Magnesium for Menopause Symptoms: Everything to Know

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for bodily functions like regulating our heartbeat and keeping our bones strong.

The body stores magnesium in the bones, but our bones can weaken as we age, causing magnesium levels to drop, especially in postmenopausal women. This reduction puts them at risk of injuries and developing disorders like osteoporosis. Evidence suggests magnesium is especially beneficial for women after menopause.

This article will explore how our bodies use magnesium, why magnesium is vital during and after menopause, and the daily recommended amount.

woman taking medication

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Menopause and Health

Menopause occurs when a woman experiences hormonal shifts and her period stops for at least one year. The decrease of certain hormones causes symptoms that affect different body systems.

Not everyone needs to supplement with magnesium. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting any over-the-counter (OTC) supplement.

Magnesium and Bone Health

Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in many foods, added to products, or offered as a supplement. This mineral plays a role in more than 300 different types of biochemical reactions in the body, working to build proteins, control blood sugar, and help nerve and muscle fibers conduct signals.

Adults have about 25 grams of magnesium in their bodies at any given time; roughly half of it is in the bones. When magnesium stores are too low, it causes the bone formation to suffer and crystallize, reducing blood flow to the bones and increasing the risk of diseases like osteoporosis.

Bone loss in women increases during menopause. Magnesium supplements may offer some preventative benefits. However, there are questions about the risks of over-supplementation. Some evidence suggests that too much magnesium may adversely affect bone health.

While the link between magnesium levels and bone health in postmenopausal women is clear, the role of magnesium supplements in preventing or treating conditions like osteoporosis requires more research before formal recommendations can be made.

Other Magnesium Benefits for Women

Magnesium is essential in every human body, but it plays a unique role in women's health. It helps treat conditions like preeclampsia and preterm labor during pregnancy. Other conditions that may be positively affected by magnesium supplementation include:

  • Cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

It is thought that the relationship between magnesium and calcium makes it especially beneficial to women's health. Additional research is needed to confirm the benefits of magnesium and these conditions.

Sleep Health

About 25% of all women in menopause experience sleep problems that impact daily functioning. Primary complaints about sleep quality include insomnia and sleep problems due to depression or hot flashes. More studies are needed to determine the relationship between menopause and sleep quality. The research indicates there is a pattern, if not a direct link.

Hormonal shifts in menopause provide a more distinct cause of sleep problems. A decrease in estrogen can alter the function of the hypothalamus, which controls body temperature. In contrast, a drop in progesterone can decrease respiratory rates and contribute to breathing problems that disrupt sleep.

Magnesium drops alongside estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. Studies have found that magnesium supplementation can positively impact sleep quality and quantity in all older adults. Additional studies show that there may be benefits to taking oral magnesium supplements for insomnia, but more research is needed to identify ideal dosing and risks.

Depression and Anxiety

Some studies have drawn a connection between magnesium and depression. One study found that menopausal women with higher levels of magnesium and zinc reported less severe depression.

A separate study found that participants who took between 248 and 500 milligrams of magnesium daily showed a drop in depressive symptoms.

Heart Health

Menopause doesn't cause cardiovascular disease, but the risk of heart disease in women increases around the early to mid-50s, close to the time that menopause occurs.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and the overall risk for heart attack in women increases about a decade after menopause begins.

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to other cardiac issues like:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammation
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Stroke
  • Thrombosis

Magnesium for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, but the cause of hot flashes is complex. Anecdotal and some clinical trial evidence point to magnesium supplements to help relieve hot flashes, but there is not enough evidence for providers to recommend magnesium as a treatment option.

Risks and Side Effects of Magnesium for Women

High magnesium levels can cause toxicity, leading to fatal heart arrhythmias (heart rhythm irregularities). Toxicity is most common in people with kidney disease who cannot eliminate excess magnesium from their system.

Knowing which foods contain magnesium and whether it is safe to take magnesium supplements is crucial to avoid dangerous consequences.

Source of Magnesium

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods or consumed in supplement form. The daily recommended magnesium intake for adults is between 300 and 400 milligrams, depending on how well it is absorbed in the digestive tract and how fast its excreted.

Magnesium Rich Foods

Magnesium is primarily found in leafy green vegetables and other unprocessed fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Examples include:

  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Brown rice
  • Cashews
  • Flaxseed
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower
  • Soybeans
  • Sweet corn
  • Tofu
  • Whole grains

Magnesium Supplements

Your body absorbs about 30% to 40% of the magnesium you get from your diet. Still, liquid forms of magnesium found in many supplements and medications are easier for your body to absorb.

There are several formulations of magnesium supplements available, including:

Most adult women can safely consume up to 350 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day. This total does not account for magnesium intake from natural sources like food and drinks. Consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

Summary

Magnesium is a critical mineral in the health of every human, but women may notice the effects of a decline of this substance in menopause. Magnesium typically decreases along with estrogen in menopause, making symptoms associated with low magnesium levels more noticeable. Magnesium supplements can benefit women in menopause, but be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements.

A Word From Verywell

Menopause presents many challenges due to hormonal shifts alone, but it also impacts the function of several other body systems. Magnesium is an essential mineral whose levels can drop during menopause. While it may benefit some, magnesium can be toxic at high levels. Any vitamin or supplement can interact dangerously with specific health problems or medications. Talk to your healthcare provider about your menopause symptoms and options before taking any supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of magnesium is best for menopause?

    There are several types of magnesium supplements available, which you'll choose depending on the symptom you are trying to relieve. Deciding on a magnesium supplement is a conversation best shared with your healthcare provider.

  • Should I take magnesium during perimenopause?

    If you don't consume enough magnesium in your daily diet, you could find supplementation beneficial at any life stage. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any supplements.

  • How much magnesium should a woman over 50 take?

    The amount of magnesium supplementation you use depends on how much you consume naturally in your diet and your individual health. Generally, you should take no more than 350 milligrams of supplemental magnesium daily.

  • Does magnesium help with night sweats?

    Some people say that magnesium supplements can help with night sweats, but there isn't enough evidence for healthcare providers to make any official recommendations,

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
 Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.