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Magnesium for Fertility & Pregnancy

Spotlight on My Favorite Supplement!

By Jane Gregorie - April 28, 2024

When it comes to maintaining optimal health during fertility and pregnancy, the importance of a well-rounded diet and appropriate supplementation cannot be overstated. Among the supplements we frequently recommend for fertility and a healthy pregnancy, magnesium stands out for its critical roles. 

For those trying to conceive, magnesium might just be the boost you need. This mineral plays a significant role in reproductive health for several reasons:

1. Hormonal Regulation: Magnesium helps regulate the pituitary gland, which produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and thyroid hormones, all crucial for fertility. By balancing these hormones, magnesium aids in promoting optimal reproductive function.

2. Improved Egg Quality and Ovulation: Adequate magnesium levels are associated with better egg production and quality. It also supports the process of ovulation, making it a vital nutrient for those facing challenges in conceiving.

3. Stress Reduction Stress is a well-known factor that can negatively affect fertility. Magnesium has natural calming properties that help reduce stress and anxiety levels, thereby potentially improving fertility outcomes.

In pregnancy, magnesium continues to play a crucial role throughout the gestation period. Its benefits during pregnancy include:

1. Prevention of Eclampsia and Preeclampsia: Magnesium is often used in medical settings to manage and prevent eclampsia and preeclampsia, serious complications characterized by high blood pressure. Regular magnesium intake can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of these conditions.

2. Fetal Development: Magnesium contributes to healthy bone development in the fetus. It also plays a role in building a strong DNA structure and supports more than 300 enzymatic processes in the mother's and the baby's bodies.

3. Muscle Health: Many pregnant women experience muscle cramps and spasms, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Magnesium helps alleviate these symptoms by relaxing the muscles and preventing contractions that are not associated with labor. If magnesium citrate causes loose stools for you, Magnesium glycinate or malate are good forms for muscle tension and don't have a laxative effect. 

4. Better Blood Sugar Control: Magnesium aids in the regulation of insulin, thus playing a role in blood sugar management. This is particularly important during pregnancy as it helps reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.

5. Constipation Relief: Magnesium, especially magnesium citrate, can alleviate constipation and be used nightly as a natural stool softener. We love the Calm product or Magna-Calm, both available in the clinic and on our Fullscript online pharmacy, for this. 

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age, gender, and pregnancy status. Women who are pregnant require at least 350-400 mg of magnesium daily, which is more than the amount needed when not pregnant, but is a very safe daily dose.  It's widely reported that 40% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, probably based on highly processed food intake and diets lacking in dark, leafy greens. 

Dietary Sources of Magnesium

Incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet is an effective way to ensure adequate intake. Some excellent sources of magnesium include:

- Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, pumpkin seeds)
- Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, whole wheat)
- Legumes (e.g., black beans, chickpeas)
- Avocados
- Bananas

For some, dietary intake might not be enough, especially in cases of gastrointestinal diseases that impair absorption or in older adults. In such instances, magnesium supplements can be beneficial, but always under medical advice.

I love the following deep-dive episode by Dr. Rhonda Patrick on her podcast/website, Found My Fitness. It's a great one!