Magnesium for Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are a widespread problem that many women face on a monthly basis. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing magnesium is one effective way of treating menstrual cramps, as well as other types of menstrual-related pain -- including headaches and nausea. Contact your doctor about taking magnesium as well as other possible treatments for your condition.
During the menstrual cycle many women experience cramping in the abdomen or a slow dull ache in the lower back. The term for pain during the menstrual cycle is primary dysmenorrhea. Most of the time, pain during menstruation does not signify a larger problem, according to the UMMC. However, sometimes cramps can signify endometriosis, fibroids, an ovarian cyst, pelvic inflammatory disease or another condition.
- During the menstrual cycle many women experience cramping in the abdomen or a slow dull ache in the lower back.
- The term for pain during the menstrual cycle is primary dysmenorrhea.
How to Take Magnesium for Cramps
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According to the National Institutes of Health, many Americans fail to get recommended amounts of magnesium in their diets. The UMMC recommends supplementation for menstrual cramps in the form of 360 milligrams, once daily, for three days. If possible, begin one or two days before bleeding starts.
A series of studies reported by the NIH show that adding magnesium decreases cramps and other painful symptoms. One of these double-blind studies looked at 50 women suffering from dysmenorrhea. Of the 25 that received magnesium, 21 reported significant improvement after six months; four reported no improvement.
The Benefits of Magnesium
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Magnesium is a versatile mineral, which helps create more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, according to the UMMC. Magnesium promotes good muscle tone and healthy nerve function. It helps the heart remain steady, boosts immunity, keeps bones strong and helps to regulate blood sugar. In addition, the NIH reports that people with adequate magnesium stored in the body may be protecting themselves against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction. Magnesium is thought to relieve cramping in many different ways, such as by helping relax muscles and increasing the absorption of calcium.
- Magnesium is a versatile mineral, which helps create more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, according to the UMMC.
- In addition, the NIH reports that people with adequate magnesium stored in the body may be protecting themselves against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.
Magnesium in the Diet
Foods high in magnesium include halibut, mixed nuts, soybeans and yogurt. Dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach are another good source of magnesium, as are whole grain breads, cereals and brown rice.
Types of Magnesium Supplements
According to the NIH, a study that compared four forms of magnesium preparations suggests that magnesium oxide is more difficult for the body to absorb than other preparations. The absorption of magnesium chloride and magnesium lactate was found to be higher than that of magnesium oxide, therefore these types of supplements may be more beneficial.
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- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium -- a new therapeutic alternative in primary dysmenorrhea
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Menstrual pain
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated October 11, 2019.
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- Medline Plus. Magnesium Oxide. Updated October 15, 2015.
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- Lee S, Park HK, Son SP, Lee CW, Kim IJ, Kim HJ. Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and blood pressure in normo-magnesemic nondiabetic overweight Korean adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009;19(11):781-8. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2009.01.002
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database. Magnesium Oxide.
Assia M. Mortensen has over 12 years of experience as an editor and journalist, and has published hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers and online at "The Santa Barbara Independent," "Frontiers Magazine," "805 Living Magazine," Huffingtonpost.com, LIVESTRONG.COM and many other outlets. Mortensen graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing.