Magnesium for Menopause: The Benefits and How to Get Enough

“Magnesium for Menopause” was written by soon-to-be-Registered Dietitian Nina Deuschle. Edited by Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, RDN.

If you are a woman going through menopause, chances are you’ve heard about improving your experience with magnesium. Interestingly, many of the properties of this common mineral may be able to relieve common menopause symptoms. But how do you know if you’re getting enough?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of magnesium for menopause, including how you can make sure you’re getting enough of it.

Why do our Bodies Need Magnesium?

Our bodies use magnesium to maintain strong bones, turn food into energy, balance hormones, regulate muscle function, support the cardiovascular system, balance mood, and more. It also supports the health of our nervous system.

Aditionally, diets higher in this nutrient are connected to lower rates of some chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

How are Magnesium and Menopause Related?

Magnesium for Menopause

From hot flashes to sleep problems to mood changes, menopause comes with a whole host of changes. However, magnesium may be able to help improve some common symptoms.

It makes sense when you discover that your body’s levels will probably decline during menopause.

Magnesium for Hot Flashes

Some studies suggest that magnesium might be an effective, affordable treatment for hot flashes. What’s more, it comes with very few potential side effects.

A Study of menopausal cancer patients showed that oral magnesium supplements helped lower the severity and frequency of hot flashes.

Furthermore, this supplementation has shown promise in treating hot flashes, with more than a 50% reduction in symptoms and mild side effects that are easy to tolerate.

Other studies, though, have not comfirm this finding.

This mineral supplement is safe and has minimal side effects if kidney function is normal. As a result, it’s safe for most women for alleviating hot flashes.

Magnesium for Problems with Digestion

Digestive issues are another common menopause symptom, and magnesium can address problems like abdominal cramping and constipation.

Some of these mineral supplements act as gentle laxatives. Read on to learn about the types available and what functions they serve.

Magnesium and Menopause-Related Sleeping Problems

One common symptom that can be particularly pesky is sleep disturbance. Many menopausal women report having difficulty falling—and staying—asleep.

This important mineral can help you get better-quality sleep by encouraging muscle relaxation and regulating your body’s internal clock, also known as its circadian rhythm.

Magnesium for Anxiety and Depression During Menopause

Menopausal women are vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

This nutrient plays an essential role in brain function and mood. Specifically, multiple studies have shown lower levels in people with anxiety and depression.

Magnesium and menopause

Therefore, correcting deficiencies in minerals may help reduce the risk of depression and anxiety during menopause.

Magnesium and Bone Health

Menopause is associated with osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and increases the risk of fracture.

More than half of the body’s magnesium is stored in our bones. Therefore, low levels are linked to weakened bones.

More research is needed to prove that this kind of supplementation can improve bone strength, but there is certainly an association between a deficiency and osteoporosis.

Magnesium and Heart Health

The leading cause of death for postmenopausal women is heart disease. Several factors put this group at an increased risk of developing heart disease, including high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.

Because low magnesium levels are also linked to worse heart health, it’s advisable for women going through perimenopause or menopause to consider eating more foods rich in this nutrient or supplementing, if necessary.

What are the Symptoms of Low Magnesium Levels?

Often, a deficiency doesn’t make itself very obvious. For example, you might be experiencing fatigue, muscle cramps, and digestive issues. These are all symptoms of many different conditions and deficiencies, so you might not tie them to a need for a specific vitamin or mineral.

Other signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. As the deficiency worsens, numbness and tingling in the body will develop.

If your current diet is low in plant foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, chances are you would benefit from getting more magnesium. 

Looking for easy ways to get more plants in your diet? You might be interested in this article about the plant-forward diet.

How to Get More Magnesium in Your Diet

When it comes to feeding your body with vitamins and minerals, the food-first approach is always preferred, and eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of plant foods can provide enough of all the nutrients you need.

Note that foods high in magnesium are also sources of a wide variety of other nutrients. Together, these nutrients work together and intensify each other’s beneficial properties in our bodies.

dark chocolate- a magnesium rich food

Foods high in this mineral include leafy green vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains, tofu, and fortified cereal.

