Magnesium For Perimenopause

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Overview

Menopause is a period seen in a person assigned female at birth (AFAB), it is when the ovaries stop releasing eggs (oocytes). Menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, although some may experience changes from as young as 20 years. Menopause has been classified into three phases, these phases include:

  • Perimenopause: It describes the years preceding menopause. In these years, periods can become irregular as the ovaries start running out of eggs 
  • Menopause: It is the time when menstruation ceases
  • Postmenopause: It is said to occur when a person hasn't experienced menstruation for 12 months or more

During perimenopause, AFABs become less fertile and begin to experience unwanted and uncomfortable symptoms as a result of fluctuations in hormone levels. Periods might become heavier and/or irregular and with varying days in each cycle.

Due to the fluctuation in oestrogen levels during perimenopause, most AFABs can experience metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus and insulin insensitivity, as well as deficiencies of essential minerals in the body.

It, therefore, becomes imperative to consume a diet rich in antioxidants (e.g., beta-carotene) and minerals including magnesium. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine may also help to reduce and alleviate menopausal symptoms.

How does magnesium affect perimenopause?

Magnesium is the fourth most important essential mineral required by the human body.1 This is because magnesium is needed for the proper functioning of your muscles and nerves, as well as for the formation of bones and teeth. Magnesium also has a supporting role in the normal functioning of the heart muscle, protein and DNA synthesis, as well as maintenance of electrolyte composition in bodily fluids.2

Oestrogen has a positive effect on bone mass, thus preventing osteoporosis (a process that leads to bone resorption and loss). Hence, it may be necessary to supplement the diet of perimenopausal AFABs who are at risk of osteoporosis. Studies show that low serum magnesium is associated with low bone density both in pre and postmenopausal AFABs.3 There is also some evidence to show magnesium levels in osteoporotic postmenopausal individuals are lower than those of non-osteoporotic individuals.4

Magnesium has been found useful for both  the prevention and treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), as well as premenstrual and/or perimenopausal syndrome.

Many perimenopausal adults also experience insomnia which has been linked to low magnesium levels.

Which magnesium is best for perimenopause?

Adequate intake of magnesium is extremely beneficial in AFABs and  individuals of all ages. However, perimenopausal and menopausal adults are encouraged to include magnesium supplements in their diet because of the increased risk of bone fracture, oxidative stress and inflammation which preclude health issues including  osteoporosis, cancer, gastritis, asthma, insulin resistance etc.

Several studies have suggested that magnesium supplementation may improve some symptoms that accompany the years prior to menopause. Magnesium supplements exist in several forms, however, the choice of which magnesium would be most effective depends largely on your underlying health status.

  • Magnesium citrate: Magnesium citrate is the most common magnesium supplement available because it is relatively inexpensive and easily absorbed by the body.  Magnesium citrate is a mild laxative and would therefore be a suitable form of magnesium for you if you are in the perimenopausal phase and experience constipation. However, it is important to consider that magnesium citrate may be unsuitable if you have loose bowel movements
  • Magnesium taurate: Unlike magnesium citrate, magnesium taurate has no laxative effect. It is the best choice of magnesium supplement for perimenopausal  individuals who have cardiovascular disease since it is known to prevent arrhythmias and protect the heart from damage. Magnesium taurate is also easily absorbed
  • Magnesium malate: Magnesium malate is a great choice for people suffering from fatigue which is a common symptom in perimenopause. This is because malic acid is an important component of enzymes that have a key role in ATP synthesis and energy production. It may also help to prevent abdominal muscle cramping. It is highly soluble and easily absorbed
  • Magnesium chloride: Although magnesium chloride  contains approximately 12% elemental magnesium, its absorption rate is fast and it is known  to boost a sluggish metabolism

How much magnesium should I take for perimenopause?

The recommended dietary allowance of magnesium is between 310 and 400 mg per day. The best way to get enough magnesium is by eating a varied diet. This can be achieved by eating magnesium-rich foods such as dark green vegetables, peas and beans, cereals, wheat bread, fish, dried apricots, and nuts.

Side effects and other concerns

  • Antibiotics: Magnesium can decrease the absorption of some antibiotics 
  • Blood pressure: When taken together with blood pressure medication, magnesium supplements can decrease your blood pressure to drastically low levels
  • Cardiac arrest: Larges doses of magnesium can cause laboured breathing and low blood pressure which can lead to cardiac arres
  • Digestive distress: You might also experience gastrointestinal disturbances if you take normal doses of magnesium supplements. These disturbances can include but are not restricted to abdominal cramping, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
  • Kidney disease: Individuals with kidney disease find it difficult to clear magnesium supplements from the body and are at risk of developing hypermagnesaemia (magnesium toxicity)
  • Larger doses of magnesium supplements can cause laboured breathing and even coma

It is important to seek medical advice and disclose any other medications you might be taking to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements.

Summary

People experiencing menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms can  experience a lot of undesirable sides that can often be reduced by modifications to diet and lifestyle. By introducing dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, soybeans, avocados, bananas and yoghurt, for example, into the diet, you can increase your consumption of magnesium significantly. Oral supplementations are also available, and although,  magnesium plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the body it is not devoid of undesirable side effects.

You, therefore, need to consult your doctor before you proceed to take any medication. 

References

  1. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in prevention and therapy. Nutrients [Internet]. 2015 Sep 23 [cited 2023 Aug 22];7(9):8199–226. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/ 
  2. Zaloga GP. Interpretation of the serum magnesium level. Chest. 1989 Feb;95(2):257–8. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0012-3692(16)33270-6 
  3. Castiglioni S, Cazzaniga A, Albisetti W, Maier JAM. Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients [Internet]. 2013 Jul 31 [cited 2023 Aug 22];5(8):3022–33. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775240/ 
  4. Brodowski J. [Levels of ionized magnesium in women with various stages of postmenopausal osteoporosis progression evaluated on the basis of densitometric examinations]. Przegl Lek. 2000;57(12):714–6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11398593/

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Abigail Akhigbemen

MSc, Pharmacology&Toxicology, University of Benin, Nigeria

"As a pharmacist in academics, I find fulfilment in teaching, researching and writing. I have a passion for and am inspired by the pursuit for solutions to pressing disease and factors that affects mental health and wellness.I have taught a wide range of health and drug-related topics to Medical, Pharmacy, Science laboratory, Physiotherapy and Medical laboratory science students for the past 7 years, designing and supervising their undergraduate thesis/project."

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