As my patients can tell you, I prescribe magnesium for almost every hormonal condition, including PCOS, thyroid, hair loss, PMS, and perimenopause. I love magnesium because it makes people feel better almost immediately.
What’s up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? We’re deficient because our cells dump magnesium during stress. We actively push it out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system and cope with daily life.
A revved up nervous system is what an average modern human needs to get through an average modern day. If you work, commute, drink coffee, or worry, then you are deficient in magnesium. If you live the meditative life of a monk on a mountainside, then you’re probably okay.
8 ways magnesium rescues hormones
- Regulates cortisol. It calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system, also called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, is your central hormonal system. When it functions well, then your other hormonal axes—thyroid and sex hormones—will function well too.
- Reduces blood sugar. It’s so effective at sensitizing the insulin receptor that I refer to magnesium as our ‘natural metformin’. Better insulin control means fewer sugar cravings. Healthy insulin sensitivity is important for weight loss, PCOS, and it also prevents osteoporosis.
- Supports thyroid. It is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most thyroid disease. Other ways to address thyroid autoimmunity include gluten-elimination and a selenium supplement.
- Aids sleep. As I’ve written before, magnesium is the great sleep-promoter, and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should enjoy a beneficial surge of anabolic hormones such as DHEA and growth hormone.
- Fuels cellular energy. It’s so intricately involved with mitochondria and energy production, that we can safely say: “Without magnesium, there is no cellular energy”. Hormonal tissue has a high metabolic rate, so it requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.
- Makes hormones. It aids with the manufacture of steroid hormones including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. That may be why magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 50 percent.
- Activates vitamin D. Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot do its job. Conversely, too much vitamin D supplementation causes magnesium deficiency.
- Slows aging. It prevents telomere shortening, reduces oxidative stress, and enhances the production of glutathione.
Magnesium is a big player in emergency rooms, where it treats heart arrhythmias, heart attack, migraine, and the toxemia of pregnancy. But why should it be restricted to acute care medicine? It’s time for magnesium to take up its role in treating chronic conditions.
Testing for magnesium deficiency
No. The majority is inside your cells, so there no accurate way to measure it with a blood test (not even “red cell magnesium”). You simply have to try it and see how you feel.
The best magnesium supplement
The best supplement is magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate (the mineral joined to the amino acid glycine). This is the least laxative supplement, and also the most absorbable. And it gives the added calming benefit of glycine which acts on GABA receptors. Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, almonds, chocolate, and mineral water.
Essential nutrient for period repair
I love magnesium so much that I refer to it again and again in my book Period Repair Manual.
Yours in Health,