Magnificent Magnesium: A PCOS Mineral - PCOS Diva
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Magnificent Magnesium: A PCOS Mineral

magnesium for PCOSby Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva

Why is magnesium important?

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in all of our tissues, but mainly in our bones, muscles, and brain. It is a critical factor in over 300 body processes including muscle building, maintaining nerve function, keeping a healthy heartbeat, sustaining optimal immune system function and facilitating sleep. Magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory, making it particularly critical for women with PCOS.

  • Magnesium help manage insulin secretion. We must have magnesium for our cells to make energy.  Magnesium enhances insulin secretion which facilitates sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, glucose is not able to transfer into cells. In a recent study, people with diabetes who took magnesium supplements had improved insulin and glucose levels.
  • Magnesium is necessary for maintaining a healthy heart.  This important mineral aids in the proper transport of potassium, calcium, and other nutrient ions across cell membranes. These nutrients help promote healthy nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and a normal heart rhythm.
  • Magnesium helps keep anxiety and depression at bay and relaxes our muscles.
  • Adequate levels of magnesium help promote sleep.

How do we become magnesium deficient?

  • When we are stressed, our bodies become depleted of magnesium.  Magnesium regulates cortisol (stress hormone) as it calms our nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. We burn through magnesium because it helps support our adrenal glands, which get exhausted when making cortisol. When we are under loads of stress, it means we are also losing magnesium.
  • The amount of magnesium most of us are getting has plummeted by over 50% during the last century.  It is estimated that 80% of us are deficient in magnesium. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of Magnesium Miracle explains, “Magnesium is farmed out of the soil…A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams. People do need to supplement with magnesium.” Even organic soils are depleted of minerals, and non-organic farming is severely depleted in minerals.
  • Women with PCOS are 19 times more likely than the average person to have low magnesium.(2)  Many women with PCOS are on the birth control pill, which depletes magnesium. Adding to the problem, many women with PCOS have sugar and simple carb cravings. To process excessive sugar in our diets requires a great deal of magnesium, and a refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium) adds insult to injury. High glucose levels make the body flush magnesium from its system.  If it isn’t added back in by eating magnesium rich foods and taking supplements, you will become deficient.

Magnesium deficiency has even has been linked to inflammation in the body and higher C Reactive Protein levels.

How do I know if I am deficient?

Most of the magnesium in your body is inside your cells, so you can’t  measure with a blood test. Only 1% of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, so a serum magnesium blood test highly inaccurate.  You have to look at symptoms. Magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.”  So if anything is tight, irritable, crampy or stiff, whether it is your body or even your emotions/moods, it is a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Here is a list of some magnesium deficiency symptoms. For a more complete list see –

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar, alcohol, carbohydrate cravings
  • Infertility
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • PMS
  • Menstrual cramps
  • IBS
  • RefluxPCOS and Magnesium

What type of magnesium should I use?

Before you buy a supplement, remember that not all forms of magnesium are the same. When you want to increase magnesium levels, it is important to choose the right form. Magnesium bisglycinate (available in the PCOS Diva Store is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. The typical dosage is is 500-1000 mg magnesium daily. Spread out the dosage and take it with meals to slow down transit time through the intestines and enhance absorption.

Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium levels  is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.

Here is my favorite Epsom Salt Bath recipe –

What foods contain magnesium?

Food is medicine, and you can get more magnesium by eating more magnesium rich foods.  Add some of the following to your diet – kelp, dulse and seaweeds, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, millet, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, chocolate, raw cacao  brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, spinach, halibut, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, dandelion greens, mineral water, and garlic.

Homemade bone broth is another excellent source:

If you have heart disease or kidney problems, consult with your physician before taking magnesium supplements, as they can adversely affect these conditions.




(1) Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Apr;152(1):9-15. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9592-5. Epub 2013 Jan 16. Altered trace mineral milieu might play an aetiological role in the pathogenisis of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Chakraborty P1Ghosh SGoswami SKKabir SNChakravarty BJana K.

(2)  Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Jan;28(1):7-11. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2011.579663. Epub 2011 Jun 23. Serum magnesium concentrations in polycystic ovary syndrome and its association with insulin resistance

Sharifi F1Mazloomi SHajihosseini RMazloomzadeh S.

(3) Gynecol Endocrinol. 2001 Jun;15(3):198-201. Divalent cations in women with PCOS: implications for cardiovascular disease.

Muneyyirci-Delale O1Nacharaju VLDalloul MJalou SRahman MAltura BMAltura BT.

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10 responses to “Magnificent Magnesium: A PCOS Mineral”

  1. I took magnesium (400mg) for a few months and it was tremendously helpful. I had more energy, I felt more balanced and most importantly my sugar cravings disappeared!

    The only reason I stopped taking it is because my endocrinologist put me on spironolactone, and you cannot take magnesium with this. My dr. is so insistent that even my multivitamin cannot contain magnesium

  2. I started taking magnesium to help with my fibromyalgia, and have noticed some improvements over all. However, after reading the link you posted in this article, I realized I was taking the wrong form. I had read a few articles on magnesium, and the side effects of being deficient, but what really “brought the point home” was this video. It really put into perspective how just being deficient in this one thing can throw your entire body off balance. It is a great video.

  3. I was diagnosed with PCOS almost 15 years ago, and I can’t believe I’m only just reading this now.

    For the last 4 years or so, I’ve found it almost impossible to exercise due to serious back pain, followed closely in second place by the most excruciating leg cramps I’ve ever had. At school, I was super extra-curricular and on all the sports teams, but as I got older, it got harder and harder (more and more painful) to push myself. Then earlier this year I had breast reduction surgery, and my back pain all but disappeared – amazing. The leg pain hasn’t. I’ve been trying to find out the cause (muscular, a result of the prolonged recovery time etc), and a personal trainer I approached told me to take magnesium baths to help. Which got me thinking, and researching. Here I am, and I can’t believe, with all the nutritionists, doctors and specialists I’ve seen in the last 15 years, that no one has even mentioned magnesium deficiency to me. It seems to be indelibly twinned with PCOS

    I’ve read a LOT about PCOS – I’ve spent 10 years researching and trying to holistically heal myself…

    So thanks – really. This is amazing.

  4. I took natural calm after experiencing some anxiety (bought it at Sprouts/Whole Foods) and I was completely relaxed for a good 4 hrs. That was yesterday, today I feel way more balanced and I don’t feel the need to take more magnesium. If you take too much of it, yes, you’ll be running to the toilet. I also have PCOS and I’m wondering how it will affect the other areas

    • yes, taking too much can cause trips to the toilet but this does not mean you are no longer deficient. I was extremely deficient and couldnt take any oral magnesium except remag, a liguid magnesium that is picometer size and absorbed before it hits the intestinal tract.(Google, can only get online) I also do espon salt baths and oil.