Balance – we all want it, but it’s hard to achieve when you’re trying to juggle family, work, home, friends, health and all the other things you said ‘yes’ to!
While it’s perfectly reasonable to want it all, the pressure that many of us (particularly women) experience in trying to achieve the elusive ‘balance’ certainly adds extra stress to our daily lives. Over time, this stress can leading to an increased risk of hormonal imbalance and a greater need for magnesium.
Magnesium is necessary for healthy nervous system and muscular function, restorative sleep, energy production, and – you guessed it – hormonal balance! If your busy lifestyle leaves you feeling tired, stressed and out of balance, magnesium could be just the thing your body’s craving.
Do you need more magnesium?
While stress is a key culprit in reducing magnesium, there are other factors which can diminish levels of this vital mineral including pregnancy and long-term use of the oral contraceptive pill.
That’s not all though. Many women turn to coffee and/or alcohol as a way of raising energy or ‘winding down’. However, research shows drinking too much coffee or alcohol can also deplete magnesium levels. If this is you, it may well be time to explore some new invigorating or stress management strategies, such as swapping out one of your fitness classes for some restorative yoga, or perhaps a regular walk in nature.
How stress wipes you (and your magnesium) out
Even if you don’t feel stressed, the persistent busyness of everyday life is still a type of stress which can take its toll on your body. The ‘stress response’ causes the adrenal glands to release hormones (like cortisol) and neurotransmitters (messenger molecules such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and a small amount of dopamine). This leads to magnesium being released from your cells and excreted, lowering levels and amplifying the stress response.
Essentially, you have an increased demand for magnesium when you are stressed, but your body offloads it when you need it most! This vicious cycle can leave you low in magnesium, with flow-on effects on healthy nervous system function and hormonal balance.
How to replenish your magnesium, naturally
While the mechanisms impacting magnesium levels may seem complex, the solution is actually very simple – focus on incorporating foods rich in magnesium into your daily diet. Try:
Dark green leafy vegetables
The magic of magnesium for female health
Magnesium supplements are a great way to support a healthy stress response, while tackling any premenstrual migraines, period pains, and/or mood symptoms (e.g. mood swings, irritability, anxiety).
Interestingly, magnesium also helps to prevent bone loss approaching menopause by reducing the inflammation and free radical damage that can drive bone deterioration occurring post-menopause. As you can see, virtually all women could benefit from magnesium at some point in their lives.
If you have hormonal symptoms (such as PMS or period pain), magnesium works well alongside:
Boswellia – a herb with potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects to reduce PMS symptoms and period pain
Chromium – alleviates cravings associated with PMS
Chamomile – helps relieve stress, calms, and supports healthy mood
Broccoli – aids in the elimination of hormone-disrupting environmental chemicals
What’s the best form of magnesium?
It’s also important to replenish your magnesium levels through quality natural supplements.
Not all forms of magnesium are equal though, and there are so many to choose from. Your Naturopath can prescribe the right magnesium supplement for your needs.
For a good all-round Magnesium supplement, we recommend magnesium supplements containing a special form of magnesium, called MetaMag by Metagenics. This has a unique biochemical shape that makes it the most effectively absorbed form of magnesium, which is what you want – magnesium getting to the areas of your body where it is needed most, so you can feel its effects.