Women’s Health, PMS and Magnesium Supplements

istock_000007182919xsmall pmsPremenstrual syndrome (PMS) and related menstrual disorders are common sources of misery among menstruating women.

Symptoms range from mild to severe enough to interfere with family and social activities and work (Frackiewicz EJ et al 2001).

Identifying PMS can sometimes be difficult because it covers such a wide range of symptoms. It is estimated to affect up to 50 percent of menstruating women, with symptoms sometimes beginning among young women aged 16 to 18 and peaking when women are in their 20s and 30s (Cleckner-Smith CS et al 1998). Symptoms of PMS tend to decrease with age (Freeman EW et al 2004), ceasing with menopause. Women who continue to experience PMS symptoms at an older age are also more likely to experience menopausal symptoms (Freeman EW et al 2004).

Taking Magnesium Supplements May be the Solution for PMS

Among its many functions, magnesium plays a role in maintaining parathyroid function and hormone production (Ganong W 2003). Magnesium deficiency has been implicated as a cause of premenstrual symptoms (Abraham GE et al 1981).

Another double-blind, randomized study investigated the effects of oral magnesium on premenstrual symptoms (Facchinetti F et al 1991). This study found significant changes on the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire, a measurement of menstrual distress, in patients who had taken magnesium for two menstrual cycles (Facchinetti F et al 1991).

Taking magnesium supplements may be a solution for PMS, advises Melvyn Werbach, M.D. Recent studies showed that of 192 women taking 400 mg of magnesium daily for PMS, 95 percent experienced less breast pain and had less weight gain. 8 percent suffered less nervous tension, and 43 percent had fewer headaches. (Werbach M. Premenstrual syndrome:magnesium. Townsend Letter for Doctors, June 1995, p.26.)

PMS and Your Diet

Diet research (Marz R. Medical Nutrition from Marz, 2nd ed., Omni Press, Portland, OR. 1997) shows that women suffering from PMS followed diets that were:

275% higher in refined sugar

79% higher in dairy products

78% higher in sodium

77% lower in magnesium

63% higher in refined carbohydrates

53% lower in iron

52% lower in zinc

It follows that dietary changes such as increasing complex carbohydrates, reducing saturated fats, particularly red meat and dairy, eliminating caffeine and alcohol, reducing salt intake and eliminating sugar would all be positive steps in alleviating PMS.

“Women can get depressed before their period, but PMS is not just depression. Yet PMS is often considered by medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies to be a psychiatric condition suitable for treatment with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine {Prozac, Serafem}. But remember that a lack of fluoxetine does not cause PMS symptoms; a lack of magnesium does. Replacement of magnesium in the body will treat PMS and cause no side effects. In fact, it has also been found that magnesium relieves the depression of premenstrual syndrome by positively influencing serotonin activity. Serafem can make no such claim, Dr. Carolyn Dean, Medical Director Vida Costa Spa, author of The Magnesium Miracle.

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