Magnesium is an essential mineral that is crucial for our bones, muscles, heart, brain, immune system and nerve health. After all, it’s critical for 300 different body processes and is a natural anti-inflammatory. But what is the connection between magnesium and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)? A very important one, indeed! And sadly, women with PCOS could easily become magnesium deficient, thus worsening their PCOS symptoms.
Magnesium And PCOS: Benefits Of This Nutrient
Magnesium can help a variety of PCOS symptoms. From controlling blood sugar to improving sleep and boosting energy, this essential mineral is particularly critical for PCOS patients.
It Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Research has shown that women with magnesium deficiency are at 19 times higher risk of PCOS than those with normal magnesium levels. PCOS patients with insulin resistance can exhibit significantly lower serum levels of magnesium, further linking magnesium and PCOS. Insulin and blood sugar balance is critical to reversing PCOS. The good news is that magnesium can enhance the secretion of insulin, thus facilitating sugar metabolism. According to trial studies, increasing dietary magnesium intake can improve insulin resistance.
It Helps Fight Fatigue & Stress
Always tired? You may be magnesium deficient. Magnesium is critical for the functioning of the nervous system and adrenal glands. Magnesium deficiency contributes to fatigue and mood disorders. Low levels of magnesium are linked to exaggerated stress response as well as depression. Magnesium regulates cortisol levels to calm your nervous system and prevent excessive cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone; excessive levels of cortisol are not good for you health.
It’s Crucial For Heart Health
You probably already know that PCOS increases your risk of heart disease. By improving insulin resistance and stress response, magnesium improves your heart health. Additionally, magnesium helps relax all muscles; remember, the human heart is also essentially a muscle. Adequate magnesium levels also help prevent the deposition of calcium in the inner walls of blood vessels, preventing hardening of arteries.
It Has Natural Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Magnesium is nature’s very own anti-inflammatory mineral. Since PCOS is linked to chronic low-grade systemic inflammation, a magnesium supplement is great for PCOS management.
It Helps Control Weight
Magnesium is required for both proper glucose utilization and insulin signalling. Without adequate magnesium, insulin and glucose levels are elevated. Excess glucose gets stored as fat, contributing to belly fat. A magnesium supplement helps improve blood sugar control, stress response and low-grade inflammation, which is why it can also aid in PCOS weight loss.
It Promotes Good Sleep
For PCOS patients, sleep is crucial for blood sugar control, mood disturbance, energy levels, weight control, and hormonal balance. A magnesium supplement before bedtime is a natural cure for insomnia. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, thus helping you relax and drift off to sleep. Additionally, magnesium is crucial for the production and regulation of melatonin – the natural sleep hormone of your body.
It Keeps Blood Pressure In Check
PCOS patients are at an increased risk of high blood pressure. Insufficient magnesium levels in the body can cause blood vessels to spasm, which leads to high blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to high cholesterol levels.
Keeps PMS Symptoms at Bay
If you have PCOS, chances are that your periods bring with them cramping, pain, migraines, and bloat. Magnesium is a natural detoxifier, muscle relaxant, and anti-inflammatory. As a result, it helps alleviate PMS symptoms — like mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches and poor sleep.
It Fights Depression
PCOS increases your risk of depression and other mood disorders. Studies have found a variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including different types of depression, can be linked to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is crucial for the release and uptake of serotonin – the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ brain chemical. With adequate magnesium levels, your body produces sufficient serotonin, promoting emotional balance.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
- Poor farming practices have led to depletion of magnesium levels in the soil
- A diet rich in processed and refined foods devoid of natural magnesium
- High levels of stress
- Insulin resistance
- Frequent alcohol intake
- Birth control pills (which are often prescribed for PCOS)
Since most symptoms of magnesium deficiency are very similar to PCOS symptoms, it may be a good idea to supplement with additional magnesium.
4 Ways To Up Your Magnesium Intake
The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Magnesium for women is between 350 and 400mg. But, experts like Dr. Mercola recommend that this figure is on the lower side, and daily intake of around 700mg might be better for PCOS patients. Here’s how you can increase your magnesium intake:
Eat more foods rich in magnesium
All leafy green vegetables like kale, kelp, spinach, and chard are rich in magnesium, as are nuts and seeds. Quinoa, buckwheat, and oats are other good natural sources of magnesium. Another excellent source is homemade bone broth.
Try Magnesium supplements
Before you buy magnesium supplements, know that not all forms of magnesium are the same. Magnesium Glycinate/Bisglycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that is more readily absorbed. The typical dosage is 500-1000 mg magnesium daily. Always take it with meals to facilitate absorption. I personally prefer to take magnesium supplements after dinner, as it also promotes restful sleep.
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath facilitates the absorption of magnesium sulphate via the skin. Don’t worry if you don’t have a bathtub. Soaking your feet in a tub of water with Epsom salts will also do the trick.
Magnesium oil that comprises of magnesium chloride is another great option for topical application and absorption of magnesium via skin. This method works particularly well for those who experience tummy issues when taking magnesium supplements (magnesium citrate is often the culprit).
It’s always wise to discuss with your doctor before starting any magnesium supplements, oil or spray. This is especially important for those with pre-existing heart or kidney disease.
If you have a positive experience to share about magnesium and PCOS, we would love to hear from you!