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Magnesium for PCOS

I’ve recently had a lot of questions about a very important supplement and I have become more and more intrigued to look into it’s benefits myself.

So, here we go…

What about Magnesium for PCOS?

Is it a worthwhile supplement to take and how does it help?

Well, let’s answer some of those questions. But first, let’s look at what Magnesium is and what it actually does in our bodies.


Magnesium-for-pcos-copsMagnesium is a mineral that we get through our diets. It is also the second most common deficiency in developed countries, behind Vitamin D (1). Why, you may ask?

Well, the soil that all of our plants are grown in have become depleted of Magnesium over the years. So, we’re not getting as much magnesium as we once were (2).

But what does is actually do?

Magnesium is involved in metabolism and is one of the body’s most important electrolytes. It is needed for over 300 body reactions and functions, including detoxification of toxins, regulation of blood sugar levels, relaxation of blood vessels (2).

It’s safe to say that it is pretty important!

How do I know if I’m deficient?

It can be difficult to know if you are deficient in Magnesium because most of the body’s Magnesium is stored in your bones and soft tissue, leaving only 1% of it in your blood. So, no blood test is going to be 100% reliable. Mercola.

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So, what are the symptoms of Magnesium deficiency?

According to Dr Carolyn Dean, Author of The Miracle Magnesium, people deficient in Magnesium have the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety and Panic attacks – Magnesium helps to keep stress hormones in check.
  • Bowel disease – Magnesium deficiency slows down the movement of the gut, causing constipation which can lead to a whole other set of issues.
  • Depression – Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that lifts mood, needs serotonin to function as it should.
  • Diabetes and Insulin resistance – Magnesium controls insulin secretion and helps to regulate blood sugars.
  • Fatigue – Magnesium deficiency can lead to improve and waining energy. This is because so many metabolic functions depend on Magnesium. Also, so many women I hear from complain of really low energy. Might a Magnesium deficiency be the answer, I wonder?
  • High blood pressure – Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure is common in PCOS. A Magnesium deficiency can cause spasming of the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. It also causes high cholesterol.
  • Hypoglycemia – Remember that Magnesium is important in insulin secretion and regulating blood sugars? A deficiency in this important mineral can lead to drops in blood sugars.
  • Insomnia – Melatonin, the sleep hormone, cannot be produced without Magnesium.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology – This is a big one for us. Magnesium helps with PMS, painful periods and is important in your fertility.
  • Tooth decay – Magnesium deficiency can lead to imbalances of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth (I’m off to the detest as I have tooth ache so this is really making me think that I may well be deficient in Magnesium!

That’s quite a lot!

Magnesium and PCOS

Okay, so in all of my research, I didn’t find a whole lot of medical studies suggesting that Magnesium should be taken by women with PCOS.

BUT, what I did find is loads of evidence that Magnesium can be really helpful in improving insulin levels and blood sugar regulation.

Here are some examples (2):

  • Magnesium deficiency was a common symptom of many pre-diabetics and supplementing with Magnesium improved blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71%
  • Another study found that Magnesium supplementation slows the progression from pre-diabetes to Diabetes.
  • Also, the Framingham Offspring Cohort (2006) found that those who had a higher Magnesium intake had improved insulin sensitivity and had a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Now, I know that all I’ve spoken about is Diabetes, but, remember that women with PCOS have a fundamental irregularity in insulin and glucose metabolism. We tend to release too much insulin which causes our ovaries to release too much  testosterone. So, we have to get our insulin and blood sugar under control if we’re going to improve our PCOS symptoms.
And a Magnesium supplement might just help us do that.

So, which one and how much should we take?

Magnesium-for-pcos-sprayWell, the current recommended daily allowance is between 350 and 400mg. But, both Dr Mercola and Do Dean suggest that almost double this (around 700mg) might be needed to ward off the symptoms listed above.

Also, Magnesium Glycinate seems to be the one that is best absorbed and does not have any laxative effects (always helpful). Avoid Magnesium Oxide as it is poorly absorbed and can cause tummy trouble.

Epsom salt baths and Magnesium oil sprays are also helpful ways of getting your daily Magnesium.

Here are my recommendations (these are affiliate links and I may get a commission but anything that I receive goes back into the running of the site):

A supplement of Magnesium Glycinate  – 2 a day…

Magnesium Oil   – this is a spray that you can use directly to the skin to ease aching muscles. It is absorbed through the skin there are no tummy issues when using the spray.

