Alternative & Complementary Treatments

Post image for Food as Medicine: Magnesium for Anxiety & Panic Attacks in Perimenopause

In researching Vitamin D and magnesium benefits for my first post in the “Food as Medicine series, I was very intrigued by a statement I had read about magnesium at GreenMedInfo.com:

“Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body……..A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient”

How is it, I wondered, that in Western society where we likely waste more food than most countries can grow in a year, we could be so deficient in such a vital mineral? Yet, according to Dr. Mark Sirkus at GreenMedInfo.com, we are.

Magnesium is Called the Relaxation Mineral

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, “anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff – whether it is a body part or even a mood – is a sign of magnesium deficiency.”  Magnesium is the critical mineral which enables our cells to make energy, stabilize membranes, and for our muscles to relax.

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found throughout our body, but primarily in our bones, muscles, and brain.  Without adequate magnesium in our bodies, we can suffer not only from the long list of symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency, but in extreme cases, we could also suffer from life threatening seizures in the body and even heart failure.

What are Some Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?

I listed some of the symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency in my first post.  However, for reference I will list them again here:

  • Leg cramp
  • Twitches
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • PMS
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches (Migraines)
  • Mental Fog
  • Confusion
  • Itchy Skin
  • Fibromyalgia
  • IBS

I should point out, this is not an exhaustive list.  However, I chose several which I thought were significant and important for women in perimenopause. That is because every last one of these symptoms of magnesium deficiency are also symptoms of perimenopause!

I am not suggesting that all of these symptoms are now solely due to a magnesium deficiency. I have written abundantly here at the Perimenopause Blog on the subject of estrogen dominance, and how it is the culprit for many symptoms of perimenopause. Including many of these listed here.

What I am suggesting is that for women in perimenopause who are seeking non-hormonal solutions for symptoms of perimenopause, knowing that a magnesium deficiency could be a very real part of the problem is a significant revelation.

Anxiety-wordsTwo symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks in perimenopause, are very serious and distressing symptoms for many women suffering from hormone imbalance.  Myself included.

And while I’m a strong proponent of seeking to balance one’s hormones during perimenopause to help treat and manage the symptoms.  I’m an equally strong proponent of understanding necessary and important dietary changes which can help as well.

If a magnesium deficiency is a contributing factor to anxiety and panic attacks in perimenopause, then improving and changing our diet is a significant and easy change we can make to treat and manage the symptoms as well!

What are the Causes of Magnesium Deficiency?

It shouldn’t be surprising to know that the basic cause of magnesium deficiency in Western society is a crappy diet, which depletes and drains our bodies of much needed minerals and nutrients. I love America as much as the next patriot, but generally speaking, the average American doesn’t eat well.

Consider this:

  • A diet high in saturated fat (think fast food and processed foods) reduces magnesium absorption in the intestines
  • High sugar in-take (again, fast food, processed foods) increases excretion of magnesium by the kidneys
  • Phosphates found in carbonated beverages bind magnesium and render it unusable by our body

I also read an excellent article written in 2013, by Dr. Ronald Hoffman, at his site called “Intelligent Medicine” on the subject of panic attacks and anxiety (you can also read and download the PDF Here), where he states that people who suffer with panic and anxiety attacks often have high levels of cortisol and adrenaline in their bodies.

Real exhausted businesswoman in her office

This is significant for women in perimenopause who also often suffer from adrenal fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue causes high levels of cortisol and adrenaline to be present in the body, and both cortisol and adrenaline deplete the body of magnesium.

Another interesting fact which I ran across is that the popular Gluten-free diet which many of us swear by, can be a source of magnesium defieiciency as well.  That is because wheat bran is one of the highest forms of magnesium available to us.  If we are not eating any wheat at all, we could be magnesium deficient as a result.

I am very aware that many people simply cannot eat wheat under any circumstances because of a very real health condition called Celiac disease.  So, I’m not suggesting that we all run out and start eating wheat now.  I’m merely pointing out that those who follow a strict gluten-free diet will need to be deliberate in seeking other sources of magnesium.

