Magnesium is an essential mineral and plays a role in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Beyond helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function,* this mineral supports normal psychological function* and protects bones and teeth.* Magnesium also contributes to energy metabolism,* as well as supporting the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.*
Most women begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid 40s. Magnesium is often recommended for menopause due to its far-reaching health credentials. Here, we uncover how magnesium may support your health throughout this hormonal transition, and how best to supplement it in your diet.
Up to 60% of menopausal women experience sleep disturbances. The initial changes during the perimenopause causes highs and lows of progesterone and oestrogen which amplifies specific symptoms — hot flushes, sleep-disordered breathing, like sleep apnoea, and mood changes, such as anxiety and depression which may contribute to sleep issues.
Within the nervous system, magnesium binds to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA), helping to settle any nerve activity that may otherwise fragment sleep. The mineral also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting feelings of calm and relaxation.
Beyond easing the body into rest, magnesium has shown promise in improving sleep quality, presumably through helping to manage the symptoms that reduce sleep. Several studies have confirmed that this mineral encourages deep, restorative sleep.
As oestrogen and progesterone start to decline in perimenopause, this may disrupt the biochemical activity in your brain and affect the production of mood-regulating hormones, like serotonin. As a result, you may notice changes in your mental health, with emotions like panic, stress, and anxiety becoming apparent.
Besides this, contending with hot flushes, breast tenderness, fatigue, lower libido, mood swings, and insomnia may further compromise your emotional health and exacerbate anxiety.
Magnesium is believed to contribute to normal psychological function* and, for that reason, is often recommended for anxiety. Research suggests this mineral helps to regulate the neurotransmitters in the brain and several studies show magnesium supplement intake directly correlates with decreased anxiety.
Fatigue is a relatively common symptom in the early stages of perimenopause as your body adjusts to its new chemistry and hormonal status. When oestrogen drops suddenly, you may experience waves of lethargy or ‘crashing fatigue’.
Other implications of low oestrogen, including insomnia, night sweats, and frequent urination, can also disrupt sleep and increase daytime fatigue.
Magnesium plays a central role in energy metabolism* and supports the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.* This mineral is involved in the production and stability of the ATP molecule, which supplies energy for many bodily processes. Alongside this, magnesium also helps to convert glucose into energy.
Oestrogen helps to regulate bone production and turnover, making it indispensable for bone health. However, due to the sharp decline of oestrogen in perimenopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases as you reach menopause and post-menopause. Women may lose up to 20 per cent of their bone density in the 5 to 7 years after the menopause.
Magnesium is crucial for the absorption and utilisation of both calcium and vitamin D, which are critically important for normal bones.* Your bones store magnesium, where in times of need, magnesium is transferred from the bones to the bloodstream. As such, an adequate intake of magnesium is essential to prevent the loss of bone density.
Oestrogen also plays an important heart-protective role. Not only does this hormone support the function of the arteries and blood flow, but it also helps to prevent the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries and control cholesterol levels.
Some scientists believe that the drop in oestrogen during perimenopause may increase the risk of heart-related issues. Indeed, magnesium is involved in the transportation of the electrolytes into cells*, which helps to regulate heartbeat. Evidence suggests low levels of magnesium may contribute to irregular heartbeat and, in some cases, heart palpitations.
How do I get magnesium?
To support your overall health in menopause and beyond, you should try to meet your daily requirement (375mg) with food. These include:
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Dark, leafy green vegetables: kale, spinach and watercress
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes: kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, soya products
- Whole grains: oats, brown rice, and quinoa
- Seafood, like mackerel, tuna and salmon
- Baked potato
While some people enjoy the foods above, some people may not. Fortunately, high- quality supplements can substitute food. Altruvita Magnesium provides high absorbing magnesium bisglycinate in a low dose per capsule. This means you can spread your intake throughout the day to avoid irritating the digestive system which happens with high doses and cheap forms, and you can vary the dose depending on how you feel.
* GB REGISTERS ON NUTRITION AND HEALTH CLAIMS