Magnesium is an important mineral for the proper biochemical functioning of the human body, including proper thyroid and kidney function as well as the secretion of endocrine factors such as insulin, cortisol, and melatonin (factors affecting weight, stress, and sleep). It is also involved in mood regulation, bone health, and regulating the menstrual cycle.
Magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common, but many people do not even know they are deficient. Because of its range of uses within the body, supplemented magnesium may help reduce symptoms of menopause, namely night sweats.
This article will discuss:
- How magnesium affects night sweats
- Thee best magnesium supplements to use
- Howw much you should take, and
- Anyy potential side effects that you may experience
How does magnesium affect night sweats
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body; however, magnesium deficiency is prevalent in up to 15% of healthy women. There is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that magnesium plays an important role in many physiological conditions throughout a woman’s life. Oral contraceptives have been proven to affect magnesium levels, and optimal magnesium levels during perimenopause have been shown to counteract symptoms of inflammation.
During menopause, women experience a range of symptoms, including hot flushes, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, and a decrease in muscle mass. These symptoms are generally due to the decline in oestrogen production. Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms experienced by women during this period, with up to 79% of women experiencing them before the completion of the menopausal transition.
An increase in the sensitivity of the body’s heat regulatory system means that even the smallest increase in temperature can trigger supernormal responses. Where normally a slight increase in temperature would cause minimal sweating or skin redness to cool the body down, these mechanisms go into overdrive, leading to hot flushes. It is thought that the sudden decrease in oestrogen levels mimics a withdrawal, which may be a cause of the increased heat sensitivity and hot flashes.
There have been multiple studies that suggest that magnesium supplementation can help with night sweats and hot flashes. However, due to the fact that we know magnesium plays a role in many different biological processes and that a larger percentage of the population is deficient without even knowing it, little harm can be done by ensuring you get your daily recommended amount, and if it does help you with hot flashes, that’s another win!
So while it has not been definitively proven that magnesium supplementation directly improves hot flashes and night sweats, studies have shown general improvement in menopause symptoms when magnesium supplements are included to support a balanced diet. However, magnesium supplements can come in multiple forms, and it is also possible to meet your daily magnesium needs through food alone, so how do you know what is best for you?
Which magnesium is best for night sweats
Magnesium supplements can vary from tablets and capsules to gummy vitamins and drinks. But not all supplements are equally effective, and not all may be right for you. There are a few things to look out for when choosing the right magnesium supplements to make sure you get the highest-quality products that are the most effective.
What to look for
Magnesium citrate is one of the most commonly used and preferred magnesium supplements. It has a high bioavailability, meaning that it is easily absorbed throughout digestion and therefore is gentle on the gut. This is important because if you are taking supplements daily, you don’t want to be causing yourself any more discomfort!
The next thing you want to look for is non-buffered magnesium. Sometimes, in order to make things cheaper, manufacturers will mix magnesium with other molecules, for example, magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is cheap and not readily absorbed by the body, often leading to digestive issues (It works as a sort of laxative as it moves through the body). This is definitely something to stay clear of.
How else can you increase your magnesium intake?
If you find that taking supplements is not right for you, you may want to try a different approach. There are many food sources that you can include in your diet to increase your magnesium intake, and they include:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
One of the reasons many people do not get enough magnesium in their diets is due to their reliance on overly processed foods and lower intake of vegetables and unprocessed foods. However, if you make an effort to diversify your diet by including more of the foods listed above, you could meet your magnesium goals as well as increase your consumption of other minerals. If you take this approach, it is a good idea to have your magnesium levels checked via a blood test, as your magnesium intake will likely be reduced compared with direct supplementation, so you may still not meet your recommended amount.
How much magnesium should I take for night sweats
Your recommended magnesium intake depends on many factors, including age, sex, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, which are all important factors to consider. According to the NHS, the general recommended daily amount for magnesium intake is around 270 mg per day for women aged 19–64. ,
However, you may require more, depending on your personal circumstances. It is possible to take higher doses for a short period of time, but for ongoing menopause symptoms such as night sweats, a more sustainable, lower dose is recommended. If you do choose to have a higher intake of magnesium, up to 400 mg, it is recommended that no more than 350mg of this come from supplementation so that it doesn’t upset your stomach (the rest should come from food).
High dose supplements can cause nausea, diarrhea and cramping in some people, whereas excess magnesium from food can be removed via the kidneys and urine, meaning that it is ok to eat foods high in magnesium but taking high dose supplements is not recommended. Therefore, begin with a lower dose of daily magnesium, bringing your total to just under 300mg per day. This will also allow you to adjust your diet accordingly to meet your goals.
Side effects and other concerns
As mentioned, the type of magnesium supplement you choose can determine the side effects that you might experience. But it is important to note that even the best supplements can cause side effects.
The main side effects you may experience are:
Additionally, it may be that you do not notice a significant difference in the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats. Taking all of this into consideration, you may decide to stop taking magnesium supplements altogether, opting to try and get more magnesium in your diet instead.
The main focus of this article has been the use of magnesium for night sweats during menopause. However, if you are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats but do not believe you fit into a category for menopause, it is recommended that you consult your doctor, as there may be another underlying cause.
Evidence for magnesium significantly improving night sweats and hot flashes is scarce, and more research is currently in progress, but it does appear that many people have felt the benefits of magnesium supplements. Overall, magnesium is important for a range of biological processes, and ensuring you get your daily recommended amount rarely does any harm, but be wary of the potential side effects of higher-dose supplementation and ensure your chosen supplements are high quality and easily absorbed.
- Park H, Parker GL, Boardman CH, Morris MM, Smith TJ. A pilot phase II trial of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes in breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2023 Jun 1]; 19(6):859–63. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085555/.
- Magnesium for Menopause Symptoms: Everything to Know. Verywell Health [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 1]. Available from: https://www.verywellhealth.com/magnesium-for-menopause-5225584.
- Does Magnesium Really Help Hot Flashes? [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 1]. Available from: https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/does-magnesium-really-help-hot-flashes.
- D.O DMM. A Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Single Blinded Trial of 400mg of Magnesium Glycinate BID Investigating the Body’s Structure/Function Role of Hot Flashes. [Internet]. clinicaltrials.gov; 2021 [cited 2023 May 31]. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03564665.