Did you know that your magnesium levels become depleted as we age? Did you know that low levels of magnesium cause an increase in stress, which then triggers a depletion in your magnesium even more? It becomes a vicious cycle.
Why do we need Magnesium?
Magnesium is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. It also helps to relax the muscles and nervous system. We get magnesium from plant and animal foods and our minimum dietary requirement is around 300-400 mg per day. Some sources like leafy greens are excellent sources, providing about 150 mg per cup (cooked), but many foods provide less than 50 mg per serving making it a challenge for some people to meet their daily needs through diet alone. Some research also suggests that levels are in decline because our soils are becoming magnesium deficient, making it even more challenging to get what we need from food.
Magnesium vs. Table Salt
Many of us know we need to reduce our salt intake and when we think of magnesium we think of Epson Salt, a salt, right? Actually, table salt is made up of sodium and chloride and we get plenty of this type of salt in the foods that we eat. The danger with too much sodium, as well as too much chloride, is that both can raise blood pressure. However, magnesium is a mineral, not a salt.
Perimenopause and Menopause
Melatonin levels naturally decrease with age and are especially low at night This decrease is seen during perimenopause as the melatonin levels start to naturally reduce. Increasing your intake of magnesium supports your sleep as magnesium works alongside melatonin to control your body clock and sleep-wake cycles.
Magnesium is also critical for bone strength. As we age and see a deficiency in magnesium so is the increased possibility of osteoporosis.
Up to 60% of menopausal women experience insomnia or difficulty sleeping. Compared with premenopausal women, those transitioning through menopause, known as perimenopause, report significantly higher rates of poor sleep — in particular, waking up throughout the night. Studies have shown that magnesium may promote sleep by regulating your body’s circadian rhythms, known as the body’s natural clock, and increasing muscle relaxation
Depression is a common symptom among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Studies have found that adequate magnesium levels may alleviate depressive symptoms as magnesium plays a key role in brain function, mood regulation, and stress response.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in postmenopausal women. Though menopause does not cause heart disease, post-menopausal women are at an increased risk of high blood pressure due to factors like decreased levels of estrogen, stress, and lower levels of magnesium.
The Bottom Line
Most menopausal women have inadequate magnesium levels, putting them at greater risk of poor health. However, magnesium can be added daily through the foods we eat such as dark chocolate, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains as well as through pills and supplements.
Yep, one more supplement to add to our increasing daily supplement routines. However, a better alternative to get your magnesium in is through the transdermal (topical) application. Creams and lotions provide an effective method of supplementing magnesium levels compared to other methods such as oral magnesium supplements.