When it comes to supplements, magnesium is often overshadowed by more popular nutrients like multivitamins, vitamin D, omega 3s, and calcium, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But, at Gennev, magnesium is known as a superhero supplement because it’s made a pivotal difference in menopause symptom management for so many women.
“Magnesium was a game changer for me,” says Wendy Y. “It’s helped me to calm my nervous system, get rid of anxiety-ridden thoughts, and sleep better. I used to wake up between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and not be able to fall back to sleep. Now, I fall asleep immediately and sleep through the night. I get a deeper, more restorative sleep, so I’m calmer, more productive, and think more clearly during the day. It’s also helped with constipation.”
Magnesium, found in every cell of your body, is essential for the functioning of over 300 enzymes. It’s involved in more than 600 biochemical reactions in your body—everything from energy production and muscle and nerve function to blood sugar and blood pressure regulation and bone formation. Yet, more than half of Americans aren’t getting enough of this valuable mineral. In a study of 171 postmenopausal women, 82 percent were low in magnesium, which can greatly impact menopause symptoms and health as you age.
“The changing hormones during the menopause transition can increase risk for low bone mineral density, brain fog, poor sleep, mood shifts, increasing anxiety, increased insulin resistance, and changes in digestion,” says Stasi Kasianchuk, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Gennev’s director of health coaching. “A micronutrient in form, magnesium can have macro effects impacting multiple areas of health for peri and post-menopausal women."
Gennev customers have shared that they’ve experienced many benefits from taking this supplement consistently, including relief from joint pain, cold flashes, Restless Leg Syndrome, muscle cramps, PMS, anxiety, headaches, disrupted sleep and fatigue.
“Estrogen offers anti-inflammatory benefits and joint lubrication,” says Kasianchuk. “With estrogen levels decreasing over the menopausal transition, inflammation throughout the body can increase, and a low magnesium status may exacerbate this. Addressing the magnesium deficiency can play a role in mitigating inflammation at the joint and help to mitigate pain.”
Here are some of the greatest benefits magnesium offers based on scientific studies.
Keeps bones strong. Calcium and vitamin D tend to be the go-to supplements for bone health, but they may not be enough, especially during menopause. About 60 percent of your body’s magnesium is stored in bones, making it a key player in bone health. In a 2021 review of seven studies on magnesium supplementation, all showed increases in bone density and decreases in fracture risk.
Bones are in a constant state of remodeling, with cells called osteoclasts breaking down bone and cells called osteoblasts rebuilding bone. During your youth, osteoblasts outperformed osteoclasts resulting in more bone building and stronger bones. Their activity evens out during adulthood, and you tend to maintain bone strength and density. But as you age, osteoblasts slow down, and bone density and strength start declining. The loss of estrogen with menopause increases osteoclast activity resulting in more significant bone loss and risk of osteoporosis, low bone density that puts you at risk for fractures, and its precursor osteopenia, borderline losses in bone. Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to decrease this bone turnover in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Low magnesium levels have also been associated with osteoporosis and low vitamin D levels. A study in the journal Nutrient found that improving magnesium levels in postmenopausal women also had a beneficial effect on their vitamin D levels. When 27 healthy postmenopausal women with low magnesium took magnesium supplements for two months, they not only increased their magnesium levels but also raised their vitamin D levels. About 80 percent of the women were low in vitamin D at the start of the study. The improvement is probably due to magnesium’s essential role in the synthesis and activation of vitamin D.
Boosts mood. Magnesium plays a role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, which may explain why magnesium supplementation has been found to help ease depression and anxiety, common issues during menopause. Low magnesium levels have been associated with a greater risk of depression and more severe symptoms, according to research. In a six-week study of 126 adults, average age 52, and with mild to moderate depression, magnesium supplements alleviated symptoms with improvements noted within the first two weeks. On average, people reported a six-point decline in depression based on a 27-point questionnaire and a four-point reduction in anxiety based on a 21-point questionnaire. Some research has even found improvements in less than a week.
Unlike a sedative or anti-anxiety medication, magnesium is milder, but often effective. Kasianchuk suggests, “it’s like it turns down the volume of racing thoughts, making it feel more manageable.”
Improves sleep. Magnesium impacts bodily functions that can help you get a better night’s sleep. It’s involved in regulating your circadian rhythms, your body’s natural clock, that affects your sleep-wake cycle. It interacts with neurotransmitters that play a critical role in sleep regulations. It appears to increase melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle, and magnesium can have a relaxing effect on the body, which helps facilitate sleep. When 23 older adults with insomnia took magnesium supplements for eight weeks, they fell asleep faster, woke up less throughout the night, and slept longer, resulting in an overall better quality of sleep, compared to a control group, according to a study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.
Protects your heart. Magnesium is essential for healthy heart rhythms. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to irregular heartbeats known as arrythmias and atrial fibrillation (afib). This common heart rate disorder that causes the heart’s upper chambers to quiver and increases your risk of stroke and heart attack. In a small study, some postmenopausal women who were consuming a low-magnesium diet experienced afib and heart flutters within two months. Following supplementation, the symptoms quickly resolved. Your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in women, also increases if you’re not getting enough magnesium.
Magnesium also impacts key risk factors for heart disease, such as hypertension and diabetes. Based on research, people with adequate levels of magnesium appear to be at a lower risk for these diseases compared to those with low magnesium levels. Along with protecting against these diseases, magnesium supplementation also appears to improve these conditions. Several meta-analysis have found that magnesium can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by up to four points and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by up to three points. The improvements were even greater when magnesium was combined with antihypertensive medications, 19 points for systolic and 11 points for diastolic. Magnesium also plays a role in regulating blood sugar. In a review of 18 studies on people with diabetes or people at high risk for diabetes, magnesium supplementation improved blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.
The first step to increasing your magnesium and getting all of its amazing benefits is to eat more foods that are high in magnesium. Here are some good choices to make a part of your daily meals.
While magnesium is plentiful in a wide variety of foods, it can be difficult to get enough from diet alone, especially as you age. Only about 30 to 40 percent of the magnesium you get from food is absorbed by your body, which is why it is wise also to supplement. The recommended daily intake for magnesium is 320 mg. While high doses of magnesium, don’t seem to be a problem because your kidneys will excrete any excess, too much could lead to diarrhea, nausea, and cramping. To be on the safe side, keep your intake to no more than 350 mg.
Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms, so it can be confusing to figure out which one is right for you, and some forms can cause unpleasant side effects. “When I tried magnesium for insomnia and muscle cramps, it worked well, but it wasn't easy on my sensitive GI tract,” said Tracy P. “I was reluctant to take it every day until my doctor recommended magnesium glycinate. My muscle cramps have subsided. I'm sleeping well, and I don't have to compromise with an upset stomach to get enough magnesium."
The forms of magnesium that seem to be best absorbed by the body to raise your magnesium levels with fewer gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea include, glycinate, lactate, and malate. Magnesium glycinate seems to have a calming effect, making it particularly helpful for other menopause symptoms including anxiety, depression, stress, and sleep. Magnesium malate may help with symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but more research is needed to confirm this. Other well-absorbed types that can have a mild laxative effect are citrate and chloride, which may be helpful if you have constipation.
Magnesium oxide isn’t well absorbed, but it is an effective treatment for constipation and other digestive problems like heartburn and indigestion, and some research shows it may be helpful for migraines.
Whatever type of magnesium supplement you choose, speaking with your doctor or a Gennev Dietitian about your symptoms may reveal additional remedies and evidence-based treatments that will make your menopause transition more manageable.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.