Mood Swings

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

“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, 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!


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 →

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 →

Happy Calm Focused: A New Product I Think I’m Going to Love!

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I was contacted recently by the makers of a brain supplement called “Happy • Calm • Focused” also known as HCF.  They asked me if they could send a free bottle for me to try in return for giving an honest Amazon review. I receive more free products than you can imagine.  I am contacted nearly every […]

February 15, 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 →

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 →

Are Lab Tests Accurate in Testing for Perimenopause?

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In Western medicine lab work is king. Blood work can tell you if you’re pregnant or if you’re not. You can determine if you’re diabetic or have kidney disease. If you have an infection, a high white blood cell count will tell all. And if law enforcement authorities want to determine if you are legally drunk, blood-alcohol levels can also send […]

August 11, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

I Have a Tendency to Neglect Myself

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Do you? I haven’t written as regularly as I’ve wanted to for quite some time now.  A very long time, truthfully. It is primarily because I have been grieving.  Oh, how I have been grieving – the loss of my father, then my divorce, then the loss of my mother. I know we all face loss […]

June 17, 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 →

Menopause, Marriage, & The Male Brain

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Dr. Louann Brizendine is a doctor of psychiatry and neurobiology.  She is the founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain.   I have referenced  The Female Brain  here many times, because in my opinion, it is one […]

March 5, 2014 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, […]


Why Diet & Exercise is Important in Perimenopause

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I am always reluctant to discuss the topic of diet and exercise in menopause. Not because I don’t think it’s important.  But because it’s spoken of so often as a remedy for pretty much everything which ails us, I think we tune it out. I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m guilty of it. But […]

June 26, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

What Causes Depression in Perimenopause?

Depression in perimenopause is the blogging topic for March here at The Perimenopause Blog. I hope my writing extensively on these topics for an entire month is helpful for you. As I’ve said previously, the typical 500-600 word blog post just doesn’t lend itself to a thorough discussion on a particular topic in my view. Hence, my decision […]

March 4, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

The Benefits of Bioidentical Progesterone in Perimenopause

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Today’s post is a sponsored post by Dr. Wade Huey, a Houston based physician for Body LogicMD.  Dr. Huey specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  Please find his bio at the end of the post. Perimenopause is the difficult time when hormones start to decline, but they are not quite low enough for a woman […]

August 20, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Antidepressants for Perimenopause?

The medical pendulum continues to swing back and forth when it comes to treating symptoms of perimenopause. Prior to the release of the Women’s Health Initiative in 2001, women were taking copious amounts of synthetic estrogen and progesterone for their symptoms. Today, because of the study, more is known about the deleterious effects of too […]


Screaming to Be Heard – Your Brain, Hormones & Those Moody Blues

Mothers fortunate enough to have both male and female children were validated when scientists and medical researchers, after a decades long debate between nature and nurture as it relates to gender roles, revealed what they had known all along – that indeed boys and girls are different. Doctors and scientists finally admitted that men and women are biologically different […]

October 18, 2009 CONTINUE READING →

Roses are red, Violets are blue and Sometimes So am I

I stopped in over at Feisty Side of Fifty to see what Eileen was up to and linked over to another blog to listen to an interview she did regarding menopause.  It was interesting and of course fun to hear her voice since we’ve only “chatted” via the Internet. I appreciate Eileen’s point of view.  […]

June 30, 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 →