Magnesium is a Calming Mineral for Women’s Health and Wellbeing
Magnesium is crucial to Women’s health and wellbeing. It is also the most important nutrient for stress relief. A simple way of describing why we need Magnesium so much during, and after stress, is to consider that our bodies still have the same stress response as we did in Prehistoric times.
We obviously have much different stressors now though. In the past if we were stressed, it was likely our life was in danger. Now we might just be sitting in traffic or experiencing chronic daily stress over matters beyond our control.
When our life was in danger in the prehistoric times, our clever body’s wanted us to survive, so the best way to help us to respond to stress effectively (fight or flight – run for your life), was to dump our most calming mineral reserves – our precious reserves of magnesium.
We are not Cavemen anymore!
These days, often our bodies are often entering fight or flight (aka sympathetic nervous system dominance) mode multiple times a day. When we are in fight or flight mode we are unable to enter rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system) mode. We are chronically stressed and not taking the time to recover in between bouts.
Couple that with low levels of magnesium and other minerals in foods, due to low levels in the soil, and you have a recipe for deficiency. To top it off, many of us do not have adequate gut function to absorb vitamins and minerals effectively.
Symptoms of Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency causes fatigue, anxiety, agitation, irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, vertigo, unrefreshed sleep, poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, cramps, twitches and shakes. Magnesium relaxes the whole nervous system. As mentioned above it is lost rapidly during stress. Magnesium helps with depression and plays so many roles in the body. It is essential for Women’s health.
Am I low?
You won’t know if you are low in magnesium from standard blood tests. We store 25,000mg of magnesium in our body and only 1% of it is in the blood. Magnesium blood tests are also not commonly run by doctors unless specifically requested. The best way to assess if you are low in magnesium is to look at the symptoms above and consider how much stress you are under currently, and how much stress you have been under for the last few years.
If you are depleted in magnesium, you will need a supplement. Food is ok to maintain levels if you eat plenty of magnesium rich foods and have a very well balanced diet, but you will not reverse deficiency with food alone. In clinic I will also sometimes use HTMA testing which is a hair mineral tissue analysis to test mineral reserves, the balance between minerals and also to assess heavy metals in the body as they displace minerals.
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Not all magnesium supplements are the same. Yes magnesium is magnesium, but producer’s bind the mineral to different substances that effect absorption. If your gut is not properly functioning, your absorption will also be compromised.
Some poor forms will cause you a sore stomach as they have poor absorption. Some of these forms are even marketed as laxative’s in different areas of the health store.
Magnesium glycinate and citrate are two of the better forms. If you have some of the more severe symptoms above, I would highly recommend working with me to look at all factors involved. If you don’t get to the root then you are just masking the problem. I take a holistic and individual approach.
In my practice I use a lot of magnesium for a lot of different health considerations so have a really good idea of what to use and when. I also prescribe practitioner only forms of magnesium, like Magnesium Threonate which can cross the brain blood barrier rapidly and is great for mental health support or rapid, acute support.
If you would like to give magnesium a go, I would avoid buying the cheapest magnesium supplement you can find. You are not really saving money if you are not absorbing the magnesium in the supplement. Magnesium is best given in 150mg doses, spaced a few hours apart. For most people 2 doses will be sufficient.
I’ve written about how Magnesium helps with PMS and perimenopause here and here. It also helps many more conditions as so many of our body processes rely on magnesium. It is important for both energy and relaxation.
If magnesium alone is not providing relief with any of the symptoms or conditions listed above, then I suggest a consultation to get to the root of the issue. Magnesium is only one of the minerals that you may need and when it comes to minerals, balance is key.
As a Holistic Nutritionist I am an expert in mineral deficiencies and getting to the root of why they exist and can also offer testing where necessary.
Most of my clients are busy A type Women who are suffering the ill effects of stress. It is also very important to address lifestyle issues to help you reduce stress, and protect your precious reserves of magnesium. You can read some lifestyle tips here
I am also happy to announce I now have mini 20 minute stress specific consultations. You can read more about what is involved here, They are a great taster for working together.