Epsom salts –  an Epsom salt bath is also a great way of increasing your Magnesium.

And you may well see these benefits too:

Lara Briden suggests that Magnesium can also be used to:

  • Regulate cortisol
  • Aid sleep
  • Support your thyroid health
  • Activate Vitamin D
  • Make those all-important hormones
  • Slow ageing

That all sounds pretty good to me!

Have you taken Magnesium and seen good results? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

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35 Responses

35 Responses

  1. Hi Tarryn, I am 67 yrs old and have dealt with severe PCOS issues since I was around 12 yrs old. I had the full range of symptoms with some of the worst being horrible bleeding and clots, irregular periods, horrid cramping, insomnia, depression, excessive hair growth, anxiety and prediabetes the list goes on and on. About 1 yr ago my gynecologist diagnosed me with PCOS. In January I read about Magnesium helping with insomnia. So I found a recipe for Magnesium Butter and started using it all over my body at bedtime. Before I began using it I was only able to sleep 1 to 2 hrs per night. I seem to be up to 4 to 5 hrs per night now which is huge for me. I am feeling better with more energy. During this Covid 19 pandemic my husband and I have completely deep cleaned our whole home. Pretty great feeling! It is amazing what a decent nights sleep can do. I have to wonder how different my life could have been had I known about Magnesium. What is wrong with our doctors and specialists? At one point (probably 25 yrs old) I was prescribed 2,000 milligrams of Metformin per day and was told I would need to take it for my lifetime. I will always wonder what might have been if it had been Magnesium instead of Metformin. Young girls having these issues need to some how be made aware of these findings.

  2. I started reading your blog about two months ago. I’m 41 and have only had doctor induced periods the last 12 years. We are wanting another child but can’t afford fertility treatments so I’ve been trying to get the pcos under control holistically. I read the info on magnesium and began taking it a month ago….life changing!!! I no longer wake up with a headache, I sleep better, no intestine spasms anymore and bloating is gone. I’m really grateful to have learned about this important mineral. Thank you!

  3. Hello, I am 40 yrs. old and was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 13. All of my life I have dealt with irregular periods. The longest I have gone without one is 5 years. I was on bc for the last 8 years, until I was rushed to the hospital with having multiple bi lateral PE’s(Blood clots in both lungs.) Once I stopped taking the bc, my periods stopped as well. For the last 13 months I have had no cycle. That is until yesterday! One month ago my family doctor suggested I take Magnesium Glycinate for my leg cramps and sleeping. I started taking 665mg once a day. I had no idea it was helpful with PCOS until I came across this article. Today is my second day having a normal cycle. I cannot belive it!! It is only been one month since I first started taking them. I am anxious to see how it helps my other symptoms of PCOS.

  4. Sometimes I take “Natural Calm” a magnesium supplement, by Natural Vitality. It says in the ingredients that it is ionic magnesium citrate, created from a highly absorbable proprietary blend of citric acid and magnesium carbonate. Now I only take it occasionally to help me sleep even though I have really bad insomnia many nights per week. For some reason I don’t take that often. But I’ve been thinking about just taking it daily so that may be able to help me sleep more on a regular basis. Do you think this is a good kind of magnesium that will also help me with my PCOS?

    1. The Natural Calm product you described was life changing for me. I still struggle with other PCOS symptoms, but when I am on top of taking this daily (and I have for apx 6 years) I sleep better, feel better, and am significantly better able to cope with stress and anxiety. I recommend it to anyone struggling with vague symptoms of stress and fatigue.

  5. I just bought a bottle of the brand of Mag Glyc you recommend here in this article. I greatly look forward to taking it and seeing if I see any improvements in sleep and such. Thanks.

  6. Hello

    I am a 34year women with regular periods but have facial hair growth, abdominal weight and thinning hair. I recently got off my birth control which I was put on to regulate my testosterone levels because they were very high. I’ve never had a problem with insulin and I have started to use flax seeds in my oatmeal and was going to take evening primrose vitamins. are there any other suggestions so that I don’t have to be on the pill.

