Here are the most important things you need to know about taking magnesium supplements to help with PMS symptoms, from a book called The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Plus, a list of the foods highest in magnesium and the reasons why women crave chocolate before and when they’re getting their period…
“Chocolate, which some women have a craving for when they’re premenstrual, contains high amounts of magnesium,” writes Dr Dean in The Magnesium Miracle (Revised and Updated Edition). “However, the added sugar and fat make chocolate far less desirable as a [remedy for PMS symptoms].”
In her book, she describes how calcium can increase the risk of heart disease — and how magnesium can lower it. Plus, she says magnesium can help with premenstrual syndrome by reducing pain and treat specific symptoms of PMS. Dr Dean also discusses how and why diets such as the Paleo, raw food, and green juice can lead to magnesium deficiency.
Here’s what Dr Dean says about how magnesium helps with PMS – and how you can safely ingest enough magnesium to help overcome cramps, cravings, and other symptoms of PMS without going overboard on the chocolate.
How Magnesium Helps PMS Symptoms
“Magnesium is a safe treatment for PMS and PMS headaches,” writes Dr Dean in The Magnesium Miracle. “Treatment with magnesium eases headaches, sugar cravings, low blood sugar, and dizziness related to PMS.”
Dr Dean’s book about the benefits of magnesium doesn’t just focus on magnesium for PMS symptoms – but there is a whole chapter on it. She recommends the following treatments for PMS symptoms (in addition to magnesium)…
The Most Common PMS Symptoms
Anxiety, fluid retention, sugar and chocolate cravings, mood swings, irritability, bloating, edema, headaches, period cramps and sore breasts are some of the common PMS symptoms that magnesium can help with.
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Further, premenstrual syndrome and PMS symptoms before menopause means women may face more menopausal complaints – except for hot flashes (which aren’t related to PMS symptoms before menopause). Research from the online journal inMenopause, which is the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), shows that trouble with memory and concentration is associated with PMS syndrome before menopause.
Magnesium Supplements to Help PMS Symptoms
“Taking magnesium supplements may be the solution for PMS,” advises Dr Melvyn Werbach in The Magnesium Miracle. “Recent studies showed that of 192 women taking 400 mg of magnesium daily for PMS, 95% experienced less breast pain and had less weight gain. Eighty-nine percent suffered less nervous tension, and 43% had fewer headaches.”
JigSaw Magnesium Mineral Supplement is not a supplement recommended by either Dr Werbach or Dr Dean. I researched this magnesium supplement for PMS symptoms myself. It’s available on Amazon, and has received many positive reviews.
Dr Werbach also advised women to take 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily with the magnesium, to assist in magnesium absorption and help with PMS symptoms.
Magnesium for dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
“Calcium can act like a painkiller and relaxant,” writes Dr Dean. “But, it may accomplish this by driving magnesium out of the cells and into the bloodstream, where it is able to be directed toward ailing tissues to treat pain.” She says taking calcium can alleviate menstrual cramps until you become magnesium-depleted. Calcium supplements are only about 4% absorbed, so they can end up causing other health problems, such as gall stones, kidney stones, breast tissue calcification, and fibromyalgia.
Magnesium doesn’t just help reduce PMS symptoms, it also helps with dysmenorrhea or painful periods – and taking magnesium before your period may forestall PMS and period pain altogether. When you’re suffering from painful PMS syndrome and period symptoms, try magnesium.
Foods High in Magnesium
The following foods are naturally high in magnesium, and can help with PMS symptoms:
- Dark leafy greens (eg, raw spinach, kale, chard)
- Nuts and seeds (squash and pumpkin seeds)
- Fish (mackerel, pollock)
- Beans and lentils (soy beans, white beans)
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa)
- Low fat dairy products (plain non fat yogurt, hard goat cheese)
- Dried fruit (figs, prunes)
- Dark chocolate (which I why I suggest the chocolate bars below….)
The above list of foods high in magnesium aren’t from Dr Dean’s book, but they can help with PMS symptoms. For more tips on food and your menstrual cycle, read 5 Foods That Make Your Menstrual Cycle Regular.
Other Tips to Help Reduce PMS Symptoms
I know how good it can feel to enjoy a rich, dark piece of chocolate – and I believe it helps with PMS symptoms! I enjoy dark chocolate that is at least 85% cocoa, such as Green & Black’s or Lindt.
The Pure Bar Dark Chocolate Berry Bars is my current favorite – it’s a combination of organic dates, cranberries, and raspberries with organic almonds and walnuts. The cocoa is organic, and the chocolate bar is vegan and gluten free. I need indulgences like this to help with my PMS symptoms – not just supplements like magnesium.
Dr Dean suggests these ways to help reduce PMS symptoms:
- Increase complex carbohydrates and fiber
- Reduce saturated fats, especially red meat and dairy
- Eliminate caffeine and alcohol
- Reduce salt intake
- Eliminate sugar
Dr Dean recommends several supplements for PMS, including magnesium citrate (300-600 mg daily). She is very specific about how much of each supplement to take – you need to get The Magnesium Miracle to learn her recommendations for PMS supplements.
One of the most important things you can do is keep a journal of your PMS symptoms. How your body responds to premenstrual syndrome is different than mine, which means what will work to reduce my PMS symptoms may not work for you. Magnesium seems to be a common denominator in helping reduce all PMS symptoms, though! Here’s why…
If your menstrual cycle is zonky, read How to Get Regular Periods in Natural Ways.
I welcome your thoughts on taking magnesium supplements to help reduce PMS symptoms below – but I can’t offer any type of medical or health advice. Talk to your family doctor or gynecologist for more information on magnesium and PMS. Or, get Dr Dean’s book – The Magnesium Miracle!
Source of PMS symptoms and menopause: The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “PMS may spell menopause symptoms later — but not hot flashes.”