Magnesium For PMS


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is caused by changes in your body before menstruation. This can induce physical and emotional changes, and the severity varies depending on the person and their cycle. Typical symptoms include:

  • Hormonal Acne
  • Bloating
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Fluid Retention in the Hands and Feet
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Food Cravings
  • Increased Irritability
  • Mood Swings 
  • Social Anxiety
  • Lack of Focus
  • Depression
  • Changes in Sexual Desire 
  • Difficulty Sleeping 

Role of magnesium for PMS

Clinicians frequently prescribe magnesium for a variety of issues related to women's health. Here are some examples:

  • Management of Stress: Magnesium provides a calming effect on the nervous system. Elements of the limbic hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are sensitive to magnesium hence reducing its activity in the body. This results in reduced anxiety, less cortisol, and a much better experience when coping with stress1
  • Improves Endocrine Disorders: Studies have been able to find a correlation between magnesium supplementation and the improvement of metabolic responses such as insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).2  One study in particular focused on the benefits of the co-supplementation of magnesium, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D in patients with PCOS. The 12-week  study proved to show improvements in insulin metabolism for all 30 women that were given the supplements3
  • Alleviates Period Pain and Cramps: Magnesium, when taken regularly, helps lower the severity of period pain by calming the muscles in the uterus and reducing the production of prostaglandins in the body, which are responsible for the pain.4 This also offers an alternative for women not keen on using painkillers for treatment
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Magnesium deficiency has been associated with poor sleep, anxiety, and, in some circumstances, insomnia. It has been discovered that taking magnesium on a daily basis can aid sleep time and quality.5  It regulates many of our body systems and helps to control our circadian rhythm.6 This may also help with restless leg syndrome (RSL), a common ailment that creates a strong desire to move the legs.7 Though evidence is limited, one study revealed that consuming magnesium for 4 to 6 weeks improved sleep quality by 10% in patients5
  • Hormonal Headaches and Migraines: These headaches are frequently started a few days before a woman's period begins. According to studies, the main reason for this is low oestrogen levels, therefore the symptoms appear close to the first day of bleeding. Magnesium supplementation lessens the likelihood and intensity of symptoms associated with this, therefore decreasing premenstrual headaches8
  • Weight Gain and Bloating: During PMS, women are more prone to experience temporary symptoms such as weight gain, bloating, and hand and foot swelling. Low magnesium levels during the end of a woman's menstrual cycle, before bleeding begins, cause a rise in the hormone aldosterone. This hormone promotes sodium (salt) retention at higher levels, resulting in these symptoms. Magnesium, along with a reduced salt diet, assists the body in preventing these symptoms. Dr. A Walker discovered that administering as low as 200 mg of magnesium daily could help minimise fluid retention during PMS9
  • Menopause and Perimenopause: The menopause phase involves multiple hormonal changes that cause numerous symptoms such as mood swings, cognitive fog, hot flashes, decreased sex drive, recurring urinary tract infections, and many other physical indicators.10 These symptoms can persist for years and fluctuate over time, making magnesium supplementation essential to promoting a healthy, more balanced stress response.11 Additionally, as oestrogen production falls, the risk of osteoporosis rises; the benefits of magnesium are sometimes overlooked in this context. Magnesium supplementation will help to slow the rate of reduced bone growth and bone fragility12
  • Cravings: The strong craving to eat a specific meal or food during the PMS period might be controlled with regular magnesium supplementation. This was discovered to be caused by fluctuations in estradiol and progesterone levels.13 Furthermore, when these desires are satisfied, the body releases serotonin, the happy hormone. This makes fighting urges more challenging14

Effects of magnesium deficiency in PMS

Magnesium deficiency is also known as hypomagnesemia. Symptoms usually do not develop until magnesium levels are exceedingly low.  Symptoms will include:15

  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Higher Blood Pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Osteoporosis

Women at a higher risk of this whilst experiencing PMS include, those with gastrointestinal problems, type II diabetes, and those with alcohol dependence.15

How much magnesium should I take for PMS

The daily magnesium requirement for women aged 19 to 64 years is 270mg. Higher doses of up to 500 mg are indicated for those experiencing more severe cases e.g. premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Greater amounts are typically used for a short period of time, and there is a lack of information regarding the effects of magnesium at higher doses.16 A balanced and varied diet is a simple approach to meet the necessary dietary requirement; magnesium-rich foods include:15

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice 

If your doctor has advised you to take magnesium supplements, you should be aware that there are different forms. Magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate is highly recommended because it is the easiest to absorb and has the fewest adverse effects. Magnesium bisglycinate provides additional advantages because it enhances insulin sensitivity.17 It is important to note that magnesium is a laxative, so it should not be used at night.18

Other supplements that work well with magnesium to alleviate PMS symptoms include:

