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 hormones (thyroid and reproductive hormones) will function well too.
- Reduces blood sugar and normalizes insulin. It’s so effective at improving insulin sensitivity that I refer to magnesium as “natural metformin”. Healthy insulin sensitivity means fewer sugar cravings and is effective treatment for weight loss and PCOS.
- 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, and so requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.
- Makes hormones. It aids in 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.
Its role in women’s health was recently explored in a 2017 paper called “Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review.” The authors conclude that magnesium supplementation is effective treatment for period pain, PMS, migraine, and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
Should you test 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 has the added benefit of glycine which has a calming effect 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,