by Lara Briden
A note from Dr. Briden on Magnesium (Mg), Thyroid and Hormones:
As my patients can tell you, I prescribe magnesium for almost every hormonal condition. I prescribe it for PCOS, thyroid, adrenal fatigue, hair loss, PMS and menopausal symptoms. I love magnesium because it makes people feel better almost immediately.
What is up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? We’re deficient because our cells dump Mg during stress. We actively push the mineral out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system and cope with daily life.
A revved up nervous system is what an average modern human needs to get through an average modern day. If you work, or commute, or drink coffee, or worry, then you are deficient in magnesium. If you live the meditative life of a monk on a mountainside, then you’re probably Ok.
8 ways that Magnesium Rescues your Hormonal System
1. It regulates cortisol. Magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system (called HPA, or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is your central hormonal system. When it is better regulated, then your other hormonal axes – thyroid and sex hormones – will function better.
2. Mag lowers blood sugar. Magnesium is so effective at sensitizing the insulin receptor that I refer to it as our ‘natural metformin’. Better insulin control means fewer sugar cravings. Healthy insulin sensitivity is important for weight loss and PCOS, and it also prevents osteoporosis.
3. It supports thyroid. Magnesium is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most cases of thyroid disease. (Other ways to address thyroid autoimmunity include gluten-elimination and a selenium supplement.)
4. It aids sleep. As I’ve written here before, magnesium is the great sleep-promoter, and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should have a surge in anabolic hormones like DHEA and growth hormone.
5. It fuels cellular energy. Magnesium is so intricately involved with glycolysis and the Krebs cycle (ATP energy production), that we can safely say: “There is no cellular energy without magnesium.” Glandular tissue like thyroid, ovaries and testes is metabolically very active, so requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.
6. It makes hormones. Magnesium is involved in the manufacture of steroid hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 50%.
Magnesium is powerful medicine.
Mg is a big player in emergency rooms, where it treats heart arrhythmias, heart attack, migraine and the toxemia of pregnancy. But why should magnesium be restricted to acute care emergency medicine? It is time – past time – for magnesium to take up its role in treating chronic conditions.
Can you test for magnesium deficiency?
No. The majority of Mg is inside your cells, so there no way to measure it with a blood test. You just have to try some and see how you feel.
Which Mg Supplement is Best?
The best supplement is magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate (magnesium joined to the amino acid glycine). This is the least laxative of all the magnesiums, and the most absorbable. Glycine has its own beneficial calming effect on your GABA receptors.
Food sources of Mg include leafy greens, almonds, chocolate, and mineral water.