I love prescribing magnesium because it makes people feel better almost immediately. If you are a patient of mine, and we are working to balance your hormones, you are probably taking magnesium. It is useful in balancing thyroid conditions, adrenal imbalance, premenstrual issues and perimenopausal symptoms. Many of us are deficient in magnesium because our cells use a lot of it during stressful periods. Magnesium works on many levels to help to bring your system into balance. Here are a few examples of why we need more of this mineral:
Magnesium lowers blood sugar – Magnesium effectively sensitizes insulin receptors resulting in improved control of insulin and fewer sugar cravings.
Magnesium regulates cortisol levels – Magnesium relaxes the nervous system and reduces excess cortisol production. It also prevents uptake of cortisol into the brain.
Magnesium supports quality sleep – Magnesium calms the brain by blocking the binding of a stimulating neurotransmitter (Glutamate) to NDMA receptors. Optimal sleep is crucial to hormonal balance.
Magnesium supports optimal thyroid function – Magnesium is essential for thyroid hormone production. Most cases of thyroid imbalance are autoimmune in origin, Magnesium helps to decrease the underlying inflammation which causes the autoimmune response.
Magnesium is anti-aging – Magnesium is essential to the production of steroid hormones such as Testosterone, DHEA, Progesterone and Estrogen. It has been shown to enhance glutathione production, prevent telomere shortening and reduce oxidative stress – slowing down the aging process.
Because most of your magnesium is inside your cells, it does not test well with standard laboratory testing. As most people are deficient I usually recommend trying a low dose and seeing how you feel.
I most often recommend magnesium glycinate or bis-glycinate. This form of magnesium has an affinity for nervous tissue, is highly absorbable and is very well tolerated. It has the least laxative effect of all forms of magnesium.
Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds, and chocolate. Correcting a magnesium deficiency will often reduce or completely eliminate chocolate cravings.