It is estimated that up to 30% of women can experience moderate to severe PMS. It wasn't until the early 1940s that PMS was documented as a medical condition, and now, more than 50 years later, research has uncovered a set of 150 symptoms linked to this syndrome. Researchers continue to publish positive results from studies that focus on natural supplements (botanical extracts, vitamins, and minerals) that help maintain hormonal balance, readjust neurotransmitters, and reduce inflammatory prostaglandins, all of which underpin the physiology of premenstrual syndrome. One nutrient in particular that appears in many studies is magnesium. Here's why this mineral can help you turn down the volume on your monthly PMS drama.
Women with PMS often have low magnesium levels
During the 7 or 10 days (luteal phase) leading to the woman's period, the combination of fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone, nutrient deficiencies, and neurotransmitter imbalances trigger a wide range of emotional, physical, and physical symptoms. conduct. Science is still uncovering the mechanisms behind premenstrual syndrome, but magnesium deficiency during the luteal phase is considered to be one of the factors. An Italian study revealed that magnesium deficiency is common in women suffering from PMS and noted that, in a 2-month clinical trial, the administration of a daily magnesium supplement from day 15 to the first day of the menstrual cycle helped to decrease menstrual discomfort. Another study by Dr. Guy Abraham and Joel Hargrove, Doctors of Medicine (MD), also indicated that women with PMS had low levels of magnesium in their red blood cells, and concluded that the increase in Stress hormones quickly deplete magnesium reserves, allowing PMS to trigger.
There are many studies linking magnesium with many different aspects of PMS, indicating that magnesium is a necessary supplement for hormonal balance.
- Headaches and menstrual migraines.
Researchers have discovered a strong connection between estrogen hormones and migraine headaches, which is why migraines tend to affect women more than men. Episodes of cluster headaches and menstrual migraines (a particular subtype of migraine that occurs 2 or 3 days before menstruation) can be a common, and debilitating, factor of premenstrual syndrome for many women. Low estrogen levels tend to leave a woman vulnerable to headaches and migraines, but it is the actual decrease in estrogen that triggers these painful symptoms. Many women with menstrual migraines find that their migraines disappear during pregnancy or after menopause, since estrogen levels remain constant during these stages. Among natural products, there is some evidence that supports supplementation with magnesium, phytoestrogens, and ginkgolide B, but it is magnesium that seems to be getting the best results. Researchers have discovered that a lower migraine threshold may exist due to a magnesium deficiency and that magnesium supplementation helps reduce the intensity of migraine pain and improve premenstrual headaches.
- Cravings and appetite
About 40% of women with PMS notice an increased appetite and cravings for sugary or starchy foods. Studies indicate that these women produce higher amounts of insulin during this phase of their cycle, leading to poor blood sugar control. Following a glycemic index or glycemic load (GI or GL, respectively) diet can be beneficial. Studies indicate that magnesium supplements support insulin production, control insulin sensitivity, and help control blood sugar, which, in turn, helps calm cravings and appetite.
- Weight gain and bloating
An estimated 66% of those with PMS experience weight gain, swelling, breast discomfort, and swelling of the hands, feet, or face before menstruation. The low magnesium content in the luteal phase produces an increase in the levels of the corticosteroid hormone aldosterone, responsible for the water balance. High levels of aldosterone cause sodium retention and potentiate further loss of magnesium, and this is shortly followed by fluid retention. Reducing stress and embarking on a diet low in sodium or without added sodium (salt) is highly recommended.
In 1998, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by Dr. Ann Walker and published in the Journal of Women's Health, after two months of magnesium supplementation, the results showed a 40% reduction in premenstrual fluid retention, breast discomfort and bloating, as well as a significant reduction in weight gain and swelling of the hands and legs.
- Anxiety and mood swings
By far one of the most common premenstrual problems is anxiety, which affects approximately 80% of women with PMS. It is often accompanied by tension, mood swings, irritability, and nervous tension caused by elevated levels of "stimulant" factors such as estrogens, serotonin, and adrenaline, without adequate "pain relievers" such as dopamine and glutamate. There is a relationship between low magnesium levels and the way neurotransmitters are released in the brain: when magnesium levels are low, dopamine and glutamate release are also reduced. Lack of these two neurotransmitters increases anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms.
Eliminating caffeine, reducing foods high in saturated fat, and reducing stress is a good starting point, but providing a magnesium supplement is also beneficial. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine found that the combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium supplements produced a remarkable synergistic effect and exerted a positive impact on PMS, mood swings, irritability, and nervous tension.
- Low mood and depression
Another symptom linked to mood, applicable to almost 30% of women with premenstrual syndrome, is depression, often accompanied by crying, feeling overwhelmed, insomnia, clumsiness and withdrawal. Calcium and magnesium work together in many areas of health. Having low magnesium in the luteal phase is also believed to cause calcium to drop and this reduces the release of acetylcholine and glutamate, triggering mood swings and opening the door to low serotonin and depression. In a 1991 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers studied whether magnesium supplements could improve the mood of women affected by PMS. The results revealed that magnesium supplementation produced improvements in those suffering from "negative mood states." Including tryptophan-rich foods in your diet is also a good idea: bananas, egg white, turkey, chicken, fish, yogurt, cottage cheese, peanuts, oatmeal, and pumpkin seeds.
PMS is a condition with multiple factors, influenced by nutritional deficiencies, lifestyle, neurotransmitter balance, and hormonal fluctuations that all women are likely to experience at some point in their lives. Making dietary changes, reducing alcohol consumption, and increasing exercise help maintain hormonal balance. Magnesium supplements offer tremendous support at times when life's stress destabilizes the natural rhythm of your menstrual cycle. This mineral has been shown to be useful for many of the symptoms associated with PMS.