Currently there’s a lack of medical studies investigating the use of magnesium as a treatment specifically for PCOS. But there is some evidence it may be helpful in improving insulin resistance, a feature of PCOS, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Improving insulin resistance may help improve several PCOS symptoms, such as irregular periods, excess facial or body hair, oily skin and weight gain.
Some other PCOS symptoms may benefit from improving your magnesium level too, including the following:
A report suggests women with PCOS have a higher risk of being diagnosed with a mental health condition than those without PCOS.iv Recent research has suggested that magnesium may help alleviate mild to moderate depression.
It’s widely acknowledged that having insulin resistance and diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease in later life. Women with PCOS may also have a higher risk of other established cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure.vi However, there is some evidence that suggests taking magnesium supplements on a regular basis may help treat high blood pressure.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia – which lead to tiredness during the daytime – have been found to be more common in women with PCOS.viii Many people find a magnesium supplement before bedtime helps them to relax and drift off to sleep. However, there’s a lack of studies confirming this. If you are suffering from fatigue, it could be down to your PCOS, but there are a number of ways you can fight it.
How to get more
According to the NHS, women aged 19 – 64 years require 270mg of magnesium a day. You should be able to get all the magnesium you need from your diet. So which foods should you eat more of to make sure you’re getting the magnesium you need?
Good food magnesium sources include:
• Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach)
• Whole grains
• Fortified foods (e.g. breakfast cereals)
• Dairy foods
Another way to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium is to take a good quality magnesium supplement. There are several different forms of magnesium, including magnesium oxide, citrate and chloride. Studies have found magnesium in the aspartate, citrate, lactate and chloride forms is absorbed more effectively than that found in magnesium oxide and sulphate.
Magnesium can also be absorbed effectively through the skin, so try putting some Epsom salts in your bath or sprinkle some salts in a large bowl of water and soak your feet.
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