Dealing with all those nasty peri-menopause symptoms, like hot flashes, depression, breast pain and nervous tension? Insomnia, headaches, mood swings anyone? Or how about just Big, Bad PMS that’s making life a living hell? Yeah, welcome to the club. Well, all is not lost. Although it feels as if you’ve lost all control of your body, you’re still in charge, and you can alleviate the suffering. Have you considered adding minerals to your health regimen? In case you didn’t know, minerals play a key role in combatting diseases and alleviating many health issues affecting women.
When we think about taking better care of our health, we usually think of eliminating junk foods from our diet, exercising more, drinking more water and taking our vitamins. But one critical thing missing from this list, and one which is especially important for women given our unique nutritional needs, is ensuring we have the right balance of certain minerals in our bodies.
Why Mineral Supplements Help Us Feel Better
Often forgotten or overlooked, minerals are one of the six essential nutrients that our bodies need to function effectively. If our bodies don’t get enough of certain critical nutrients, then they simply won’t function at their best and we increase the risk of disease or other medical problems. For this reason, minerals can have a significant impact on blood pressure, weight management, cancer prevention, depression, pain, PMS and digestion, to name a few.
While everyone needs minerals in the right balance to be their healthiest, for women, having this right balance is especially important given our unique health needs and the fact that our requirements for specific minerals may change throughout our life. This is very evident when we look at the interplay between minerals and reproductive health.
In addition to knowing how minerals can impact specific health issues, it’s also important to understand our bodies may need different amounts of certain minerals at different times in our life. For example, as women, we tend to need more iron during our reproductive years than men do since iron is lost during menstruation. One sign of low iron is lack of energy and another is depression.
The Best Minerals for PMS and Menopause
Let’s look at two of the most common health issues that all women face—namely PMS and menopause. Looking at PMS first, while medications are available to relieve some symptoms, they may offer only temporary relief and generally have side-effects. But what many women aren’t aware of, and don’t take advantage of, is that minerals may help reduce the severity of, or even eliminate, PMS symptoms.
One of the most important minerals for reducing PMS symptoms is calcium, the same mineral responsible for building strong bones and combatting osteoporosis. In fact, calcium is the most well-studied mineral that may help PMS symptoms. These include “PMS moodiness,” headaches, joint pains and fluid retention. Magnesium is another mineral that may be effective in addressing PMS symptoms. Some studies have shown that getting enough magnesium can greatly improve your PMS symptoms, including depression, breast pain, weight gain and nervous tension. Other minerals that may manage PMS symptoms include potassium, chromium, copper, iron and manganese.
Turning to menopause, most women are told that they need to be aware of their calcium levels during this period of their lives. Calcium is critical for maintaining hair and bone health during menopause. And an important study by the Women’s Health Initiative found higher hip bone density and fewer hip fractures among women supplementing with calcium. Calcium is so important during menopause that the National Institutes of Health recommends calcium for preventing osteoporosis.
Probably the most bothersome symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia. Magnesium, zinc and iron may help with your mood swings, along with vitamin B6. Hot flashes, however, only showed improvement with hormone replacement. If you do not want hormone therapy but suffer from hot flashes, join a boot camp and exercise as regularly as you can.
Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs, a revolutionary non-profit health care company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. For more information, visit www.phlabs.org and read Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, available through Amazon, iTunes or wherever books are sold.