Magnesium: The Newest Oldest Super-Nutrient
Magnesium may be the most important health nutrient you’ve never heard of. OK, maybe you’ve heard of it—but we think you haven’t heard nearly enough about it. Its importance to your health is greater than that of many nutrients you’re likely to hear much more about. Vitamins D, C, and B; calcium; phytonutrients and antioxidants; and the other super-nutrients are indeed important. But they, too, receive so much more media attention than magnesium, which deserves at least as big a spot in the super-nutrient "Hall of Fame."
Magnesium may well be the most important and most overlooked nutrient and mineral for most Americans and most people. There’s a good chance you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, and the consequences of this are very real for you and your health. Yes, magnesium can help reduce premenstrual symptoms including bloating, cramping, aches and pains, and possibly even depression. But too little magnesium also leads to atherosclerosis and other heart diseases; diabetes and pre-diabetes; generalized muscle pain; osteoporosis; and a slew of other common health problems. If you suffer from PMS or PMDD, you should be sure to seek out dietary sources of magnesium, and/or take a magnesium supplement. It is hands-down one of the simplest, best steps you can take towards better health.
Magnesium: The Vital Mineral
We’ve already discussed calcium for PMS & PMDD, but calcium has a big sister mineral: magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work together throughout the body, whether it’s in your bones, your nerves, your muscles, or your heart. It is true that many women struggle to get enough calcium in their diet. However, it’s at least as common for women—and indeed everyone—to get enough calcium but too little magnesium. Unfortunately, this combination may be just as unhealthy, or even worse, than too little calcium.
Think of calcium and magnesium as partners in your body: wherever one is needed, the other likely plays a role. Magnesium is the only mineral that plays a vital role in over 300 different chemical reactions in your body. While it is relatively easy to get adequate calcium in your diet, especially if you eat dairy foods like cheese, yogurt, and milk, magnesium is much more difficult to get from foods.
Furthermore, too little magnesium has been implicated as a cause, or at least an important factor, in many of the health problems from which we suffer most: diabetes, pre-diabetes, chronic fatigue and pain, and heart disease. This means that magnesium ranks right up there with fiber, fruits and vegetables, exercise, and not smoking as an almost universal panacea for what ails us. And yet, when was the last time you heard anyone in the media extolling the importance of magnesium? Magnesium really is one of the best-kept secrets to health.
Magnesium for PMS & PMDD
There are a number of reasons why magnesium is helpful for PMS and PMDD. First, we know that calcium helps PMS and PMDD. As we said before, wherever calcium is helpful, magnesium is important also. No one should ever use calcium supplements without also including magnesium—they go together. In the case of PMS and PMDD, the combination of calcium and magnesium is greater than the sum of its parts. As is often the case, the two work better together than separately. You will sometimes see the word "synergistic" to describe this phenomenon.
Cramps are a common premenstrual and menstrual symptom. This is because the uterus, one of the largest and most powerful muscles in your body, can go into spasms at that time of the month, a bit like a charlie horse. Both calcium and magnesium can help muscle cramps, but magnesium is the superior remedy here.
Magnesium may also help relieve premenstrual bloating, migraines, stress, anxiety, and depression. It really is the Swiss army knife of nutrition and of premenstrual relief.
A Natural Magnesium Solution
An easy and pleasant way to get magnesium, especially for people who have trouble taking pills, is an Epsom salts baths. In your usual bath, pour 1-2 cups of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) into your bath water, and then agitate it so that it dissolves. Epsom salts are a type of salt—though very different than table salt, which is sodium chloride—so don’t do this if you have any open cuts or wounds. It might sting. Make sure to linger in the bath rather than quickly hopping in and out, to give time for you to absorb the magnesium through your skin. That’s right, you can actually get super-nutrition from your bath!
Epsom salts are available at your drugstore and sometimes from a superstore like Costco®. While Epsom salts are not a replacement for taking a magnesium supplement—you’ll absorb much more from taking a magnesium pill than you would ever absorb through your skin—it’s pleasant and relaxing. For people who, for whatever reason, are unable to take a magnesium supplement, Epsom salts baths are the best alternative.
Ideally, you wouldn’t do this only when you have cramps. Like taking a vitamin, it’s important that the magnesium have a chance to be absorbed into your cells, steadily, over a period of time. To accomplish this with Epsom salts, you should try to take an Epsom salts bath 2-3 times per week. Wait till you try it: we think you’ll find it’s surprisingly more relaxing than a regular bath, and it’s healthy for all of you!
Real, Natural Relief—So You Can Feel Great All Month Long
PMS and PMDD misery aren't always taken seriously enough by doctors, family, and
friends. At PMS Comfort, our whole purpose is to empower and educate you about premenstrual
symptoms, and to provide real, natural relief so that you can feel great all month
long. Our all-natural doctor-designed programs are based on decades of experience
helping thousands of women recover from what you've been going through. Our Herbal
Relief formula, when combined with our diet and lifestyle guidance, addresses more
than just your symptoms—it can help bring your body and mind back into balance,
and help you get and stay healthy. Plus, we're here to support you, every step of
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