Are you wondering if taking magnesium for PCOS symptoms would be helpful?
The benefits of magnesium for PCOS are an important consideration in managing the symptoms of PCOS, especially because we know that many women with PCOS aren’t consuming enough of it.
With symptoms like difficulty sleeping, anxiety, high insulin, inflammation, and conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, associated with PCOS, magnesium may play an important role in managing this condition.
In this blog post, you’ll learn what magnesium is, its role in our bodies, how it can benefit women with PCOS, and where to find it.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in over 300 functions in our bodies. It’s mostly found in our bones, brain, and muscles.
Magnesium plays a role in:
- Bone structure
- DNA synthesis
- Glucose metabolism
- Protein synthesis
- Muscle and nerve function
- Blood pressure regulation
- Thyroid function
- Adrenal functions (stress response)
How do I know if I have a magnesium deficiency?
Because magnesium is found mostly in our bones and muscles, it’s difficult to detect deficiency. Many people aren’t getting enough magnesium in their diet, but they may not notice magnesium deficiency symptoms unless it’s severe.
Nevertheless, there’s quite a few signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle cramps or twitching
- Depression, anxiety, and other mood issues
- Nausea and low appetite
- Weak bones and osteoporosis
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Painful periods
- Severe PMS symptoms
Even if you aren’t having severe symptoms like the above, you still may not be getting quite enough, which can make a difference in your health.
How much magnesium do women need?
Recommended intake for adult women is about 320mg per day. Some women may need more!
The NIH reports that most people in the United States are not getting the recommended amount of magnesium in their daily diet. One study by Asemi et al, showed that on average women with PCOS were consuming far less than the recommended amount of magnesium through food.
Another study by Sharifi et al., showed that women with magnesium deficiency are 19 times more likely to have PCOS.
There could be many reasons why people may not consume enough magnesium. It could be the lack of whole foods that contain magnesium and more of less nutrient-dense foods that are often part of the standard American diet. It could also be the lack of nutrient-rich soil in which our food grows, among other reasons.
Magnesium can also be depleted by stress and birth control pills, both of which women with PCOS often experience or use.
The Benefits of Magnesium for PCOS
- Overall Quality of Life: A 2022 study showed that magnesium supplementation had a positive effect on quality of life in women with PCOS, including improved energy and fatigue, physical functioning and emotional wellbeing.
- Decreased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Research shows that those with adequate amounts of magnesium in their diets have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS often experience insulin resistance, and more than half develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Ensuring adequate magnesium may be helpful.
- Improves Anxiety: Lack of magnesium may induce anxiety and magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve anxiety in some people. Anxiety is a commonly reported experience in women with PCOS.
- Improves Sleep and Insomnia: Some women with PCOS report difficulty sleeping and experience sleep disorders. Magnesium plays a pivotal role in sleep regulation. Although more research is needed, magnesium supplementation may help improve insomnia according to a 2018 study.
- Improves Period Pain and PMS: Many women report period pain, cramping, and severe PMS symptoms. Magnesium may be able to help. A 2017 literature review indicates magnesium supplementation was helpful in the prevention of these symptoms.
- Reduces Inflammation: Many women with PCOS experience low-grade chronic inflammation. One study showed that magnesium and zinc may be helpful in improving inflammatory markers, like c-reactive protein.
Ways to Include More Magnesium for PCOS
Foods with Magnesium
Magnesium can be found in nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. The following foods are good sources of magnesium according to the NIH:
- Pumpkin seeds (156mg/1 ounce)
- Chia seeds (111mg/1 ounce)
- Almonds (80mg/1 ounce)
- Spinach (78mg/ half cup)
- Cashews (74mg/1 ounce)
- Peanuts (63mg/ ¼ cup)
- Cereal (42mg/1 serving)
- Soymilk (61mg/1 cup)
- Blackbeans (60mg/ ½ cup)
- Edamame (50mg/ ½ cup)
- Peanut butter (49mg/ 2 tbsp)
- Potatoes (43mg/ 3.5 ounces)
- Brown rice (42mg/ ½ cup)
- Yogurt (42mg/ cup)
- Avocado (22mg/ ½ cup)
- Dark chocolate (64mg/1 ounce)
Easy Ways to Eat More Magnesium Foods
- Make a trail mix with pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, raisins, and dark chocolate
- Add a spinach salad on the side of your meal.
- Include a starch or grain, like potatoes, black beans, or rice at meals.
- Add edamame to your stir-fry.
Magnesium Supplements for PCOS
It can be difficult to get enough magnesium through food. And like I said above, most Americans aren’t consuming enough of it. Supplementing with magnesium may be something to consider.
There are actually many different forms of magnesium. Not all are created equally either. Some have less bioavailability, which means you can’t absorb them as well.
For example, magnesium oxide is not well absorbed. This makes it a good treatment option for constipation.
I prefer magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate as it is well-absorbed and doesn’t typically have the GI side effects as other forms do. It’s been shown to be helpful for mood and sleep, in particular.
Our preferred supplement brand for magnesium glycinate is Pure Encapsulations.
Magnesium citrate, lactate, l-threonate, and malate are also well-absorbed forms.
It’s typically recommended to take magnesium with food and in smaller doses throughout the day if possible.
Aside from oral supplements, you may also find magnesium in epsom salt (for bathing), magnesium spray, or magnesium-containing creams. Although, it’s not well understood exactly how much you will absorb from these products.
It is possible to take too much magnesium, but because it is water soluble toxicity is rare. Nevertheless, it can happen. Diarrhea is a symptom of toxicity. More severe symptoms like low blood pressure, nausea, and weakness could occur.
Magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications and is not appropriate for some people with heart or kidney conditions. Always talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Most people, especially those with PCOS, are not consuming enough magnesium.
Although magnesium will not cure your PCOS, it may help to manage some of the symptoms. There are many benefits of magnesium for PCOS, including better quality of life, improved sleep and anxiety, lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, improved inflammation, and alleviation of period pain and PMS.
Women need about 320mg magnesium per day.
Magnesium can be found (and is well-absorbed) through food.
But supplementation is another way to ensure adequate magnesium consumption. Consider magnesium glycinate and be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.
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