Does magnesium balance hormones? Yes, it does! Magnesium reduces PMS symptoms, cramps, and menopausal symptoms caused by a hormonal imbalance.
What if there was a cheap, safe, easy-to-get supplement that could help your energy, brain, muscles, metabolism, and more? Would you think it’s the “magic pill” that doesn’t exist? The “magic pill” is magnesium.
Most people do not have optimal magnesium levels, and it’s keeping us from optimal health. Of course, we can get magnesium from food, but a supplement containing multiple forms of magnesium will keep us energized and healthy.
And since we’re obsessed with female health, we’re excited studies show we can prevent PMS, cramps, and menopausal symptoms with magnesium supplementation. In addition, cortisol levels (AKA stress signals) decrease when the body has enough magnesium.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of seven macrominerals your body needs daily in large quantities. Magnesium is used all over the body, and over 300 enzymatic reactions require it.
Why We Need More Magnesium – We’re all Deficient
Since so many reactions in the body require magnesium, we need a lot of it. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of our modern world, our bodies become depleted easily. The two most prevalent reasons we’re magnesium deficient are:
- Stress – Who isn’t stressed these days? We’re constantly running around with a to-do list that is impossible to get done. Even these daily stressors will deplete our body of magnesium. And as magnesium levels go below an optimal level, our stress will increase. It can become a never-ending cycle without intervention.
- Soil depletion – 33% of farmland is at least moderately degraded. To quickly feed all of the people in our society, farming practices are depleting our soil of nutrients. As the soil loses its mineral content, our food doesn’t have the same nutrients as it did 50 years ago.
Symptoms of Low Magnesium
It’s possible to have sub-optimal magnesium levels with no symptoms. However, low levels of magnesium can cause:
- Leg cramps – Do you wake up in the middle of the night with leg cramps? I used to at least weekly, but once I started taking magnesium supplements, it stopped.
- Nausea – Do you feel a little sick to your stomach more often than not? The fix may be as simple as adding magnesium to your diet.
- Fatigue – When you exert yourself, do you get more tired than you’d expect? Fatigue is a sign of a magnesium deficiency.
Sources of Magnesium
There’s a great list of magnesium-rich foods on Cleveland Clinic’s website. The best sources of magnesium are:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
Depending on the diet you’re following, you may not be getting enough of these foods. For example, gluten-free diets or paleo diets may not incorporate enough magnesium-rich foods to get the large amount of magnesium we need, which increases our likelihood of being deficient.
11 Types of Magnesium
There are many types of magnesium, and each one is digested a little differently and helps different parts of the body. Most supplements include one or two different types, but supplementing with more sources will benefit your health and energy even more.
- Magnesium glycinate is the most expensive but most absorbable form of magnesium. Magnesium glycinate helps us fall and stay asleep.
- Magnesium bisglycinate helps with symptoms of too much stomach acid like an upset stomach and heartburn.
- Magnesium chelate improves muscle health, including muscle building and recovery.
- Magnesium malate is one of the best forms of magnesium for migraines, and it also helps with energy, muscle relaxation, and chronic pain.
- Magnesium orotate improves metabolism and energy.
- Magnesium taurate helps the heart and improves cardiovascular health.
- Magnesium threonate is a form of magnesium that will improve brain health.
- Magnesium chloride is best for topical usage. If you don’t want to take an oral supplement or know you have digestive issues and won’t absorb minerals from a supplement, you can spray magnesium chloride on your legs before bed. Our skin will absorb the mineral quickly.
- Magnesium sulfate, AKA Epsom salts, is not for digestion. However, taking an Epsom salt bath will help with muscle relaxation and detox.
- Magnesium citrate is not a recommended form of magnesium. Magnesium citrate can help with mood and sleep regulation, but it isn’t absorbed well by the body and can have a laxative effect.
- Magnesium oxide is the other common, but not recommend, form of magnesium. The best use of magnesium oxide is constipation because it can loosen stools and give you diarrhea.
Does Magnesium Balance Hormones?
Magnesium balances many hormones in the body, including thyroid hormones, insulin, and sleep hormones. Magnesium also improves the estrogen to progesterone ratio in women and lowers cortisol.
Female Hormone Benefits
A literature review in 2017 found supplementing with magnesium can help prevent cramps, PMS symptoms, and menstrual migraines. Another study showed magnesium reduced cravings, water retention, and anxiety in the week before a woman’s period. They concluded:
“Magnesium is a beneficial, low cost, and effective treatment for the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.”Journal of Caring Sciences
When we have symptoms of PMS, we have a hormonal imbalance. We want to have a balanced ratio of estrogen to progesterone. We get estrogen dominance and PMS symptoms when there is high estrogen, low progesterone, or both.
Since magnesium supplementation decreases PMS symptoms, we can assume it helps balance our estrogen to progesterone ratio.
De-excite the HPA Axis and Reduce Cortisol
The HPA axis is how the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands communicate. When our body is stressed, the HPA axis releases cortisol to “help” us, but often too much is released into our system, causing us even more stress.
One study found taking magnesium can calm the HPA axis, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and lower cortisol levels.
For the Skimmers – A Quick Summary
If you’re a supplement skeptic like I once was, you may think there’s no way one easy-to-obtain supplement is going to improve your health. However, many chemical processes in the body require magnesium, so having enough is crucial!
If you have leg cramps or are fatigued when exerting yourself, you’re likely magnesium deficient and would benefit from supplementation.
Are you unsure whether it’s working or whether you’re more energetic because you’re in your follicular phase, or you have less stress at work, or **insert your excuse here**? Measure the benefits with data! Sign up for the free email mini-course that will show you how to use your health tracker data and cycle data to see what interventions (like magnesium supplementation) are improving your health and worth your money and time.