The Role of Magnesium in Menstrual Health
Published: 08:16AM 12 April 2023
Menstruation is a natural phenomenon that occurs in a woman's body every month. It is a sign of reproductive health and is regulated by various hormones in the body. However, menstrual health is not limited to just the regularity of periods. It encompasses a wide range of factors that contribute to a healthy menstrual cycle, such as hormonal balance, emotional wellbeing, and proper nutrition. One of the essential nutrients that play a crucial role in menstrual health is magnesium.
Magnesium is a mineral that is required for the proper functioning of various bodily processes, including the menstrual cycle. It is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Magnesium is also required for the maintenance of bone health, muscle function, and energy production.
What are the effects of magnesium deficiency?
Research has shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, menstrual cramps, and PMS symptoms. Magnesium helps to regulate the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body, which are essential hormones for the menstrual cycle. It also plays a role in the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for the contraction and relaxation of the uterus during menstruation. Low levels of magnesium can lead to an increase in prostaglandin production, which can cause menstrual cramps and pain.
Magnesium deficiency can have several negative effects on menstrual health. Some of these effects include:
1.Inconsistent menstrual cycles: Magnesium deficiency can cause hormonal imbalances, resulting in irregular menstrual cycles.
2. Menstrual cramps and pain: Magnesium helps to produce prostaglandins, which are responsible for the contraction and relaxation of the uterus during menstruation. Low levels of magnesium can lead to an increase in prostaglandin production, which can cause menstrual cramps and pain.
3.PMS Symptoms: Magnesium deficiency can exacerbate PMS symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.
4. Insomnia: Magnesium can help with insomnia by promoting relaxation and lowering stress and anxiety levels. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia and sleep disturbances.
5. Osteoporosis: Magnesium is required for bone health maintenance. Magnesium deficiency can cause bone density loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
6. Muscle Weakness: Magnesium is required for proper muscle function. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps and weakness.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium for adult women is 320 mg/day. However, studies have shown that many women do not consume enough magnesium in their diets. Therefore, it is important to consume a balanced diet that includes magnesium-rich foods such as:
- Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach, fenugreek are excellent sources of magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains approximately 157 mg of magnesium.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all high in magnesium. One ounce of almonds contains approximately 80 mg of magnesium.
- Whole Grains: Whole wheat, brown rice, and quinoa are all excellent sources of magnesium. One cup of cooked brown rice contains approximately 86 mg of magnesium.
- Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, and lentils are all high in magnesium. One cup of cooked black beans contains approximately 120 mg of magnesium.
- Avocado: This creamy fruit is a good source of magnesium, with one medium-sized avocado containing approximately 58 mg of magnesium.
- Dark Chocolate: Good news for chocolate lovers - dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium. One ounce of dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa) contains approximately 64 mg of magnesium.
- Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese all contain magnesium. One cup of milk contains approximately 24 mg of magnesium.
- Bananas: This popular fruit is a good source of magnesium, with one medium-sized banana containing approximately 32 mg of magnesium.
- Seafood: Salmon, halibut, and mackerel are all good sources of magnesium. Three ounces of cooked salmon contains approximately 26 mg of magnesium.
In some cases, magnesium supplements may be necessary to maintain adequate levels in the body. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen. Too much magnesium can also have negative effects on health, such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping.
Magnesium is essential for menstrual health. It regulates hormone and neurotransmitter levels in the body, alleviates menstrual cramps and pain, reduces mood swings and emotional symptoms, and improves sleep quality. As a result, maintaining adequate magnesium levels in the body is critical for a healthy menstrual cycle. This can be accomplished by eating a well-balanced diet rich in magnesium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.
At SocialBoat, we offer custom diet plans and guided workouts to help you achieve your goals in a 360-degree approach. Our gamified experience ensures that you don’t find workouts boring and we reward you for being consistent with your efforts.
- Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress-a systematic review. Nutrients, 9(5), 429. doi:10.3390/nu9050429
- Chocano-Bedoya, P. O., Manson, J. E., Hankinson, S. E., Johnson, S. R., Chasan-Taber, L., Ronnenberg, A. G., & Bigelow, C. (2016). Dietary B vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103(3), 714-725. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.114215
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium fact sheet for health professionals. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- Schuiling, K. D., & Likis, F. E. (2017). Women's gynecologic health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2019). FoodData Central. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/