And I hate to say this, because nobody loves their coffee and red wine more than me.  But, both caffeine and alcohol can rob and deplete the body of magnesium as well.  Which is not to say you should give it up entirely – God knows, I won’t be doing that.  But, it’s certainly a good case for moderation, especially if you are already struggling with adrenal fatigue issues.  Excessive caffeine and alcohol exacerbate adrenal fatigue in the worst way.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

I think most of us agree that the best way to increase magnesium in our bodies is to eat foods which are rich and high in the mineral, and there are many, many foods which can be adequate sources of magnesium.

  • Dark, leafy greens such as Kale, Collard Greens, and Spinach.  If you are a green smoothie lover like I am, there is nothing easier than throwing a handful of any of these greens into a smoothie in the morning or at anytime during the day.
  • Nuts & Seeds – I stated in my first post that 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds can provide 100% of your daily requirements of magnesium.  And what’s easier? You can throw them on pretty much anything you eat, or simply grab a handful as a snack any time during the day and you’re good to go!
  • Fish - Fortunately for me I simply love fish.  So, here is another easy and tasty way to incorporate magnesium into your diet.  Salmon, Halibut and Mackerel are excellent sources.  But, good old fashioned canned tuna will do as well!
  • Legumes - Again, some of my favorite comfort foods are beans.  If you love beans as well, black beans, red beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils are excellent sources of magnesium
  • Avocado – Seriously?  Does it get any better than this?  AVOCADO FOR MAGNESIUM???  15% of the recommended daily needs of magnesium can be found in this luscious, mouth watering fruit.
  • Fruit - Here’s one that just can’t get any easier.  Bananas, strawberries, grapefruit, and even figs.  Figs might be considered a little exotic for some.  But, as one who grew up in the South where fig trees were abundant everywhere, I simply love them.  And now I have even more reason to love them – magnesium.
  • Brown Rice - I’m from Louisiana.  Red beans & Rice is a staple among the locals.  It is also extraordinarily delicious, EASY to fix, and well, now, brown rice coupled with another good source of magnesium – legumes – gives you a complete meal that is high in magnesium.  What’s not to love here?
  • Dark Chocolate - Enough said.  Really.  Except make sure that your dark chocolate has at least 75% dark cocoa and you’re in magnesium heaven.

Do you have any other sources of magnesium you would like to share with The Perimenopause Blog?  Please do! And remember to join us at Facebook!

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Food as Medicine: Aloe Vera Gel for Joint Pain & Inflammation in Perimenopause

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Seems I’m on a roll with posts on chronic joint and muscle pain in perimenopause.  But, it’s a big one.  And considering that I am suffering with it right a long with most of you, it’s a topic that I know a lot about. I have, and still do take the occasional NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory […]

March 6, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Food as Medicine: The Anti-inflammation & Pain Relieving Properties of Cayenne

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I probably should have included cayenne peppers and the powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits of the active ingredient of capsaicin (pronounced: cap-SAY-sin) found in the peppers, in my last post on chronic pain and fatigue in perimenopause.  However, cayenne peppers are so powerful and so effective in dealing with chronic pain due to inflammation, […]

March 5, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Food as Medicine: Omega-3s & Zinc For Itchy Skin and Scalp in Perimenopause

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This is the first post in a new series I’m entitling “Food as Medicine.”  After several years of reading and writing about perimenopause, I’ve come to the conclusion that food is as important in managing the symptoms of perimenopause, as I believe bioidentical hormones are. In fact, I would likely say that food is even more important. Now, […]

March 3, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Happy Calm Focused: My Final Review & Opinion

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I told you guys in my last post that I would follow up with my final opinion on Happy • Calm • Focused, also known as HCF,  after I had faithfully used it for 30 days.  Well, the verdict is in. I really like this product and it delivers what it says it will deliver. In my original post […]

March 3, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Depke Wellness Adrenal Fatigue Testing & Recovery System

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A common complaint among women in perimenopause is an overwhelming sense of fatigue and exhaustion.  Often described as crashing fatigue.  While many women might chalk it up as the result of sleepless nights associated with night sweats and insomnia, the real culprit is likely adrenal fatigue. What are the Adrenal Glands and What do they Do? The adrenal glands are two walnut sized […]

March 2, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Discount Offer from Relizen for The Perimenopause Blog Readers!

