best magnesium for menopause

Understanding Magnesium for Menopause: Your Comprehensive Guide

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Herbs & Supplements, Perimenopause/ Menopause Leave a Comment

Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman's life, marked by hormonal changes that can bring about a myriad of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, fatigue, and night sweats. Using magnesium for menopause symptoms, as well as for support of cardiovascular, bone, and brain health, is one way to help ease the transition.

 Magnesium, particularly in the form of highly-absorbable magnesium glycinate, has been shown to offer numerous benefits for women's health and hormones.

This article explores the numerous benefits of magnesium for menopause, ranging from improved sleep and muscle function to enhanced bone health and reduced anxiety.

You'll learn about the importance of obtaining enough magnesium during menopause, including from foods as well as supplements, to provide benefits such as:

  • Maintenance of bone mineral density
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Fewer hot flashes
  • Alleviation of depression symptoms
  • Maintenance of heart health and blood pressure
  • Boosted energy levels and reduced fatigue
  • Mitigation of stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels
  • Protection against cognitive decline and dementia risk
  • Regulation of blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity

Best Type of Magnesium for Menopause

Magnesium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that's needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions and processes within the body. Yet deficiency in magnesium is common, affecting around 30% of adults in developed countries or possibly more, which is why oral magnesium supplements is often recommended. We'll discuss food sources of magnesium, but first, let's cover the common forms found in supplements and discuss how to choose what is best for your.

Supplementing with magnesium helps restore normal levels and manages magnesium deficiency symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and mood swings, all of which are often exacerbated by menopause.

Magnesium supplements come in various forms, each with unique properties and benefits. Here's a brief summary of the different types of magnesium:

  • Magnesium glycinate: Magnesium glycinate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium, bound to glycine, an amino acid known for its calming properties. It's the best magnesium for menopause when getting better sleep and feeling a sense of relaxation is the goal. This combination enhances magnesium's bioavailability, making it easier for the body to absorb and utilize. It's also gentle on the stomach and unlikely to have laxative effects, making it suitable for those with sensitive digestive systems (which is many menopausal women).
  • Magnesium citrate: Citrate is a salt form of citric acid, which helps magnesium absorb efficiently in the body. This form is commonly used to support bowel movements and relieve constipation due to its laxative effect.
  • Magnesium oxide: Research has shown that magnesium oxide supplementation can be effective at helping to reduce hot flashes with minimal side effects. Several studies have found evidence that relatively high dosages of magnesium oxide, up to 1200 mg/day, can have positive effects on reducing hot flashes due to its ability to maintain the balance of hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. That said, while magnesium oxide has a high magnesium content, it has lower bioavailability and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people. It's often used as a laxative for occasional constipation but is not the best option for long-term use.
  • Magnesium sulfate: Also known as Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate is typically used externally in baths to soothe sore muscles and promote relaxation. It's absorbed through the skin rather than through the digestive system, so it's not taken by mouth like other mag supplements.
  • Magnesium chloride: This form of magnesium is well-absorbed and can offer benefits for cellular health and detoxification. It's often used in topical applications or as a dietary supplement.
  • Magnesium threonate: This newer form of magnesium has shown promise for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially supporting cognitive function and brain health. It's often used to support memory and overall cognitive performance, especially among aging adults.
  • Magnesium malate: This well absorbed form of magnesium is beneficial for supporting energy production, which is why people will use it to feel more energized. 

Advantages of Magnesium Glycinate

In menopause, magnesium glycinate is often a preferred type due to its gentle nature on the stomach and superior absorption. Women in menopause commonly experience digestive issues, such as bloating and constipation, which can be further triggered by other forms of magnesium but is rare with mag glycinate (also sometimes abbreviated mg glycinate).

Magnesium glycinate is particularly beneficial for menopausal women who may struggle with absorption issues or who have high-stress levels. Mag glycinate has been shown to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and can support sleep quality.

Magnesium bis-glycinate is the primary ingredient in my Magnesium Plus supplement, which is designed to give you all the benefits of easily absorbed magnesium, such as improved sleep, reduced muscle discomfort, and support for bone health without causing digestive issues like diarrhea.

How Magnesium (Especially Mag Glycinate) Helps Women During Menopause

Magnesium glycinate supplementation can be useful for addressing various menopausal symptoms and can support overall health and quality of life. For example, low magnesium levels are associated with heightened inflammatory markers and oxidative stress, as well as a higher incidence of depression and menopause symptoms like hot flashes. Therefore, increasing your mg glycinate intake is a smart way to offset these issues.

Here's more about how magnesium for menopause works to support women in menopause and during the post-menopausal years:

Anxiety and Depression

Menopause can trigger mood swings, anxiety, and depression in some women. Studies show that lower levels of magnesium intake are correlated with a higher risk of depression among menopausal and post-menopausal women, in part because magnesium is needed to produce enough serotonin and norepinephrine, two “feel good” chemicals.

Magnesium glycinate has a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to alleviate anxiety and improve mood stability. And, because higher magnesium status is inversely associated with depression, the more magnesium a woman consumes during menopause, the lower her risk of depression may be.

Improved Sleep

Magnesium glycinate has been shown to have calming properties that help relax muscles and nerves, promoting better sleep quality. This is particularly beneficial for menopausal women who often experience sleep disturbances due to hormonal changes, including declining estrogen and progesterone.

