Five Things Every Woman Should Know About Magnesium

Magnesium always seems to play second fiddle to the more popular mineral calcium, yet magnesium is involved in hundreds of essential metabolic reactions. Without magnesium your body couldn’t produce energy or build bone, you wouldn’t be able to regulate your blood sugar, and your muscles (including your heart) wouldn’t work. Yep, it’s pretty important stuff, but it is estimated that 68% of American adults don’t get enough and that American women consume only 70% of the recommended daily intake.1 2 While getting enough magnesium is critical for everyone, here are five reasons why women should be particularly diligent.

 

  1. Simply being female is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. We’ve all heard that calcium is important for bone health, and many people are now aware that vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and utilization, but what we hear less about is how magnesium is necessary for both nutrients to work effectively to create strong bones.
     
  2. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S.3 Magnesium plays many essential roles in the health of the heart and cardiovascular system, such as supporting healthy heartbeat and blood pressure, and maintaining smooth and elastic arteries.4 5
  3. Magnesium may help to improve uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS and may specifically help to manage menstrual pain through its ability to relax muscles and to reduce pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain.6 7 8
  4. Women are almost three times as likely as men to suffer from a migraine.9 Possibly due to natural hormonal fluctuations or differences in brain chemistry, whatever the reason, the difference is striking.10 Studies show that magnesium supports the vascular system and healthy levels of inflammation in the brain, both of which help to modulate the brain’s pain response.11
  5. Magnesium is the original “chill pill”; it relaxes tight muscles as well as uptight moods.

Most women today are juggling so many responsibilities that stress and fatigue is not uncommon. To make matters worse, the body uses more magnesium when under chronic stress, making the need for magnesium even greater.12

The Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium for adult women is 320 milligrams. Many holistic practitioners feel that magnesium intake should be determined by weight and recommend 6 milligrams for every kilogram (2.2 lb) of body weight.13 14 To get enough magnesium, enjoy a variety of whole, real foods like nuts and seeds; avocados; cooked leafy greens like collards, spinach and Swiss chard; and even dark chocolate. A magnesium supplement is also a good addition to ensure adequate intake, especially on those days when you might not eat perfectly. There are many forms of magnesium available, but magnesium citrate is a good recommendation for general supplementation. For more specific information about the different types of magnesium supplements available and which is best for you, check out this list.

Women’s bodies need women-specific care, and ensuring adequate magnesium is one important way to get that extra support.

Have you experienced the beneficial effects of magnesium in your life? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section.



References

[1]Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary Magnesium Intake in a National Sample of U.S. Adults. J Nutr. 2003;133(9):2879-2882.
[2]King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24(3): 166-171.
[3]Kochanek KD, Xu J, Murphy SL, et al. Deaths: Final Data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2011; 60(3):117.
[8]Ross J. The Mood Cure. New York, NY: Penguin Books; 2002.
[9]Stewart WF, Shechter A, Rasmussen BK. Migraine prevalence. A review of population-based studies. Neurology. 1994;44(6 Suppl 4):S17-23.
[14]Murray M. The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing; 1996.