Let’s take a look at the magnesium content in some commonly enjoyed foods:

  • Almonds, 1 oz: 80 mg
  • Black beans, ½ cup: 60 mg
  • Cashews, 1 oz: 74 mg
  • Dark chocolate, 1 oz: 61mg
  • Spinach, cooked, ½ cup: 78 mg
  • Soymilk, 1 cup: 61 mg
  • Peanut butter, two tablespoons: 49 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds 1 oz: 168 mg
  • Whole wheat bread, two slices: 46 mg

While it’s always preferable to get your nutrients from food, where possible, supplementation also has a time and place. This is especially true if you are looking to reap the benefits of a therapeutic dose of a vitamin or mineral.

The critical thing is to speak to your healthcare provider before changing anything about your supplement regimen. 

How Much Magnesium do You Need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 320 mg daily for women.

Although magnesium is found in many common foods, national dietary surveys show that many Americans don’t eat enough. Also, certain conditions like celiac disease, chronic alcoholism, and intestinal surgeries can lead to a deficiency.

What Type of Magnesium Supplement is Best?

You’ve spoken with your doctor and you’re at the store. You’re all ready to buy your magnesium supplement. But there are so many options that your head starts to spin.

Here’s a simple guide to some common forms available.

Magnesium Oxide

Sold in powder and capsule form, this type is mainly used for short-term digestive symptoms like constipation and indigestion.

Magnesium Citrate

This source of magnesium is naturally found in citrus fruits. This is one of the most easily absorbed forms.

It can be used to treat constipation due to its natural laxative effect.

Magnesium Glycinate

Known for its calming effect, magnesium glycinate is frequently used to reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

However, research is limited in this area, so more studies are needed before we can assume conclusive proof.

Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate has the potential to support brain health. Again, more research is needed in this area, but this form is thought to be helpful in addressing the symptoms of mood disorders.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is considered to be a great multi-purpose supplement as it is absorbed efficiently in the digestive tract. This form can be used for constipation, heartburn, and low serum levels.

Risks Associated With Magnesium Supplements

Taking high doses of magnesium can result in diarrhea, cramping, and nausea.

The best way to determine if you are deficient in this or any other mineral is to ask your doctor to check your levels and get a recommendation on the amount you need based on the results of your tests.

Getting too much of this nutrient from food is unlikely to result in any symptoms because your kidneys are able to remove any excess through your urine.

The Bottom Line

Magnesium can help to ease symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, mood swings, and poor sleep. Therefore, all women can likely benefit from adding foods rich in this mineral to their diets, although some women might also need supplements.

If you’re concerned about your magnesium levels, speak with a healthcare provider and find out if supplements are right for you.

References

Depression & Menopause. Menopause & Depression, Mood Changes | The North American Menopause Society, NAMS. https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/mental-health-at-menopause/depression-menopause. Accessed June 29, 2022.

Escobar i S-N. Morning anxiety during menopause: More common than you think! Menopause Better. https://menopausebetter.com/perimenopause-anxiety-in-the-morning-natural-ways-to-cope/. Published April 20, 2022. Accessed June 29, 2022.

Magnesium-rich food information. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food. Accessed June 29, 2022.

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. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2011;19(6):859-863. doi:10.1007/s00520-011-1099-7

Park H, Qin R, Smith TJ, et al. NCCTG N10C2 (alliance): A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014;32(15_suppl):9508-9508. doi:10.1200/jco.2014.32.15_suppl.9508

Porri D, Biesalski HK, Limitone A, Bertuzzo L, Cena H. Effect of magnesium supplementation on women’s health and well-being. NFS Journal. 2021;23:30-36. doi:10.1016/j.nfs.2021.03.003

Using magnesium for better sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/magnesium#:~:text=Magnesium%20helps%20the%20body%20relax,insomnia%2C%20sometimes%20even%20in%20combination. Published April 8, 2022. Accessed June 29, 2022.

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