Bone Health

Menopausal women are at increased risk of bone loss and being diagnosed with osteoporosis because of drops of hormones such as estrogen, as well as increased oxidative stress and inflammation.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in bone health throughout a woman's life by enhancing calcium absorption and supporting bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and bone-related issues.

A higher intake of magnesium with vitamin D may help improve bone density. Additionally, magnesium is known to have a beneficial role in inflammation and oxidative stress, both risk factors for decline in bone density and many other age-related conditions.

Magnesium deficiency can reduce active vitamin D levels, resulting in compromised bone mass and increased fracture risk. This is especially a concern among postmenopausal women who already have elevated risks due to low estrogen.

Energy and Stress Management

Symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings can contribute to increased stress and fatigue.

Magnesium glycinate can support energy metabolism, thyroid function, cardiovascular function, and neurotransmitter production while aiding the body in coping with the effects of stress, thereby promoting overall well-being and vitality during menopause.

Muscle Function and Mobility

Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function, including relaxation and contractions and reductions in pain and discomfort.

Menopausal women often experience some degree of pain, muscle cramps, and spasms, but magnesium glycinate can help alleviate these symptoms by supporting optimal muscle function and managing inflammation.

Heart and Metabolic Health

Magnesium is involved in maintaining heart rhythm and vascular tone, as well as insulin sensitivity.

Magnesium glycinate may help regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar balance, and support overall cardiovascular health, lowering the risk of heart disease and related complications in menopausal women.

For example, research suggests there's an inverse relationship between magnesium levels and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker that is linked to chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Higher magnesium intake has been found to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Brain Fog and Memory

Magnesium has been shown to be beneficial for brain health, possibly playing a role in neurodegenerative prevention. It is also an important nutrient for those who suffer from migraines.

As discussed, magnesium help with stress reduction and supports the body's adaptation to stress. Because stress can negatively affect memory and contribute to brain fog, magnesium's ability to mitigate some of the effects of stress may also be why it can be beneficial to brain health.

Signs of Low Magnesium + Challenges Obtaining Enough

Despite its importance, many menopausal women struggle to obtain adequate magnesium in diet form alone.

Research suggests that optimal magnesium intake for aging brains may be upwards of 550 milligrams per day, far surpassing the recommended daily allowance and the amount that most adults consume on a regular basis.

This highlights the need for magnesium supplementation in many cases, particularly with a highly absorbable form like magnesium glycinate, to meet the body's increased demands during menopause.

Common Symptoms of Low Magnesium

Recognizing the signs of low magnesium is crucial, including during menopause when hormonal fluctuations can exacerbate deficiencies. Considering some of these low magnesium signs look a lot like symptoms of menopause, it's worth discussing magnesium with your doctor.

Symptoms of low magnesium can include:

  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Indigestion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood-related issues
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Higher risk for osteoporosis and bone health issues
  • Poor sleep

How Much Magnesium Per Day for a Woman Over 50?

For women over 50, including those experiencing menopause, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is between 320 to 600 milligrams per day.

While 320 mg/day is the minimum amount to aim for, emerging research suggests that about 550 mg/day is the sweet spot for providing benefits for the nervous system, such as cognitive support and lower risk of dementia in aging adults.

That said, recommendations for magnesium intake vary depending on someone's hormonal status, stress levels, and overall health. Generally speaking, the bigger your body size, the more active you are, and the greater your stress levels, the more magnesium you need on a regular basis.

Recommended daily allowances (RDA) for magnesium depend on age and are as follows:

  • Females (14 to 50 years): 320 to 360 mg/day
  • Females (51+ years): at least 320 mg/day
  • Pregnant women: 350 to 400 mg/day
  • Lactating women: 320 to 360 mg/day

If you're concerned about how much magnesium to take, discuss your needs with a healthcare provider. Otherwise, as a general guideline, aim to consume under 600 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day to avoid potential side effects.

Potential Side Effects of Magnesium Glycinate and Other Mg Supplements

While magnesium supplementation is generally safe, some people can experience mild side effects when taking too much, such as digestive discomfort or diarrhea when taking certain forms, like magnesium citrate.

These effects are typically dose-dependent and can often be mitigated by lowering the dosage or opting for alternative forms of magnesium.

For example, magnesium citrate and oxide are more likely to have laxative effects, while glycinate is less likely to. Try taking less or switching the form of magnesium you take if you experience side effects. As mentioned above, glycinate is usually gentle on the stomach and a good option for those who are prone to diarrhea.

Taking too high of a dose of magnesium glycinate, especially all at once, in some cases can cause digestive upset or even kidney issues. Low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and muscle weakness can occur in some individuals who supplement with a very high dose. 

The key takeaway: more magnesium glycinate or supplements is not always better. If you have any preexisting health conditions, it is important to discuss magnesium supplementation with your licensed healthcare provider.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

Supplementation is an effective and convenient way to boost magnesium levels; however, it's not a substitute for a healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

In addition to supplementing with magnesium, continue to incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet, such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes — as these are all excellent sources of other essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, too.

The best dietary sources of magnesium include:

  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats)
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Edamame

Key Takeaways on Magnesium Benefits for Menopause

In conclusion, magnesium glycinate is a valuable ally for menopausal women seeking to manage symptoms and support overall health and well-being. By understanding its benefits, addressing potential deficiencies, and incorporating magnesium-rich foods into their diets, women can navigate the menopausal transition with greater ease and vitality.

Interested in optimizing your hormonal health during menopause? Explore my hormone kit for comprehensive support.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.