According to a recent article, “Half of females aged between 11 and 18 were consuming below the minimum recommended level of iron and magnesium.”
Magnesium is an essential mineral responsible for a number of functions in the body. In the realm of hormones, magnesium plays a very important role in the production of all steroid hormones because magnesium is required for the production of cholesterol (the raw material of hormones).
Magnesium assists in hormone regulation because it helps regulate the pituitary gland, which produces Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which lead to the production of both estrogen and progesterone. In other words, magnesium helps to synthesize hormones because we cannot utilize cholesterol to produce hormones without it! This process is illustrated by one of the first signs of magnesium deficiency, elevated cholesterol. A magnesium deficiency may cause cholesterol levels to rise and build-up, When magnesium is given to patients with high cholesterol, their cholesterol levels often go down because magnesium can increase the conversion of cholesterol to hormone production (Nutrients 2018).
Another animal study showed results that suggest that a “diet rich in magnesium could exert cardioprotective effect through reduced plasma total cholesterol, triglyceride, oxidative stress and ameliorated HDL-cholesterol/total cholesterol ratio as well as increased plasma ascorbic acid and magnesium in diabetic rats” (J Nutr 1981). Adequate magnesium levels = well functioning cholesterol = healthy hormone production. When the human body has inadequate magnesium levels we often see a host of issues in the human body and are associated with “osteoporosis (Abraham, 1991), coronary artery disease (Karppanen, 1981) and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (Kao et al. 1999)” (Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2009).
Why are so many people deficient in magnesium?
- Our diet has changed a lot in the last hundred years, and the influence of modern foods may play role in malnutrition and magnesium deficiency.
- More people are stressed! When the body is under stress, it down ATP into ADP, consequently depleting magnesium (Nutrients 2020).
What to do:
- Many commercial foods are depleted of magnesium, so switching to a nutrient-dense diet is a key to sufficient magnesium levels.
- Cooked green vegetables are a known source of magnesium.
- Coffee has been found to have high levels of magnesium.
- Organic milk may be a source of magnesium.
- Magnesium supplement
- There’s some evidence that magnesium can be absorbed transdermally.
References: Esteban N, Guascha M, et al. Nutrients. 2018 Dec. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies. Sourced from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7761127/
Raqssiquier Y, Gueuz E, Weiser D. 1981 Nov. J Nutr. Effect of magnesium deficiency on lipid metabolism in rats fed a high carbohydrate diet.
Sourced from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7299488/
Informa Healthcare. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine. Sourced from: https://www.researchgate.net/journal/Journal-of-Nutritional-Environmental-Medicine-1364-6907
Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, et al. Nutrients. 2020 Dec. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited.Sourced from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7761127/.