6 Reasons Women Need Magnesium

The foods you eat contain a range of vitamins and minerals that contribute to your overall health. Magnesium is mineral and electrolyte that is essential to many functions in the body, from relaxing your muscles to creating your main energy molecule, ATP. Magnesium is essential to help convert other nutrients in your body into energy, per the Cleveland Clinic. Too little of the mineral can cause muscle spasms or twitching, but not enough of it can lead to irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and feelings of weakness. Magnesium is essential for everyone, but it plays a few especially important roles for women.

Magnesium Helps During Pregnancy

Pregnancy applies extra stress to your bones as the fetus grows. While calcium is typically the mineral associated with bone health, research shows that magnesium plays an important role in keeping bones strong as well. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, severe deficiency during pregnancy may lead to pre-eclampsia. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to poor fetal growth. The good news: In a study in Advanced Biomedical Research, pregnant women who supplemented their diet with magnesium had fewer pregnancy complications and better maternal health than those who did not. Per Nutritional Reviews, the U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 310 mg daily for females aged 19–30 years and and 320 mg daily for women 31–50 years.

Magnesium Regulates Blood Pressure

More than 44% of women in the U.S. have hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that’s you, your physician may talk to you about blood pressure medication, but you should know that magnesium has been shown to play a key role in regulating high blood pressure naturally. The potent mineral helps dilate blood vessels and prevent spasms in your heart muscle and blood vessel walls. A review of research in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that magnesium intake of 500 mg to 1000 mg a day may reduce blood pressure as much as 5.6/2.8 mm Hg. On the other hand, the review also found contradictory evidence on this topic, suggesting more research is needed.

Magnesium Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Even though calcium and vitamin D get most of the spotlight in supporting bone health, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. According to research in the journal Nutrients, “Magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis directly by acting on crystal formation and on bone cells and indirectly by impacting on the secretion and the activity of parathyroid hormone and by promoting low grade inflammation.”

Magnesium Reduces Symptoms of PMS

Does your monthly cycle send your emotions into a tailspin? Consider snacking on magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds or avocados: A double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial suggests magnesium can significantly improve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, including mood changes. A review of the literature also suggests that taking a magnesium supplement in combination with vitamin B6 may have more benefits on PMS than the mineral alone.

Magnesium May Ease Pregnancy-Induced Leg Cramps

If you’re among the pregnant women who experience painful leg cramping, you’re not alone: It’s one of the most common complaints of pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also reports that too little magnesium, as well as deficiencies in potassium and calcium in the diet, can contribute to leg cramps. But that doesn’t necessarily mean supplementing with more magnesium, if yours is already at normal levels, will help matters: A review of 11 clinical trials in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions found little difference in pregnancy-associated leg cramps for women who took magnesium supplements versus those who did not.

Magnesium May Relieve Migraines

Women get migraine attacks at a rate of tktkt compared with men. Evidence suggested that people who have migraine also may have lower levels of magnesium than people who do not. Meanwhile, several studies suggest that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. The American Migraine Association provides information about magnesium and migraine prevention. It’s worth noting that magnesium supplements come in several different forms which have different levels of effectiveness for migraine, according to research in the journal Nutrients. Talk with your doctor about using magnesium to help lessen migraine frequency, and which form to take.

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