Magnesium For Women

Words: Dr Richard FIRSHEIN

Women might be pleased to learn that by adjusting their diet slightly and adding daily magnesium supplements, they could banish the more unpleasant symptoms of PMS. It’s been discovered that women suffering from headaches, intense muscle cramps, and fatigue had extremely low levels of RBC magnesium, leading many researchers to conclude that such painful problems, usually treated with aspirin, or Tylenol, could be caused by magnesium deficiency.

In a study reported in Family Practice News, women were given doses of oral magnesium three times a day for two weeks prior to the onset of menstruation. This managed to reduce the severity of PMS and the duration and intensity of PMS-related migraines. A study, in the journal Headache, found that women suffering from migraines triggered by their menstrual cycle had lower levels of magnesium.

There is also a tremendous need for magnesium in the early stages of pregnancy, and researchers estimate that pregnant women only get 50-60 percent of the RDA of magnesium in their diet. Studies have shown that magnesium helps prevent migraine headaches, especially in pregnant women.

Alleviates PMS

I’ve been impressed by magnesium’s ability to alleviate PMS symptoms. One patient, Victoria Hanover, was a forty-seven-year-old executive at one of the largest banks in the world, and the mother of three. Yet she’d suffered all her life from PMS, monthly migraines linked to her menstrual cycle, and mitral valve prolapse.

When she described her symptoms, we realised that they all occurred at the same time, towards the end of the month before her period. Her symptoms worsened after drinking wine and eating bread. That was a clear sign that she had underlying food allergies, and indeed, tests showed she was allergic to yeast-enriched foods, such as [as her allergic reactions indicated] wine and bread.

I took her off these foods and treated her with multivitamins and high doses of magnesium. In the case of the heart, magnesium [240mg a day in divided doses] is essential for the normal contraction and relaxation phases of the heart. I knew we’d have to wait a month to see how she’d improve, and, to my delight, her headaches decreased significantly. They lasted for only two days, rather than a week, before her period, and were less intense. She noticed no skipped heartbeats, either — a previously troubling symptom of her mitral valve prolapse.

Symptoms during subsequent menstrual cycles continued to improve, and over the past three years, there’s been a dramatic overall improvement in her health. About a year ago, Victoria decided to stop taking her magnesium supplements. She thought she’d grown out of her phase of poor health. But her symptoms returned in the first cycle, and, by the second, they were as bad as they’d been when I first saw her. Now she’s back on those supplements and never skips them. Other patients have been able to get off them.

Even when migraines are not premenstrual, magnesium can help. A study in a journal devoted to studying only headaches evaluated eighty-one patients between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five. One group was given 600mg of magnesium daily, while the other group took a placebo. After twelve weeks, there were 41 per cent fewer headaches in the magnesium group and only 15 per cent fewer headaches in the placebo group.

Brittle Bones: Don’t Rely On Calcium Alone

Calcium builds healthy bones, right? Yes, and no. Though calcium has been hailed as an osteoporosis preventive, it is not the only answer. Magnesium is just as important. In fact, calcium may increase the risk of blockages in your heart if taken in doses that are too high. Milk moustaches on celebrities, bottles of calcium stacked on shelves in pharmacies, drugstores, supermarkets, and health food stores, and countless articles on calcium’s benefits have obscured the importance of its sister mineral, magnesium. Magnesium can combat osteoporosis too. Magnesium can help prevent fractures and increase bone density. It appears to have a direct effect on the parathyroid hormone, which is associated with low calcium levels. Many elderly patients have problems with malabsorption of minerals, and they may be using diuretics for blood pressure problems. In both cases, magnesium is excreted, and low levels of the mineral contribute to porous, brittle bones.

I advise supplementation with both calcium and magnesium as a preventive measure for all my patients who are going through menopause, or have passed through menopause already.

Dr RICHARD FIRSHEINDO, is the Founder-Director of The Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City. He is a leading innovator and authority in the field of preventative and nutritional medicine, integrating Western and Eastern medical practices. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and has served as professor of family medicine. An internationally recognised leader in the field of integrative medicine and healthy aging, a cancer researcher, prolific author and writer, Dr Firshein has written several ground-breaking books, including the bestselling Reversing AsthmaYour Asthma-Free ChildThe Nutraceutical Revolution and The Vitamin Prescription [For Life]. This article is ©Dr Richard Firshein.

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