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  • Writer's pictureMegan Dunn

Magnesium - what does it do and who needs to supplement during lactation?

Updated: Mar 15

Magnesium is essential for more than 300 enzyme systems in your body that control various processes. These include making proteins, managing muscles and nerves, regulating blood sugar, and controlling blood pressure. Moreover, magnesium is needed for producing energy through processes called oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis.

Now, let's simplify oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis:

  1. Oxidative Phosphorylation: Think of this as a power plant for your cells. It's a process where your cells generate energy by using oxygen to convert nutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is like the currency of energy for your body.

  2. Glycolysis: This is like the initial step in breaking down sugars for energy. It doesn't require oxygen and happens in the cytoplasm of the cell. It's a bit like breaking down a big piece of cake into smaller, more manageable pieces that can then be used to produce energy.

So, in simple terms, magnesium is crucial for these processes that help your body create energy and carry out various functions. Magnesium can be a beneficial supplement during lactation. It’s often used for parents with a very strong milk ejection reflex (letdown) and when your period (menses) returns as increased estrogen rising tends to deplete magnesium. The latest research is showing that the vast majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium and are not getting sufficient quantities through diet alone.

Magnesium can be combined with calcium for best results. A daily dose of 1,500 mg calcium with 750 mg of magnesium can be considered and discussed with your provider.

Some forms can cause loose stools so you can consider magnesium taurate or glycinate for fewer digestive symptoms.

References: Gholizadeh-Moghaddam, M., et al. (2022). Effect of magnesium supplementation in improving hyperandrogenism, hirsutism, and sleep quality in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Health science reports, 6(1), e1013.

Parazzini, F., Di Martino, M., & Pellegrino, P. (2017). Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review. Magnesium research, 30(1).

Nepalia, R. (2016). Measurement of serum calcium, magnesium and phosphorus level during different phases of menstrual cycle. International Archives of Integrated Medicine, 3(4).

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