  7. Hi! Can I ask what Magnesium Supplements are the best? I also have a similar case and sentiments about this. I was diagnosed with PCOS 12 years ago. I’m from Philippines btw. Thank you guys! 🙂

  8. Hi! I did some research and a high quality Mag Glycinate is EXCELLENT for anxiety and depression symptoms that come along with PCOS. I am gonna give it a try and will let you know how it goes

  9. I don’t have PCOS, but have not been tested, yet. I have all the symptoms… not sure why my primary physician has not tested me yet!🤔 One thing she did prescribe was magnesium, 400 mg, once a day. My doctor is doing a case study on migraine headaches, and how magnesium helps reduce your migraine headaches. Let me tell you, it works!! I have not had a migraine headache for 3 years!!! I take magnesium 400 mg/ every day, after breakfast. To be honest, at first I thought she was full of it. I was like, I was born with migraines, got dx, at age 5 years old, she is crazy, how is it that this magnesium Supplement, is going to help me? I had nothing to lose, but to try it. I have never felt better in my life. I highly recommend to take magnesium. I buy the soft gel 400 mg @ Costco.

  10. I have been looking into taking Magnesium supplements but the ones I’ve found in the store are 500mg. Will that be OK to take? Do I just take one a day with a meal?

    Thanks so much!

  11. Is supplemeeting with Magnesium ok if you’re taking Spironolactone? Lots of women with PCOS take it to help with acne & facial hair, including me.

    1. Hi, Angelina! I’m 35. I am a PharmD (pharmacist) from Puerto Rico and I prefer first the alternative and natural medicine. I’m not using spironolactone, but you can take it with magnesium supplementation. It’s safe! You can take it with others supplements too, like Chromium Picolinate, Evening Primrose oil, Maca, Inositol, Spearmint tea, Raspberry tea, Saw Palmetto, L-carnitine, vitamin E, Lecithin, or Turmeric.

      The mayor interaction with spironolactone is with potassium supplementation. Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic that increases sodium and water excretion in urine, but increases potassium retention from urinary system. It interacts with non-steroid anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) like ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin, nabumetone, celecoxib, etc. These drugs decrease spironolactone therapeutic effects.

      It, also have modarate interactions with Omega 3 and coenzyme Q-10. This combination may decrease our blood pressure causing hypotension.

      Another moderate interaction is between magnesium and vitamin D. High doses of Vit D rises magnesium levels that may cause renal problems.

      I haven’t used spironolactone yet, but I’m taking all these supplements I’ve mentioned above cause I’m a PCOS patient too. I had proved by two years some prescription drugs such as contraceptive hormones, Provera, clomiphene, metformin, Femara, Pregnyl, and Menopur trying to conceive by controlling PCOS, but I didn’t have my desired results. I decided to “pause” my treatment for being a mom. I did a research and with my knowledge of pharmacy and my own experience and feelings, I realized that my treatment failed cause lacked a natural supplementation, an appropriate diet and exercise to control PCOS….and the most important and impacting to me….I forgot relax my mind and lost my self-confidence.

      I started just seven weeks ago, a new treatment with the most accessible, affordable and safest things for me. I’m taking my natural supplements, doing cardio exercises, consuming a PCOS diet, receiving approaching from PCOS blogs, receiving hypnotic treatment by a psychologist, doing yoga and meditation!!! My life is changing now. My mind, my body and my soul are purifying in a fabulous way. I have an enormous support from my family and my husband, but I had to show them first a woman with PCOS…they saw me…and they felt my PCOS. I thank God for that!

      I hope that all of us can reach our desires to be a mommy or to control PCOS and to be understood by the others like my family did.

      We are not alone! I’ve PCOS… and you too! I feel like we are just one…we have the same feelings, the same tears, the same worries, the same fears, the same hopeless, the same thoughts, the same PCOS. We have ourselves!!! We have the same opportunities to success like any other person. I want to be a mommy and want to control my PCOS…I know I will.

      I hope all of you feel like I’m feeling now.

      1. Im unsure if magnesium will stop it but im looking in to getting some for other issues i believe to be pcos related, however ive had great luck with Spirnolactone, my hqir has gone down by more than half and become manageable, also its makes the hair on ur legs and armpits grow n slower too as an added bonus lol

        1. How many mg of spironolactone are you taking to get the hair to go down by more than half? I have been taking 25mg for 4 months and have no changes that I can notice. Thanks, Carol

    2. Angelina,

      I see this an old post, but I just asked my doctor this question this morning and she said that while both increase your potassium, which could lead to heart issues, if you stick to 400mg of magnesium and stay well hydrated it shouldn’t be an issue.

