Why is magnesium important for menopause?

10 April 2024 168 view(s)
Why is magnesium important for menopause?

Why is magnesium important for menopause?

The menopause transition is a natural progression in a woman’s life when her reproductive system gradually slows until she hits “menopause”; when she has had an absence of periods for 12 months. For many women, this natural stage in life, which typically affects women between the ages of 45-55, can become a time of physical and emotional discomfort, and common symptoms can include hot flushes, insomnia, mood imbalances and weight gain.

The good news is that consuming a nutrient dense diet with optimal intake of specific nutrients can make a real difference to your health and how you feel. The mineral magnesium is one such nutrient – and here we are going to look at how magnesium can help women to support a healthy menopause.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, and therefore plays an essential role in maintaining overall health and wellness but may play a particularly supportive role through the menopause transition and following menopause.  

Found chiefly in green vegetables, but also sources such as beans, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, magnesium supports several areas of health including:

  • Energy production
  • Healthy sleep
  • Mood balance
  • Muscle function
  • Hormonal balance
  • Blood sugar balance
  • Bone and teeth health
  • ... to name but a few!

We now know that a large proportion of the western population are not achieving the recommended levels of magnesium, due in part to poor dietary choices, the low levels in processed foods, as well as reduced magnesium levels in the soil. Poor gastrointestinal absorption of magnesium also occurs because of vitamin D deficiency, another common issue in western cultures.

How can magnesium support women’s health through menopause?

Ensuring great levels of magnesium can support a number of different areas women’s health during menopause transition and after menopause: 

Sleep 

Sleep disturbance and insomnia are extremely common during time of hormonal changes such as menopause. Healthy sleep is dependent upon magnesium; levels of magnesium rise and fall in a daily cycle and may play a role in regulating circadian rhythm. Magnesium also helps with the regulation of the sleep hormone, melatonin.  

In Magnesium Bisglycinate, magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine, which itself has the property to enhance the quality of sleep – so this form of magnesium may be particularly supportive for sleep.

Mood

Feelings of depression and anxiety are extremely common through menopause transition and following menopause, and while there may be several contributing factors, ensuring adequate magnesium levels can play a role in supporting healthy mood balance. Magnesium is essential for the production of two neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin.  GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter associated with calmness and relaxation and serotonin is essential for the feeling of happiness, and low levels are linked to depression and anxiety.

Energy

Fatigue is a common occurrence around menopause transition, due to changing hormone levels and exacerbated by other symptoms such as disrupted sleep, night sweats and blood sugar imbalances. As well as also playing a supportive role in these compounding symptoms, magnesium is essential for our bodies to generate energy from food by activating ATP (Adenosine-Triphosphate); which is the main form of energy required by every cell in the body.

Blood sugar balance

The decrease in oestrogen and progesterone in perimenopause can have knock-on effects on our insulin sensitivity, which can trigger fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This, in turn can affect our energy levels, create inflammation and a greater tendency to gain fat, particularly around the middle. Magnesium plays an important role in glucose control and insulin metabolism – so is one of the essential nutrients that can help to support healthy blood sugar balance around menopause.

Bone health

Around 60% of your body’s magnesium is stored in the bone, where it plays a crucial role in supporting healthy bone density. Oestrogen plays a protective role for bone tissue, so following menopause and the drop in oestrogen, it is important that women have an optimal intake of key bone supportive nutrients, including magnesium. Supplementing with magnesium has demonstrated benefits in terms of bone mineral density and reduced fracture risk. 

Cardiovascular health

Oestrogen has a protective effect on cardiovascular health, and the risk of cardiovascular disease increases after menopause. Ensuring optimal magnesium levels can be supportive against a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Magnesium also helps control heart muscle contractions, thus supporting a healthy heartbeat.

Should I supplement with magnesium?

As we’ve discussed, many women aren’t obtaining optimal levels of this essential mineral through their diet, so ensuring plenty of rich sources of magnesium and including a well-formulated, bioavailable supplement could help to nourish your body and support you against several of the common menopausal symptoms.

See my recent “ask the expert” on our various magnesium supplements.

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