Magnesium and Premenstrual Syndrome


Magnesium is an essential trace element for cellular homeostasis; it seems that its presence in foods is quite widespread, especially in vegetables, and in physiological conditions no dietary deficiencies are known; the deficiency (induced or in any case secondary to other disorders) of magnesium manifests itself with an alteration of the metabolism of calcium, sodium and potassium, which results in muscle weakness, impaired cardiac function and tetanic crises.

In healthy subjects, the recommended ration of magnesium is around 3 or 4.5 mg/kg, however, it has emerged that slight deficiencies of magnesium can be completely asymptomatic and that, at times, its integration can reduce the symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome and in particular the soreness associated with breast swelling.

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Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome is characterized by a set of symptoms that typically manifest themselves in the second phase of the cycle; among these we highlight physical, psychological and behavioral alterations. The triggering factors appear to be multiple: hormonal, dietary (probably including magnesium deficiency), metabolic and neurotransmission.

The diagnosis of premenstrual syndrome is carried out through the detection, in the 5 days before the flow, of some somatic and psychoaffective signs; they must occur for at least 3 consecutive cycles and must be completely absent between the 4th and 12th day of the cycle.

Obviously, the appearance of symptoms must affect the subject's lifestyle and occur independently of the intake of alcohol and drugs.


The most suitable therapy for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome is medical but not specific; there are nutritional, hormonal and drug therapies that act on the central nervous system (CNS). The drugs are administered in a personalized manner but often general indications on increasing physical activity can also be a valid help.

Diet and Useful Supplements

Nutritional therapy is particularly indicated in mild forms, but must not be missing even in more serious ones; it is undertaken in the second half of the cycle and is based on the increase of some molecules likely useful for reducing symptoms.

Among these, the most effective seems to be the integration of trace elements and especially magnesium; it is administered mainly in the luteal phase, generally through magnesium pidolate, at a dose of 300 mg/day orally. However, in case of doubt of a more significant deficiency it is possible to increase the dose up to 1.5g of elemental magnesium, divided into 2-3 daily intakes.

In general, organic magnesium salts (gluconate, aspartate, citrate, pidolate, lactate, orotate) demonstrate better intestinal absorption than inorganic salts (magnesium chloride, magnesium carbonate, magnesium sulfate) and magnesium oxide.

NOTE: before undertaking the supplement (assessed and administered by the doctor), it is advisable to ensure that the subject's renal function is not compromised.

To optimize nutritional therapy (preventive or palliative) of premenstrual syndrome, in addition to magnesium, it could be useful to integrate:

both in the luteal phase.

The control of nutritional (or combined) therapy for premenstrual syndrome is based on outpatient clinical evaluation at three-month intervals, and then every six months, associated with the recording of the symptoms emerging from the self-assessment questionnaire; this allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of the overall treatment over time.


  • Recommended Nutrient Intake Levels for the Italian population (LARN) – Italian Society of Human Nutrition (SINU)
  • Reasoned medical therapy – A. Zangara – Piccin – p
  • “Advances in endocrinology and metabolic diseases” – Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Therapy and Control of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases. Volume III – F. Monaco – SEE Florence – p 41:44
  • Family nutrition manual. Third edition – P. Holford – New Techniques – page 414
  • Mahalko JR, Sandsead HH, Johnson LK & Milne DB (1983) – Effect of a moderate increase in dietary protein on the retention and excretion of Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, P, Zn by adult malesAm. J. Clin. Nutr.37:8-14
  • Schwartz R, Spencer H & Welsh JJ (1984) – Magnesium absorption in human subjects from leafy vegetables, intrinsically labeled with stable – Mg. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 39: 571-76.


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