  12. I haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS but I have had many symptoms. I also have horrible cramps in my legs, thighs, feet, etc. Taking potassium helped for awhile but they kept getting worse. My doctor told me if taking potassium was not helping I needed magnesium so I started taking it. I am amazed at how much it has helped me. The cramps are so much better. I have had food cravings my whole life! I woke up and went to sleep craving sweets and chocolate. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks for years. My stress levels have been through the roof. Since I have been taking magnesium all of this is so much better. I woke up this morning and did not even want anything to eat until lunchtime or after. Not even sweets. I’m thinking I must have been deficient most of my life. So far taking magnesium has made a tremendous difference in my life.

    1. Hi I was just wondering if you would be willing to share what the name is of the magnesium you take and how much? Everything you wrote sounded like my life story 🙁 I want to ask my Dr about it 🙂 thanks x

  13. Hello, I was told to come to this website by my doctor, I am looking for Meal plans as i need to lose around 2 stone in 5 month to be able to see the Gynocoloigst Doctor.
    I have tried to join up but not getting any emails, i have looked in my junk folder too.

  14. I was diagnosed with PCOS several years ago. I make my own magnesium body butter, and it makes a tremendous difference in my quality of sleep and my energy levels. I also use it on my 9 year old daughter, who has had problems sleeping since she was an infant…she now sleeps better than she ever has! I highly recommend using magnesium to anyone suffering from similar issues. What a lifesaver!

  15. Do all women with PCOS have Irregularity of insulin and glucose metabolism? Or just most? I have not ready anything about n the site yet about how PCOS have two types: one being insulin resistant and the other not being insulin resistant, caused by something else. I do take magnesium/calcium supplement because I am breastfeeding a baby that I didn’t carry, but after testing, my Reproductive endocrinologist said I am not insulin resistant (I took the 3 hour diabetes test). From what I was understand, birth control and metformin would not help me to correct my body’s imbalance or to ovulate since there is no insulin issue. Just wondered if the non insulin resistant type has irregularity of insulin and glucose metabolism too?

    1. Hi Rosie!

      Well, I have PCO and recently I’ve taken the test you mentioned. My results were ok 🙂 I think that you can develop insulin resistance if you have PCO, at least it’s what I’ve read. The other issue is if PCO is genetical (as it is in my case) it might have different symptoms and I think it’s harder to ‘cure’.
      I’m not sure if I’m right here. Anyone to confirm?

      1. Hi, I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 13 and I am now 31. I have had 3 children without the need for fertility medication. I am a PA student at this time and it is my understanding the PCOS can LEAD to insulin resistance. When I was first diagnosed I was not insulin resistant, later in my 20’s I was.
        There is a balance between your BMI and insulin resistance. The higher your BMI the more likely you are to be insulin resistant (by the way that is for everyone, not just PCOS patients). Here is the kicker… if you get your weight under control hormone production that triggers insulin resistance decreases and your symptoms will minimize if not go away.
        It is important to remember that PCOS is a combination of symptoms, you may or may not exhibit all of them.
        ***PCOS has a genetic and environmental component. There is not a cure but you can get your symptoms under control. The most important way to do this is through diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to minimizing symptoms.

        1. Hi Amanda & all,

          It has been nice to read all these comments about women with PCOS. I was diagnosed just last year and am still in the process of finding a solution. My biggest issue (among the hair growth, acne, irregular periods and low energy) is my weight and weight gain. Despite maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, I cannot lose weight. It just will not come off. I am intrigued by magnesium, maybe this will help? Does anyone have any suggestions or have any experience with successful weight loss while having PCOS?

          Thanks very much

          1. It will help..im doing these supplement cocktail for PCOS..and my weight come off 11 lbs in one month and a half..im also on keto diet..and being a busy person..i rarely excercise..so this hormone changing supplements really do help in weight loss..i ve been eating the same pattern (keto) before but never lose any..but thankfully after taking this approach it came off..

    2. I have PCOS with insulin resistance for years and passed my diabetes tests during pregnancy. 2 different things.

  16. I just ordered the oil you suggested; however I don’t see any information on the dosage of magnesium you would get by using this spray. It does suggest using twice a day. Do you know how much magnesium I would be getting with this by chance?

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