The One Mineral our Pharmacists Can’t Recommend Enough for Hormone Support
When it comes to supporting our bodies with vitamins, minerals and nutrition, it hardly ever crosses our minds on just how important they are to our endocrine (hormone) system, or even contemplate which ones are vital to our endocrine organs. I always like to throw this analogy out there to emphasize just how important hormones and their functions are to our patients. If you make the analogy that your physical body is akin to a computer – in essence, a whole bunch of hardware – then that hardware NEEDS proper running software to make it work correctly. And that’s what hormones are for us. They provide the software to run all of the major systems within our bodies. Those hormones also need to bind to receptors on cells to work correctly – and so those receptors and supporting them also becomes vital.
And if there is one supplement that I can’t tell enough of our patients about and how it supports so much of our vital processes, its Magnesium. Let's take a closer look at this amazing mineral.
For starters, magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals found in the human body. Magnesium can be found in an array of different foods, such as spinach, soy, nuts, wheat, and black beans.
Some researchers claim that the average human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium with as much as 60 percent of that being found in the bones.
In the body, magnesium plays a part in hundreds of systems that regulate things like:
Blood glucose control
Therefore, if the body is not getting enough magnesium, multiple systems will be detrimentally affected.
When the body is stressed, the human body essentially DUMPS its magnesium stores! So, when the body is going through periods of hormonal turbulence such as perimenopause, menopause or polycystic ovarian syndrome, magnesium supplementation will be sorely needed to both restore what the body is eliminating, and provide much-needed support for hormone levels.
1. Magnesium Supports Stable Blood Sugar Levels
Numerous hormones are responsible for regulating your blood sugar levels, including insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, cortisol, and more. Lower levels of magnesium may mean these hormones are also unstable. In fact, people who have diabetes are more often than not magnesium deficient. Therefore, supplementing with magnesium may be an important way to keep blood sugar levels regulated. Research has shown that magnesium may help with both insulin sensitivity and glucose control.
2. Magnesium Supports Steroidal Hormone Production
For progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen—magnesium is actually essential for your body to even produce or regulate these hormones. Therefore, getting enough magnesium in your everyday diet or taking a good supplement of this mineral could mean support for everything from fertility and sexual health to menopause and PCOS.
3. Magnesium Calms the Nervous System
Magnesium actually plays a role in regulating the stress control center in your body, which is technically referred to as the HPA axis. This central command center is also like your central hormone system, so when it’s properly functioning, your body is getting more regulatory support for the various hormone levels.
4. Magnesium Supports Better Sleep
Sleep is critical to your body's ability to support healthy hormone levels, and magnesium may actually be the key to helping you make sure that you sleep better. When your body has adequate levels of magnesium, GABA neurotransmitters, which actually promote sleep are at healthier levels. When GABA levels are promoted, this helps to regulate stress hormones in the body that can actually get in the way of getting good sleep.
5. Magnesium May Help Slow the Aging Process
Magnesium is necessary for your body to properly use antioxidant enzymes, including some that are extremely important to things like cellular turnover and skin renewal. For example, if your body does not get enough magnesium, you can’t properly utilize or produce glutathione, which is one of the most important antioxidants when it comes to human health and aging.
6. Magnesium Supports the Thyroid
Magnesium is essential for the body to produce thyroid hormones, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that may quiet inflammation related to auto-immune disorders like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis that can affect the thyroid. Animal studies have shown that lacking magnesium may even cause direct damage to the thyroid gland.
7. Magnesium Keeps Mitochondria Healthy
8. Magnesium Helps Vitamin D Do Its Job
Vitamin D is absolutely essential to hormonal support, but supplementing with vitamin D alone may not be enough. Without enough magnesium, the body may not even absorb or utilize vitamin D properly. Therefore, it is important to have a good ratio of both important nutrients for hormonal support.
Magnesium deficiency can present in different ways depending on the severity of the deficiency. When magnesium levels first start to affect the human body, you can expect:
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
As the deficiency worsens, symptoms can also worsen. A few signs that you are severely magnesium deficient include:
Numbness and tingling
Muscle contractions and cramps
Abnormal heart rhythm
Low calcium and potassium levels
What is magnesium good for beyond hormonal support?
Magnesium serves so many important purposes in the human body. The mineral is especially important to functions of the heart, and it supports the many biochemical pathways in the body that need to be healthy in order to protect you from illness and disease. In one 12-year study of over 14,000 men and women, those with normal magnesium levels were 38 percent less likely to experience sudden cardiac death.
Are there any magnesium side effects to worry about?
Magnesium supplements are not likely to cause any harmful side effects if you are healthy and take it in daily recommended allowances. With that being said, magnesium has been known to cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. The gastrointestinal side effects may be signs that you need to take a different form of magnesium.
Magnesium is available in different forms, such as magnesium oxide, sulfate, and carbonate. These forms are not often absorbed well by the body, which means they can cause problems with diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea. You are less likely to experience these side effects by taking magnesium chelate – which is what our pharmacists will always recommend.
If you experience headaches and diarrhea, these may be signs to lower your daily intake.
What is the recommended magnesium daily intake?
The National Institutes of Health states that the recommended daily allowance of magnesium for adults over the age of 31 should be 420mg daily for men and 320mg per day for women. While you’re not likely to experience adverse effects by eating magnesium-rich foods, if you take too much magnesium in supplement form, you will be more likely to experience digestion upset. Therefore, it is important to stay within the recommended guidelines for supplementation.
Will Magnesium interact with any of my medications?
Magnesium can interact with, or affect the absorption of other mediations, especially with certain diuretics, heart medications, antibiotics (tetracyclines & quinolones), and thyroid medications (take your thyroid on an empty stomach). If you’re unsure if magnesium will interact with one of your medications, reach out to one of our pharmacists.
We Carry the Best Magnesium Supplement
Some medical professionals estimate that as much as 68 percent of the adult population could be magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency means that many people could also not be getting the hormonal support their body needs. Therefore, finding a good, highly absorbable magnesium supplement that is easy on your GI system is vital.
Not to worry, we’ve done the homework for you.
The pharmcaists at Harbor Compounding Pharmacy always recommends Ortho Molecular Products' Reacted Magnesium to patients who feel they need more magnesium for hormonal support. The supplement is made with magnesium amino acid chelate, which has been shown in scientific studies to offer:
2.3 times greater absorption than magnesium carbonate
5.6 times greater absorption than magnesium sulfate
8.8 times greater absorption than magnesium oxide
The magnesium in this particular product has also been shown to eliminate menstrual discomfort at sufficient levels and have a reduced laxative effect compared to other forms. If you want the most bioavailable, stable supplement that is more likely to do your hormone levels some good, be sure to ask one of our pharmacists about Reacted Magnesium.