing their diet with 500mg of magnesium per day, 250mg of elemental magnesium, let to a significant increase in sleep duration, sleep quality, and melatonin production. Furthermore, magnesium may help to promote sleep by regulating your body’s circadian rhythms, more commonly known as your body’s natural clock, and increasing relaxation within muscles.
Lowering the Risks of Depression and Anxiety
Another common symptom among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women is depression and anxiety. Though this is related to many factors, ensuring the body has adequate levels of magnesium may help to alleviate depressive symptoms as the mineral plays a crucial role in brain function, mood regulation, and response to stress. These also may affect the onset of depression and anxiety, and how much it progresses.
Multiple studies have connected low magnesium levels to higher rates of depression. One study of 8984 participants found that subjects with levels under 183mg of magnesium per day had higher rates of depression. Another study of 171 postmenopausal women found that 81.9% had low blood levels of magnesium, with those same women being more likely to report low to moderate levels of depression.
Supporting Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among postmenopausal women, however, heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases are not caused by menopause. Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of suffering from higher blood pressure, triglycerides, and levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) due to certain factors, some of which are triggered by menopause. These include decreased levels of estrogen, higher susceptibility to stress, age, and poor lifestyle choices.
One study of 3713 postmenopausal women found that lower levels of magnesium are linked to poor heart health, with those who have higher magnesium levels having lower inflammatory markers commonly related to heart disease and therefore indicating a healthier heart overall.
Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is an abundant mineral that is found in a huge range of foods and supplements. As it is present in such a range of foods, it is an easy mineral to incorporate more of into your diet. Foods rich in magnesium include:
- Beans (black, red, white)
- Dark chocolate
- Fish, like salmon
- Leafy greens, such as spinach
- Whole grains, like brown bread and brown rice
- And more
Although magnesium-rich foods are readily and widely available, many people do not get enough magnesium through their diet. Studies suggest that about 50% of people in Europe and the US get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium, meaning that vast swathes of the population suffer from a magnesium deficiency. This is due to a few factors ranging from things like the inability to afford healthy foods due to poverty, the reliance of overly-processed foods, and a lower general intake of beans, lentils, vegetables, and whole grains.
In order to better support your health as you age, it is key to get as many nutrients, minerals, and vitamins into your diet through healthy eating as possible.
The Importance of Magnesium in Relation to Menopause
While magnesium is a mineral that is an essential part of your diet in order to maintain good health at all stages of life, during menopause, it is important for keeping your bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. Magnesium can also help to reduce the unwanted side effects of menopause, such as difficulty sleeping, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, all while working to support your heart’s health.
Many menopausal women also suffer from magnesium deficiencies which also puts them at a greater risk of poor health, however, magnesium is readily available and can be consumed in a wide range of easily obtainable foods like dark chocolate, beans, lentils, and leafy greens.
If you struggle to get magnesium into your diet, there are alternative routes you can take. For example, magnesium supplements are available over the counter, or you can opt for a can of OHMG magnesium water - with each can containing about 56mg of magnesium, about as much as an avocado!
Ensuring you get a good level of magnesium through food and supplements into your diet each day is important for your overall health, and may even work to reduce the side effects felt during menopause.