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Magnesium Part 2

Because of its proven ability to relax muscles, magnesium is thought to be an effective treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, especially breast tenderness, headache, and irritability. It is generally recommended that women with severe PMS symptoms take 300 to 500 milligrams a day for the two weeks before and during menstruation.

The RDA for magnesium is about 300 milligrams, but at least twice as much is needed to see preventive and therapeutic benefits. Supplements are definitely needed to prevent osteoporosis. Women over 50 that are not taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) probably need about 750 milligrams of magnesium every day, an amount that is hard to get through the diet alone.

Oral magnesium supplements are available; the most absorbable forms are malate, ethanolamine phosphate, citrate, ascorbate, glycinate, and fumarate.

It is also wise to incorporate more magnesium-rich foods into the diet. Magnesium is found in most foods, especially dairy products, fish, meat, and seafood. Dark leafy greens, such as kale, mustard greens, collards, chard, parsley, dandelion greens, sorrel, watercress, etc., are all high in magnesium.

Other good sources are almonds, walnuts, beans, peas, apricots, avocados, bananas, molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cantaloupe, figs, garlic, grapefruit, millet, nuts, peaches, sesame seeds, tofu, soybeans, wheat, and whole grains.

Several herbs, such as chamomile, eyebright, cayenne, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, licorice, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, and sage also contain magnesium.

The consumption of alcohol, diuretics, anticonvulsants, antibiotics, digitalis, and lithium can interfere with magnesium absorption. People taking these medications should speak with their doctor about supplementing.

Other factors that can decrease magnesium absorption are elevated levels of fluoride, zinc, and vitamin D; diarrhea; high-fat and high-protein diets; consumption of large amounts of cod liver oil; and frequent consumption of foods high in oxalic acid, such as cocoa, rhubarb, spinach, and tea.

A deficiency of magnesium interferes with the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses, and could cause hypertension, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia, asthma, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, angina, and muscle spasm.

To test for deficiencies, an intracellular (mononuclear cell) magnesium test is more accurate than the typical serum magnesium screen. These screenings should be performed routinely on people who either have cardiovascular disease or a family history of cardiovascular illness.

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