Estrogen Dominance

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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Estrogen, Uterine Polyps & Me

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UPDATE: A reader left a comment pointing out that this article wasn’t entirely accurate.  She herself had undergone a procedure to have uterine polyps removed and informed me that hers were so deeply embedded in her uterus, that there was no possible way for a routine gynecological exam to discover them. She also noted there […]

January 30, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Hormone Imbalance? Oh, Honey, You’re Just Crazy!

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I ran across an article last year at the online publication The UK Daily Mail entitled, “Women with extreme PMS will now be deemed ‘mentally ill’ following controversial revision of health manual.” The health manual cited in the article is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association. The “extreme PMS” […]

January 7, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Prometrium: An Oral FDA Approved Bioidentical Progesterone

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It is no secret that I personally prefer bioidentical hormones for the treatment of symptoms of perimenopause as opposed to synthetic hormones and drugs. In fact, I sincerely believe that most women prefer natural, healthier, and less intrusive treatments as well. However, most bioidentical hormones are not FDA approved, and therefore, are not covered by most health insurance plans. Unfortunately, this […]

October 22, 2014 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 →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding Periods

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When the average woman thinks of perimenopause symptoms she usually thinks of the proverbial night sweats and hot flashes. Perhaps even a few mood swings thrown in for good measure. What many do not know, however, and are often surprised to find out, is that heavy, flooding periods with painful cramping and large blood clots are a common complaint for many women […]

September 1, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause is a Fact of Life, Treatment Options are a Choice

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It doesn’t matter where a woman lives. It doesn’t matter what language she speaks or how she spends her day. Menopause is a fact of her life. Every day, in the U.S. alone 6,000 women begin this mid-life adventure with hot flashes, a sudden mood swings, painful vaginal dryness, night sweats, and restless sleeping patterns. […]

April 7, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Endometrial Hyperplasia: An Over-Diagnosed Condition in Perimenopausal Women

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Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. Roger Reichert, a leading expert in endometrial hyperplasia.  Endometrial hyperplasia is a medical term for the abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus which causes heavy, irregular bleeding. This condition is commonly diagnosed in perimenopausal women, and has certainly been a popular topic here at The […]

August 9, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

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It is the most common thing I hear from women regarding perimenopause. “I feel like I’m going crazy! What is wrong with me?” And there are a variety of reasons why women might feel this way too. Personally, I think the primary reason is the simple “craziness” of perimenopause in general. The wacky mood swings, […]

July 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Mayo Clinic Study on Low Estrogen Causing Weight Gain Unclear?

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That’s certainly my opinion.  The Internet is abuzz with news about a recently released study co-authored by a physician at The Mayo Clinic, which says that low estrogen is the cause of weight gain in menopausal women. The actual study is entitled, “Adipocyte Fatty Acid Storage Factors Enhance Subcutaneous Fat Storage in Postmenopausal Women” and […]

May 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

New Study Says Menopause Weight Gain is Due to Low Estrogen?

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You may have heard of a new study co-authored and released recently by the Mayo Clinic, which says that women in their post-menopause years have trouble losing weight due to “low estrogen” which causes our body to “hang onto fat” in order to “hang onto estrogen.” The study specifically says that: “Scientists have long known […]

May 8, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Anxiety and Estrogen Dominance

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In Part I of this post, Dr. Jennifer Landa, Chief Medical Officer with Body LogicMD, discussed the role of fluctuating levels of progesterone in women who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks during perimenopause. Today, Dr. Landa continues the discussion and includes the role of estrogen dominance. I always say that perimenopause is a full […]

December 7, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Guest Blogger: Women’s Health News

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Who doesn’t need and want information when they hit menopause? I don’t know about you, but the intensity of the changes I went through sent me scampering to the nearest doctor, bookstore and internet for all the information and help I could get. Information during this time is crucial to survival.  At the very least, […]

March 22, 2008 CONTINUE READING →

Perimenopause: Yes, it’s Real and No, You’re Not Going Crazy!

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Feel better?  I could have used someone telling me that about 10 years ago when I walked right into one of the fiercest hormonal battles of my life. First of all, I had never heard of peri-anything.  Menopause?  Yeah.  I had heard of that.  My mom called it “the change,” and I knew that sooner […]

March 22, 2008 CONTINUE READING →