Updated: Nov 5
Looking for ways to improve your menopause symptoms? Check out this guide on the health benefits of magnesium for menopause including; how to increase magnesium in your diet, the best magnesium supplements for menopause, as well as other helpful tips.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body need for proper hormone production, energy levels, mood regulation, healthy bones and overall health.
Magnesium plays an important role as co-factor in hundreds of biochemical reactions throughout your body.
It’s found in many foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, leafy green vegetables, some fruits and vegetables, as well as supplements.
How does magnesium help with the menopause?
As estrogen levels drop during perimenopause, there is reduced magnesium absorption in the intestines, increased loss in the kidney and increased loss from bone (Avinash 2013).
Magnesium is involved in calcium metabolism and in the synthesis of vitamin D, and in maintaining bone integrity.
Around 20 percent of the population in studies do not consume enough magnesium and those with lower magnesium intakes have higher rates of osteoporosis and fractures (Rondanelli 2021).
As we age our hormone production decreases, and during menopause, estrogen levels plummet. This can lead to menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue and depression.
Low magnesium levels also increase our risk of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Taking a magnesium supplement for menopause is one way to help support your body during this transition by helping to maintain healthy hormone and energy levels.
What are the benefits of magnesium for menopause?
Here are the highlights of magnesium health benefits during perimenopause.
1. Magnesium is essential for bone health
Magnesium is required for strong dense bone structure. Sixty percent of magnesium is stored in your bones. Bones are continually remodelling.
Low magnesium levels can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis during menopause due to lower estrogen levels and decreased magnesium absorption and increased magnesium loss through the kidneys and from the bones, resulting in low bone mineral density.
Low magnesium also reduces secretion of parathyroid hormone, resulting in lower calcium absorption which also impacts on bone remodelling, as well as creating low grade inflammation, that weakens bones and contributes to many long term conditions (Castiglioni 2013).
Magnesium helps strengthen bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
Women who consumed higher than the recommended intake of magnesium had higher bone mineral density in a 7 year study of over 73,000 women (Orchard 2014).
2. Magnesium can help with menopausal hot flashes, night sweats and fatigue
Women who experience hot flashes and night sweats who have breast cancer and are unable to find an alternative to menopause hormone therapy often struggle to find a satisfying alternative.
Magnesium has been used in clinical trial of women who had breast cancer and were experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Women used 400mg of magnesium oxide at bedtime for 2 weeks or 400mg twice daily after 2 weeks if no improvement in symptoms occurred.
The study found women had a greater that 50 percent decrease in fatigue, distress due to hot flashes, and severity of abnormal sweating (Park 2011).
3. Magnesium Is Beneficial For Sleep In Perimenopause & Menopause
Both estrogen and magnesium play important roles your circadian body-clock which regulates your sleep/wake cycle.
With declining estrogen and declining magnesium levels, perimenopausal and menopausal women often experience poor sleep from a variety of sleep disturbances including;
difficulty falling asleep or
waking early in the morning.
Each of these disturbances reduce sleep quantity and quality and can impair brin function during the day and create significant fatigue and impact of function and wellbeing.
A small trial that included postmenopausal women found that using 414mg magnesium oxide twice per day increased:
sleep time and
and it reduced;
the time it took to fall asleep (sleep latency) and
blood cortisol levels indicating better rest and less stress in their system (Abbasi 2012).
4. Magnesium For Heart Health in Menopause
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death for women and that risk increases significantly with menopause. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart disease.
Magnesium is essential for relaxation of the heart muscles and blood vessels, reducing the pressure and damage in the cardiovascular system.
Magnesium with taurine supplementation benefits heart health by;
improving insulin resistance and blood sugar levels,
reducing plaque development in the arteries,
prevents abnormal heart rhythms and palpitations, and
stabilizes platelets - making them less sticky and less prone to clotting (Housten 2011).
5. Magnesium and Mood
As the body’s levels of estrogen decrease during menopause, many women experience depression and anxiety. Magnesium helps support mood by stabilizing neurotransmitters and a healthy nervous system.
Magnesium also reduces cortisol levels which is a stress hormone that gets released in response to emotional or physical stress. This can help reduce panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
One study of the general population, found that the lowest magnesium levels were found in women who had symptoms of depression (Sun 2019).
A study of postmenopausal women found the lowest magnesium levels in women with depression symptoms and the highest magnesium levels in women without depression symptom.
The authors suggested that inadequate magnesium levels could create a higher vulnerability to depression post-menopausal women (Szkup 2017).
