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Magnesium—A Natural Treatment for PMS
Magnesium can provide relief from symptoms of PMS and also give you a much needed mood lift during that difficult time of the month.
About 70 percent of all women in their reproductive years experience some form of physical discomfort such as abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, fluid retention and weight gain every month, before their period. For many this discomfort is also accompanied by emotional symptoms such as irritability, depression, tearfulness, anxiety, fatigue and food cravings. This combination of physical and psychological symptoms that occurs a week or two before menstruation is called Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).
As a condition, PMS is highly individual—some women sail through this difficult part of the month with hardly any symptoms and for some the discomfort is so severe that it adversely affects their quality of life. Many also have to rely on strong pain killers, and at times, anti-depressants in the days preceding their period.
How to identify PMS
To make PMS and its symptoms easy to understand, Dr Guy Abraham, M.D., former clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University of California-Los Angeles, divided PMS symptoms into the four distinct categories:
Most women do not fit exclusively into one of the categories but experience an overlap of imbalances.
PMS and Magnesium
PMS has been attributed to a variety of causes, including an imbalance in hormones or serotonin (a body chemical thought to be involved in mood). Some researchers speculate it may be a result of a malfunctioning pituitary gland which controls the body’s release of hormones. Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) has also been seen as a cause of PMS, as is eating too many nutrient-empty junk foods.
Research has proven that low levels of magnesium are prevalent in women who experience menstrual problems. Intracellular magnesium levels vary with the menstrual cycle, and women with premenstrual syndrome have low levels of this mineral. Fabio Facchinetti et al from the Universities of Modena and Pavia, Italy studied the role of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of premenstrual symptoms. In a two-month trial, 32 women with PMS received 360 mg/day of magnesium or a placebo from the 15th day of each menstrual cycle to the beginning of the next menstrual period. Women who were given magnesium supplements showed significant reductions in a number of common menstrual complaints. 
Dr Guy E. Abraham who was key in categorising the symptoms of PMS, was also key in creating a specific nutritional protocol for PMS. Dr Guy E. Abraham and Joel T. Hargrove, M.D, successfully relieved 21 of 25 PMS sufferers with 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6 daily for three consecutive menstrual cycles. This study led Dr. Abraham to investigate vitamin B6's mineral teammate magnesium in relation to PMS. It turned out that 26 PMS patients’ ages 24 to 44 had decidedly low levels of magnesium in their red blood cells. He noted that the stress of PMS rapidly depletes body stores of magnesium, aggravating the condition. 
Oral Magnesium as a natural remedy for PMS
For most women looking for relief from the discomforts of PMS symptoms, usual painkillers may not work every time. Also prescription drugs can sometimes have side effects. Alternative remedies like oral magnesium supplementation are usually able to keep you physically and emotionally well—a side of your health that can get disrupted at the time of menstruation, and can’t be easily restored by usual painkillers.
In 1998, a study by Walker AF et al conducted at Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Reading, U.K used 200 mg of magnesium or a placebo for two menstrual cycles. Published in The Journal of Women’s Health, this study found that 200 mg a day of magnesium reduced PMS fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating by 40%. Magnesium was found to significantly reduce weight gain, and swelling of the hands and legs. 
Many ways Magnesium provides Relief
Magnesium supplementation can help alleviate many symptoms of PMS including cramps, irritability, fatigue, depression and water retention.
Magnesium Therapy for PMS
If you suffer from PMS, taking about 300-400 mg of magnesium daily starting two weeks before a period may improve symptoms.  Look for a magnesium citrate supplement such as Natural Calm TrüMag, which is easier to absorb than magnesium oxide or other forms of magnesium. Some doctors even recommend taking magnesium with Vitamin B6, as that appears to increase magnesium absorption.
Another effective alternative is Magnesium Rub or Magnesium Gel. Magnesium Rub is a sea water concentrate with the sodium removed, and when applied directly to your skin, it absorbs in much the same way as magnesium sulphate or Epsom salt does (transdermal). Apply a little of the Magnesium Rub on your hand and rub directly to the painful areas for maximum benefit.
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