What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition which affects how an individuals ovaries work. Symptoms of PCOS can vary drastically between people, however the diagnostic criteria are the same for everyone. To be diagnosed with PCOS two of the following three criteria must be met: irregular periods, excess male hormones (androgens) and polycystic ovaries.
Whilst the condition cannot be cured, lifestyle changes, including supplementation, are advised for symptom management.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral found in a wide variety of foods, including spinach, nuts and wholemeal bread. As with all minerals it helps the body to function optimally. This includes helping to turn the food we eat into energy and ensuring our parathyroid glands (which produce hormones and support bone health) function normally.
Does magnesium have benefits for PCOS?
So, is magnesium for PCOS recommended? Magnesium has been found to have an impact on how glucose is metabolised within our body. Thus, leading to the suggestion supplementing with magnesium for PCOS could positively impact insulin resistance, associated with the condition. Furthermore, one study found 60 individuals with PCOS who supplemented with magnesium and vitamin E had reduced serum triglycerides and insulin levels, and reduced VLDL cholesterol levels.
Considering it is estimated up to 95% of individuals with PCOS have insulin resistance, magnesium for PCOS could indeed be beneficial.
Additionally, in a study involving people with PCOS supplementing with magnesium (oxide) and zinc for 12 weeks, a reduction in inflammatory markers was found. As chronic inflammation is associated with PCOS, this study suggests supplementing with zinc and magnesium may help to lower these inflammation levels.
Can magnesium supplements help with acne?
Research has found serum magnesium levels can be lower in individuals with acne, with another study showing low magnesium intake may affect inflammation. Furthermore, supplementation with magnesium has been shown to improve collagen production, and when supplemented with myoinositol was reported to improve acne.
Thus, research has been conducted into magnesium supplementation for acne. As part of a randomized clinical trial, 64 people with PCOS were randomly split with half receiving a magnesium supplement. Whilst quality of life was found to be improved, no significant effect was observed on acne. Further studies are required in a PCOS population to confirm whether in combination with other supplements, magnesium can provide an improvement in acne severity.
Does magnesium help with hirsutism?
Considering the promising research already discussed, should I take magnesium for hirsutism, is a common question asked. Interestingly, in a research study where 60 people with PCOS were randomized into two groups, half received magnesium, zinc, calcium and vitamin D supplementation for 12 weeks. In those that received the supplements, beneficial effects were found on hormonal profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, with significant reductions in hirsutism found.
What type of magnesium supplement should I take?
Within the research to date, different forms of magnesium have shown beneficial effects. Whilst research has found magnesium oxide in combination with other supplements has improved inflammatory markers, testosterone levels and quality of life. Conflicting research looking at the bioavailability of magnesium has shown that magnesium citrate has a higher bioavailability (absorption rate) to magnesium oxide.
Overall, despite the promising studies discussed, further research is needed in PCOS populations to definitively recommend magnesium for individuals with PCOS. If you’re considering supplementing the NHS recommended daily amount for women (aged 19-64 years) is 270mg a day and men (aged 19-64 years) is 300mg a day. Taking higher doses (over 400mg) can cause adverse effects in the short term, and long term effects are currently unknown.
Where can I buy magnesium supplements in the UK?
Magnesium Citrate 200mg by Nu U Nutrition
- Magnesium 200mg supplement is derived from Magnesium Citrate
- 6-Month Supply
Marine Magnesium Purified Sea Water Minerals & Micronutrients by Time Health
- 308mg marine magnesium
- Derived from purified seafood extract
- 4-month supply