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Calcium! Zinc! Collagen, oh my! As women age, they are often told to take a myriad of supplements to keep their bones, skin, and hair in tip-top shape, but not all supplements are necessary, and some even do a better job at keeping you healthy than others.
While you should consult a doctor before making any major changes to your supplement routine, there is one supplement that’s best for women, at least according to Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT & Tammy Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, The Nutrition Twins, founders of 21-Day Body Reboot, and members of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board.
The winner is magnesium, which Lyssie and Tammy note is even more critical than calcium, even though it’s difficult to go more than an hour without seeing a calcium supplement commercial.
Why the #1 best supplement for women is magnesium
“Most women are told to get calcium and they focus on that and take supplements. However, when it comes to stress, this can backfire if you don’t have enough magnesium,” the duo explains. “During periods of stress, calcium moves into the cell as part of the fight or flight response and if there’s not enough magnesium to push it back out of the cell, you can’t promote relaxation.” This, in turn, means that frequent stress (stemming from pollution, daily life, and emotional experiences) continues to take its toll physically and emotionally.
“Magnesium is one of the best supplements women can take. Our bodies need magnesium for more than 300 essential biochemical reactions including producing energy, helping muscles to relax and nervous system regulation, but most of us don’t get enough magnesium from dietary sources alone,” the pair states. “Given that magnesium plays an important role in factors that have a large impact for women such as bone and heart health, promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety and depression and PMS symptoms as well as preventing migraines, magnesium supplementation can be especially beneficial for women.”
The benefits of magnesium supplements
Not surprisingly, there’s an extensive body of research that shows magnesium supplements can benefit women in more ways than one. For example, a 2008 study found that they can be used to prevent or treat migraines, since neurotransmitters are affected and blood vessels constrict and lead to a migraine when women are low in magnesium.
Additional research has shown magnesium supplements to be especially helpful during PMS, a time when tension in the body is at an all-time high. According to a study that appeared in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, magnesium can boost a woman’s mood and reduce other PMS symptoms, such as water retention.
And that’s not all. There’s a whole other body of research that indicates that not having enough magnesium in your diet can lead to adverse health effects. In fact, not only are low levels of magnesium linked to anxiety and depression, but a magnesium deficiency has also been shown to cause stress, which in turn can have an even larger negative impact on one’s overall health.
In fact, The Nutrition Twins point out that magnesium’s impact on stress can actually be part of a troubling cycle because, in addition to low magnesium levels being linked to stress, stress can increase magnesium loss, causing a deficiency.
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In short, magnesium can address a wide variety of health issues that women may face as they age. “When you consider that an estimated 8 million American women have osteoporosis and half of the women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis; heart disease is the leading cause of death in women; migraines affect 28 million women in the US and can be debilitating; more than 31 million American women are affected by PMS and experience bloating, moodiness and breast tenderness that negatively affects quality of life during that time of the month; and women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety, there is enormous potential for magnesium supplements to benefit women,” The Nutrition Twins share.
Which magnesium supplement you should buy
When it comes to picking a magnesium supplement, Lyssie and Tammy are fans of Life Extension’s Extended-Release Magnesium because of how it is absorbed in the body. “Absorption is critical when it comes to magnesium supplements and this supplement is formulated with magnesium oxide for extended-release and magnesium citrate for immediate absorption to provide more consistent results,” the duo explains. “It’s also non-GMO verified.”
The sisters point out that Life Extension is a brand that they trust, which is crucial since supplements are typically not regulated. “Life Extension has been making high-quality supplements for over 40 years. They pride themselves on transparency and quality, and their magnesium, like all their products, contains a Certificate of Analysis that allows you to confirm its quality and accuracy,” Lyssie and Tammy point out. “It’s also manufactured in an NSF International-registered GMP facility for safety.”
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