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Why women may need magnesium

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Impressively, magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the human body. It’s a wonder mineral for women everywhere. Naturopath Jennifer McLennan explains.

5 reasons to take magnesium for women’s health

#1 Bone health

Women are susceptible to bone loss, particularly after menopause, when bone loss increases. Magnesium is an important mineral in helping to maintain healthy strong bones. Along with calcium, magnesium is very important in maintaining bone health, and helping to prevent calcium levels in the blood from getting too low.

#2 Menstrual cramps

Magnesium can be used for the relief of painful menstrual cramps. Magnesium is thought to reduce mediators that can cause cramps and pain, and help with muscle relaxation.

#3 PMS

Symptoms of bloating, breast tenderness and weight gain pre-menstrually may be improved with taking magnesium. Adding vitamin B6 to magnesium for help with anxiety symptoms during the pre-menstrual days may have added benefits.

#4 Mood and anxiety

Women suffer from a greater incidence of low mood throughout their lives, possibly due to hormonal fluctuations. And unfortunately those of us who experience feelings of low mood may have higher amounts of pain and inflammation in the body. Lower than normal magnesium levels have been associated with lower dopamine levels. Dopamine helps with feelings of relaxation and attentiveness, whereas low dopamine levels can increase anxiety, and irritability symptoms.

#5 Menstrual migraine

Many of the women suffering from migraines report a link between their migraine headache attacks and their menstrual cycle with longer and more sever attacks also occurring during this time. Magnesium may help minimise the number of menstrual migraine attacks experienced by women.

What foods is magnesium found in?

Magnesium is commonly found in a wide variety of wholefoods, including grains, nuts, seeds and cereals.

Table of foods adapted from Food Standards Australia

Bread, mixed grain 37 mg
Rolled oats (boiled) 24 mg
Flour, wholemeal, plain 103 mg
Flour, white, plain 34 mg
Rice, brown, boiled, with added salt 49 mg
Rice, white, boiled, with added salt 13 mg
Hazelnut 160 mg
Sesame seed 340 mg
Cashew nut, raw 250 mg
Almonds, raw 260 mg

High amounts of calcium (eg over 1000 mg) can interfere with magnesium absorption. Therefore to maintain adequate magnesium levels it’s important to take magnesium in conjunction with your calcium to help maintain healthy bones.

References available on request