  • Vitamin B6: A 2000 study from the University of Reading discovered that Vitamin B6 is effective in raising low moods in individuals who suffer from PMS - 40-50 mg daily is recommended19 
  • Evening Primrose Oil: Though there is a lack of proof, clinical trials suggest that this herbal supplement helps relieve PMS symptoms.20 The recommended dose for PMS treatment is 500-6000 mg taken up to four times per day. It is advised to begin with the lowest dose and gradually increase to the most beneficial dose for yourself


PMS symptoms can sometimes be managed or lessened by making the following lifestyle changes:

  • Following a healthy and balanced diet can be accomplished by minimising your salt intake and selecting meals high in calcium and complex carbs. Caffeine and alcohol consumption should also be limited because they can cause symptomatic triggers during the menstrual cycle
  • Incorporating exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can assist to improve not only physical health but also other symptoms such as depression and fatigue
  • Reduce stress by improving your sleep hygiene, which means getting enough hours of sleep on a regular basis. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga are some other stress-relieving techniques

It is always recommended that you speak to your  doctor first to ensure you can get the most appropriate support to help you.


  1. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress—a systematic review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2017 Apr 26 [cited 2023 Jan 10];9(5):429. Available from:
  2. Morais JBS, Severo JS, de Alencar GRR, de Oliveira ARS, Cruz KJC, Marreiro D do N, et al. Effect of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance in humans: A systematic review. Nutrition. 2017 Jun;38:54–60.
  3. Jamilian M, Maktabi M, Asemi Z. A trial on the effects of magnesium-zinc-calcium-vitamin d co-supplementation on glycemic control and markers of cardio-metabolic risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Arch Iran Med. 2017 Oct;20(10):640–5.
  4. Parazzini F, Di Martino M, Pellegrino P. Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review. Magnes Res. 2017 Feb 1;30(1):1–7.
  5. Hornyak M, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, Berger M, Riemann D. Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study. Sleep. 1998 Aug 1;21(5):501–5.
  6. Vital nutrient has key role in keeping body clocks running on time [Internet]. ScienceDaily. [cited 2023 Jan 13]. Available from:
  7. Restless legs syndrome [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 13]. Available from:
  8. Seelig MS. Interrelationship of magnesium and estrogen in cardiovascular and bone disorders, eclampsia, migraine and premenstrual syndrome. J Am Coll Nutr. 1993 Aug;12(4):442–58.
  9. Walker AF, De Souza MC, Vickers MF, Abeyasekera S, Collins ML, Trinca LA. Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention. J Womens Health. 1998 Nov;7(9):1157–65.
  10. Menopause - symptoms [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 13]. Available from:
  11. Seelig MS. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (A review). J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Oct;13(5):429–46.
  12. Ryder KM, Shorr RI, Bush AJ, Kritchevsky SB, Harris T, Stone K, et al. Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Nov;53(11):1875–80.
  13. Krishnan S, Tryon R, Welch LC, Horn WF, Keim NL. Menstrual cycle hormones, food intake, and cravings. FASEB j [Internet]. 2016 Apr [cited 2023 Jan 14];30(S1). Available from:
  14. Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Carbohydrate craving, obesity and brain serotonin. Appetite [Internet]. 1986 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Jan 14];7:99–103. Available from:
  15. Office of dietary supplements - magnesium [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  16. Vitamins and minerals - Others [Internet]. NHS; 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  17. McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ. The cardiometabolic benefits of glycine: Is glycine an ‘antidote’ to dietary fructose? Open Heart [Internet]. 2014 May 28 [cited 2023 Jan 14];1(1):e000103. Available from:
  18. Mori H, Tack J, Suzuki H. Magnesium oxide in constipation. Nutrients [Internet]. 2021 Jan 28 [cited 2023 Jan 14];13(2):421. Available from:
  19. De Souza MC, Walker AF, Robinson PA, Bolland K. A synergistic effect of a daily supplement for 1 month of 200 mg magnesium plus 50 mg vitamin B6 for the relief of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Mar;9(2):131–9.
  20. Kashani L, Saedi N, Akhondzadeh S. Femicomfort in the treatment of premenstrual syndromes: a double-blind, randomized and placebo controlled trial. Iran J Psychiatry [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2023 Jan 14];5(2):47–50. Available from:
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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Seton Ayihongbe

Master of Pharmacy (MPharm), Pharmacy, University of Hertfordshire

My name is Seton and I have pursued an MSc in Pharmacy, working to become a qualified pharmacist. Working within the community, I have observed the scarcity of trustworthy information that is available to the common public. Instead of providing basic information that might sometimes make you think a health condition is more severe than it is, my goal is to improve public understanding and assist in raising awareness to empower people and families. I hope you enjoy.

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