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Some of you may remember the giveaway I did with Relizen, a non-hormonal supplement for the treatment of hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause back in September of 2014. If you don’t (or if you do) you can find that post here. I thought you ladies might like to know that Relizen is offering special discount […]

February 17, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Looking for Resources for Perimenopause? Look No Further!

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A lot of my readers ask for help in locating physicians, pharmacies, and recommendations for bioidentical progesterone (which I promote a lot here).  I almost always forget to direct them to my  Resources Page.  And unless you take the time to click through on some of my pages, you might not locate it either, though […]

February 15, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, EstraCool™ & A Giveaway!!

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Let’s talk about hot flashes and night sweats, ladies.  You know you have em!  We all do!  Okay, well, I don’t have them so much anymore. But, I used to.  So don’t hate me. And while I wouldn’t call hot flashes and night sweats the worst symptoms of perimenopause, there is no doubt, they are bothersome. Thankfully, the only time I […]

January 11, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats in Perimenopause: Try Estroven Nighttime

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  This is a reprint of a post I wrote a few years ago when I blogged for the Estroven Sleep Campaign. Estroven is one of the few non-hormonal supplement products that I’ve used for perimenopause symptoms.  I have had good success with it and all of my opinions on the product are honest.  If […]

January 3, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hot Flashes & Stress in Perimenopause? Breathe Deep with Zenytime!

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If you’re looking for alternatives to hormone therapy to treat your symptoms of perimenopause, today’s sponsored post will be of great interest to you!   Read on to learn about an exciting new App for your phone which will help you manage hot flashes and stress during perimenopause!   “If you practice deep breathing exercises […]

October 13, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hormone Replacement Therapy isn’t as Scary as You Think

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In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study sent the medical professionals prescribing hormone replacement therapy to their patients into a bonafide tail spin. Terrified of putting women at risk for coronary heart disease, stroke or breast cancer, physicians abandoned HRT all together, advising their patients to do the same. Few would argue the value of the study. […]

October 1, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Natural Remedies for Itchy Scalp in Perimenopause

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One of my more popular blogs here has been “Dry, Itchy Skin in Perimenopause.”  Apparently, we’re all itchy and scratchy when hormone imbalance hits. Go figure. For me, the biggest issue has been an itchy scalp. But, truth be told, I’ve always had issues with an itchy scalp.  As long as I can remember.  However, by the […]

July 17, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

AZO Bladder Control Product Giveaway – Winners Announced!

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Good Monday morning, ladies!  I’m hosting a giveaway today with a bladder control product called AZO Bladder Control™ with Go-Less®.   Rather than do a regular sponsored post, I’m going to post the product information for you here which gives you all the information you need in terms of  product description, the ingredients, suggested use, and […]

July 14, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

DHEA: What is it & Why Should You Care?

If you’re anything like me, prior to perimenopause the only thing you knew about hormones was that you had them, and that about every 28 days or so, you had a deep and passionate longing for a luscious piece of chocolate and a high powered firearm with bulls-eye accuracy. In prior generations there wasn’t much talk about […]

July 9, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part III

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This is the final post in Dr. Joseph Mazzei’s series on the relationship between estrogen therapy and breast cancer.    If you wish to contact Dr. Mazzei or any of his colleagues in the Body Logic medical group, please see his byline at the end of the post.  As always, the views expressed in this post […]

July 2, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part II

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Today’s post is a continuation of  Dr. Joseph Mazzei’s post on the relationship between estrogen therapy and breast cancer.  The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views held by The Perimenopause Blog and are for informational purposes only. Please see your physician or healthcare provider for personal medical evaluations.  Let us continue our conversation from […]

June 29, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part I

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Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. Joseph Mazzei, a Chicago based doctor for BodyLogicMD, a medical group which sponsors The Perimenopause Blog. I asked Dr. Mazzei if he could give his opinion on estrogen therapy since it is starting to make its way back into the news once again.  In this post, Dr. Mazzei […]

June 24, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid For Chronic Pain

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If you are a woman in menopause and suffer with generalized achy muscles, bones and joints, unless you’ve been diagnosed with some sort of arthritis, or perhaps even Lupus or MS, chances are the likely culprit is chronic inflammation in the body. Yes, it is true that arthritis, Lupus, and MS cause inflammation. But, there are other […]

April 10, 2014 CONTINUE READING →