The menopause: when it begins and what are the most frequent disorders
The menopause is a period of huge changes in the life of every woman: in physiological terms, it is the end of a woman’s reproductive life, and consequently coincides with the end of the menstrual cycle.
Generally it occurs between 48 and 52 years of age, but every woman is different and the perimenopause -the period of transition before and after the actual menopause- is variable in time and has very complex physical, psychological and emotional symptoms.
The most common symptoms and disorders during the menopause include:
- Hot flushes;
- Sleep disorders/insomnia;
- Tiredness and fatigue;
- Stress and irritability;
- Anxiety and mood swings;
- Difficulty in concentrating and memory;
- Gradual loss of bone density causing joint pain and osteoporosis;
- Loss of muscle mass;
- Slowing metabolism;
- Swelling and digestive problems.
The symptoms of the menopause may be accentuated by magnesium deficiency, due to low intake of this mineral in the diet or an increased need related to this specific phase of a woman’s life.
Let’s see what are the direct benefits of magnesium during the menopause and the recommended doses covering the daily intake.
The benefits of magnesium during the menopause
Magnesium is fundamental for women’s health at all ages, and the menopause is no exception. In particular, during this phase of life, it may help in the event of:
- Sleep disorders and insomnia: magnesium contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system, fostering relaxation and reduction of the feeling of fatigue. It also has beneficial effects on regulating sleep-wake cycles.
- Mood swings, irritability and stress: magnesium acts directly on the synthesis of many neurotransmitters and therefore supports psychological function, maintains correct brain activity and correct electrolytic balance.
- Joint pain and loss of bone density: during the menopause, when female hormones are less active, the bones tend to become more fragile, and this is why later in life many women are at risk of osteoporosis. Magnesium is essential for normal bone and tooth maintenance as it intervenes directly in the synthesis of calcium.
- Loss of muscle mass: magnesium promotes protein synthesis, energy metabolism and muscle function, helping to relax and contract the muscles and contributing to energy storage and release.
How much magnesium to take during the menopause
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium during the menopause is 320 mg per day, values in line with those of a normal adult and which should be integrated through a healthy, balanced diet and correct water intake.
Assuring a diet rich in magnesium sources may however not always be enough. During the menopause, and generally in later life, the intestines become less able to absorb nutrients, and this is why the daily intake of magnesium and other essential elements, including iron, minerals and vitamins, must be monitored. Another factor which could contribute to the onset of a deficiency are hot flushes. Sudden, annoying and often embarrassing, hot flushes are frequent during the menopause and, increasing sweating during the day, lead to an excessive loss of mineral salts including magnesium and potassium, and this is why they need to be regularly integrated.