According to a study by Gynecology Endocrinology, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are 19 times more likely to have a magnesium deficiency.
There are a number of reasons why magnesium deficiency is so common among women with PCOS.
But it’s likely to be due to some combination between poor soil concentrations of magnesium that lead to magnesium deficient foods, stress, lack of fruits and vegetables, certain medications such as birth control, and insulin resistance.
To learn more about magnesium deficiency, check out my video below.
WHAT IS MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.
It is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines.
Its importance is demonstrated through its involvement as a cofactor in more than 600 enzyme systems that regulate important reactions in the body.
Notable reactions with which it is involved include:
• Blood glucose control
• Blood pressure regulation
• Creating proteins from amino acids (protein synthesis); essential for muscle development
• Regulating neurotransmitters (brain chemicals - responsible for your mood)
• Converting food into energy (cellular energy production).
All of the above reactions contribute to the health of your brain and body, which makes magnesium an essential mineral; especially for those who have PCOS and are likely to have a deficiency.
Magnesium, then, is a core staple supplement for women with PCOS.
However, it is not merely because of its involvement in reactions within your body.
It’s also because of its ability to help a range of PCOS symptoms, some of which are seen as almost unbearable.
Without further ado, let’s explore why you should consider supplementing with magnesium.
BENEFITS OF MAGNESIUM FOR PCOS
IMPROVES INSULIN RESISTANCE
70% of women with PCOS will have insulin resistance - that’s 7 in 10 women!
For those women, this means that insulin resistance is driving their excess androgens, which are causing unwanted symptoms.
The most common symptoms include hirsutism (hair growth), hair loss, acne, weight gain, and menstrual cycle irregularities.
In a nutshell, magnesium improves insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity.
What does this mean?
Basically, magnesium allows insulin to ‘unlock’ your cells in order to take in glucose.
And in doing so, it will regulate blood glucose and insulin levels thus improving any associated symptoms like weight gain and androgen (testosterone) excess, and sugar cravings.
EASES MENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS
According to the Nutritional Magnesium Association, any suffering related to menstrual cycles is unnecessary, and the solution to this suffering is magnesium.
And it’s because magnesium can decrease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), significantly.
Common symptoms include mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches and poor sleep.
Research shows that supplemental magnesium can be helpful in stabilising the mood.
Demonstrating this is its ability to reduce the symptoms people experience when they have mild depression or anxiety.
In fact, a recent review of 18 studies published in Nutrients, showed that magnesium intake has a beneficial impact on people with anxiety.
Low serotonin levels have also been observed in women with magnesium deficiency.
However, research suggests that supplementing with magnesium may help to increase serotonin levels.
This is amazing due to the nature of serotonin, and its role within the body:
It’s a brain chemical that works to deliver messages between nerve cells, and is often associated with mood, emotions, cognitive function, and appetite.
Let’s shift focus to another important neurotransmitter - GABA.
This brain chemical is classified as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which promotes sleep and encourages relaxation.
Studies show that magnesium plays an important role in maintaining healthy GABA levels.
Not only can magnesium help you get to sleep, but it plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well.
In one study, older adults were given 500 mg of magnesium or a placebo.
Overall, the magnesium group had better quality of sleep.
HELPS TO EASE INFLAMMATION
Chronic, low-grade inflammation is an issue facing many women with PCOS.
And this can lead to magnesium deficiencies due to higher magnesium requirements to counteract the inflammation.
However, a daily magnesium supplement could reduce the levels of inflammation that could lead to exacerbated PCOS symptoms.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
A review of 9 studies, published in Nutrition Journal, found that as magnesium levels increase blood pressure decreases.
A new meta-analysis, published in 2016, further illustrates magnesiums’ effectiveness:
People in studies who took magnesium supplements had lower blood pressure after people who did not take magnesium supplements.
This was published in the journal, Hypertension.
RECOMMENDED DOSAGE FOR MAGNESIUM
The optimal daily dosage of magnesium is anywhere between 200mg - 500mg.
There are plenty of foods such as avocados, leafy greens, nuts (almonds), seeds, and whole grains that are a good source of magnesium.
Though this may not be sufficient for women with PCOS, due to the likelihood of a deficiency.
That’s why supplementing with magnesium is a great way to ensure that you’re maintaining sufficient levels.
There are many types of magnesium supplements. They include:
So many, aren't there?!
But don’t feel overwhelmed, they’re all very similar in terms of their mechanism of action within the body.
WHERE TO GET MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS
Local chemists and pharmacies generally stock the different types of magnesium.
The extensive number of types, though, tend to add complexity when deciding which magnesium supplement is right for you.
We however, at Healthy PCOS, have in stock high-quality magnesium citrate capsules.
And this specific type, and the quality of the capsules allow for fast absorption.
Each capsule contains 200mg of magnesium, so taking one to two capsules daily should begin to make a positive impact on your PCOS.
If you’re interested in supplementing with magnesium for PCOS, learn more about our Magnesium Citrate.