Magnesium! It's important for managing stress and how your body processes carbohydrates. Lesser known if the critical role of magnesium in estrogen balance.
Often thought of as a female hormone, both men and women require estrogen to be balanced for optimal health. When you have too much estrogen, or if it gets out of balance with other hormones, bad things happen.
Symptoms of excess estrogen differ in men and women. For women, who have much higher levels of estrogen that follow your cycle, too much estrogen leads to poor sleep, PMS symptoms, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, bloating, anxiety, excessive bleeding during menses, and PCOS.
For men, who require much lower levels of estrogen, symptoms of high estrogen include infertility, breast development, weight gain, and erectile dysfunction.
How does Magnesium Affect Estrogen?
At its most basic level, magnesium impacts the body’s ability to metabolize and eliminate estrogen from the body. Like many hormones, estrogen goes through three phases of detoxification for safe removal.
In Phase 1, estrogen is bound with a nutrient in the liver that prepares it for elimination from the body. Phase 2 of detoxification is where magnesium comes into play. In Phase 2, the COMT enzyme (which stands for catechol-O-methyltransferase) neutralizes the estrogen made in Phase 1, making it water soluble so that you can eliminate it via urine or feces.
COMT requires co-factors to work properly. Magnesium is a primary cofactor for COMT that improves the action of this enzyme for healthy estrogen elimination. COMT is also involved in metabolism of dopamine, norepinephrine, and cortisol—all hormones that affect your mood and ability to handle stress. Another way magnesium can impact estrogen is via its effect on the bowel and your ability to go to the bathroom. Magnesium has relaxation effects all over the body, including in your intestinal tract, which means it can act as a laxative. Quick elimination of estrogen is important because one of the tricky things about estrogen is that there is an enzyme called B-glucuronidase that uncouples (or breaks apart) estrogen that is on its way out of the body. When the estrogen breaks free in the large intestine, it re-enters circulation and increases risk of various cancers.
How Does High Estrogen Affect Magnesium?
In light of the role magnesium has in estrogen elimination, it makes sense that high estrogen levels will deplete magnesium. This affects calcium, a mineral that is intimately related to magnesium. In fact, Magnesium is known as nature’s calcium blocker. When magnesium levels drop, it can skew your ratio of calcium to magnesium. This increases risk of blood clots, which can damage vascular tissue and lead to stroke or heart attack.
A high calcium to magnesium ratio also reduces the antioxidant potential of magnesium and increases release of catecholamines, which depletes heart tissue of magnesium. The overall effect is greater stress on the heart and blood vessels.
How Does Healthy Estrogen Affect Magnesium?
Estrogen is not all bad. For example, balanced estrogen is protective in women, enhancing your cells’ ability to use magnesium. Scientists theorize that estrogen’s ability to improve uptake of magnesium into soft tissue and bone may explain the resistance young women have to heart disease and osteoporosis. On the flip side, aging leads to the increased prevalence of these diseases when estrogen levels drop during menopause.
Supplementing with magnesium is an easy way to support detoxification and stress management while giving your cardiovascular system some love.
For detoxification, try Magnesium Glycinate because the glycine chelate supports liver detoxification and reduces the risk of stomach discomfort associated with other forms such as magnesium oxide.
For stress management and daily detoxification, try Magnesium Essentials that combines the magnesium glycine chelate with five other forms of highly absorbable magnesium and vitamin B6.
An adequate calcium to magnesium ratio is 2:1. If you have an average calcium intake of 1000-1200 mg per day, that requires an intake of 500 to 600 mg (significantly higher than 420 mg RDA for men and 320 mg recommendation in women).