Of note the authors also noted that higher copper levels also indicated an increased vulnerability to depression in postmenopausal women.
What Is The Best Form Of Magnesium For Menopause?
There are many types of oral magnesium supplements available to help you meet your daily requirements.
The ability for the supplement to be well absorbed is more important than using a higher dose of magnesium.
Here’s a list of our top picks of magnesium:
Organic forms of magnesium are generally better absorbed and include:
Inorganic forms of magnesium are poorly absorbed so are best avoided unless combined with an organic form of magnesium.
Magnesium chloride – this type helps to support healthy digestion and helps maintain electrolyte balance in
Magnesium oxide – this form is inorganic magnesium and it is poorly absorbed unless paired with an organic form of magnesium such as magnesium glycerophosphate where it has superior absorption (Blancquaert 2019).
Studies using magnesium supplementation in the form of magnesium citrate, magnesium carbonate or magnesium oxide. The effective dose to increase bone mineral density and reduce fracture risk is 250 to 1800 mg daily (Rondanelli 2021).
FAQs/Frequently Asked Questions
What are magnesium rich foods?
Foods that are high in magnesium include a number of plant-based foods such as:
dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach leaves,
nuts such as peanuts, cashews and almonds
seeds such as pumpkin seeds and chia seeds
legumes, such as edamame and soymilk
dark chocolate - yum!
You may be at risk of low magnesium intake if you eat a standard western diet high in processed or convenience foods that is low in plant foods or follow a ketogenic diet long-term.
What is the recommended daily magnesium intake?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 320 mg daily for perimenopausal and post-menopausal women (Nutrient Reference Values ANZ) .
How much magnesium should you take for menopause?
During menopause aim to get adequate magnesium through your diet by eating a variety of plant foods.
You can also top up your intake with a magnesium supplement. Most studies use 400mg once per day or twice per day. The limiting factor in using magnesium is usually diarrhea. If you experience this reduce the amount of magnesium supplement you are using.
Should I get a magnesium blood test?
Over 60 percent of your body's magnesium is stored in bones. Only 0.3 percent of total body magnesium is in your serum, of which these blood levels are kept within a strict range.
By the time a blood test shows you have low magnesium levels, you likely have low body stores and significant magnesium deficiency.
If your blood test is normal, you really do not know what your whole body stores are, so a normal magnesium cannot reflect whole body magnesium status.
If you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or have had a fracture without an injury or trauma, you may have low body magnesium stores and should supplement with magnesium.
What side effects can be caused by taking magnesium supplements for menopause?
Most people can take magnesium without any side effects.
Too much magnesium in a supplement may cause diarrhea, stomach upset and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, reduce your dose or switch to a different form of magnesium.
If you have kidney disease or heart failure it is important to talk to your doctor before supplementing with magnesium as there are some interactions that may occur.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for that support bone health, optimal brain function, heart health and adequate sleep.
Many plant foods are rich in magnesium as well as many other vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are anti-inflammatory and good for long term health.
Magnesium supplements can be used to reduce perimenopausal symptoms alongside hormone replacement therapy or lifestyle changes or as a stand alone treatment.
Dr Deb Brunt is a specialist GP and menopause doctor in Dunedin, New Zealand and also provides menopause health coaching internationally to support optimal health habits for aging well so you can live your best life.
Schedule a free discovery call with her to learn more.
Further Reading about Magnesium for Menopause
Avinash S. et al. (2013). Magnesium Metabolism in Menopause. In: Hollins Martin, C., Watson, R.,
Preedy, V. (eds) Nutrition and Diet in Menopause. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. doi:10.1007/978-1-60327-924-6_5.
Rondanelli M, et al. An update on magnesium and bone health. Biometals. 2021 Aug;34(4):715-736.
Castiglioni S, et al. Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients. 2013 Jul 31;5(8):3022-33.
Orchard TS, et al. Magnesium intake, bone mineral density, and fractures: results from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Apr;99(4):926-33.
Park H, et al. A pilot phase II trial of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes in breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer. 2011 Jun;19(6):859-63.
Abbasi B, et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.
Blancquaert L, et al. Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 20;11(7):1663.
Sun C, et al. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of depression. J Affect Disord. 2019 Mar 1;246:627-632.
Szkup M, et al. Analysis of Relations Between the Level of Mg, Zn, Ca, Cu, and Fe and Depressiveness in Postmenopausal Women. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Mar;176(1):56-63.