You are deep in peaceful sleep and wake to AAAGGGH agonizing pain!  Your muscles in your calf are all contracting feeling like they are ripping the muscle from the bone. You can’t move, yet you can’t stay still.  MISERY!!!  If this has happened to you, it is time to take control.  Charley Horses or muscle cramps are just one sign of Magnesium deficiency.  Other such symptoms are muscle twitches, fear of crowds, anxiety, insomnia, and startling easily with loud noises.  It also can lead to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis.  Magnesium deficiency is also linked to tension headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia symptoms.  

 Many things can make you deficient in Magnesium such as medications including diuretics like Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) used to treat high blood pressure.  Acid blocking medications such as Omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole and many others, also decreases your ability to breakdown your foods, decreasing the amount of minerals you can absorb from your food.  Alcoholism decreases magnesium in the body.  Digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome may also decrease your magnesium absorption. 

How can you know if you are magnesium deficient? Testing for magnesium deficiency in the serum (blood) is not an accurate measure.  You can test red blood cell intracellular levels of magnesium or white blood cell magnesium levels with a test from Spectracell lab called the Micronutrient Panel.

Magnesium is available in trace amounts in foods such as leafy greens, veggies, avocado, beans, nuts and seeds, oat bran, yogurt and kefir.  If you are going to supplement magnesium, avoid the oxide form (X in the name means NO).  This is the least absorbable form of magnesium and is only good for constipation since it is an osmotic laxative.  The other forms of magnesium, such as glycinate, citrate, threonate, chloride and gluconate are absorbed much easier and are much more tolerated. 

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Muscle Cramps keeping you up at night?  Magnesium may be the key.

Even before you stop having a period, you can be deficient in Progesterone.  Many women feel they are going crazy, cannot sleep, cannot remember anything.  They are having migraines and joint pain worse than ever before.  Their cycles are becoming more irregular anywhere from every 14 days to skipping periods altogether.  Their periods are getting heavier and lasting longer.  These are some of the symptoms of low progesterone:

Weight gain:  Some of the symptoms are not very specific, such as fatigue, trouble sleeping and weight gain, so it is hard to know what is causing them.  What you used to be able to eat is no longer working for you and the pounds start creeping in.  What you used to be able to do to lose weight, is less effective.  Progesterone improves mitochondrial production, so when the levels drop, the engine of the cell slows down resulting in fatigue, slower metabolism, and worse brain function. 

Hormone Imbalance:  Progesterone is secreted from the ovaries after ovulation, but we stop ovulating before we stop having periods.  Estrogen is still secreted and without progesterone, this can lead to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.  Higher estrogen to progesterone ratios can lead to breast tenderness, and a thickening of the endometrial lining.  When this lining sheds, it results in heavy prolonged bleeding and in some unfortunate women, the bleeding can continue for MONTHS!!!  It can be so severe they are having to change a pad AND a tampon every 30 minutes and run the risk of damaging their couches and chairs from uncontrolled bleeding.  This loss of blood leads to further fatigue, irritability, and can result in anemia.  This imbalance in hormones is also linked to worsening and more frequent migraines.

Brain Function:  Progesterone has been shown to bind onto GABA receptors in the brain.  GABA helps provide relaxation and focus so without this stimulation we see a lot of brain fog and anxiety peri-menopausally.  Progesterone has been shown to repair a compromised blood brain barrier, so without it, more inflammatory substances have access to the brain leading to brain inflammation, and worsening brain fog. 

Insomnia:  Progesterone is calming to the brain, so without it, our minds can race.  It becomes difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, even when we are tired.  We cannot get into the deeper stages of sleep which is regenerating to our brain.  This lack of sleep is also making it more difficult to concentrate throughout the day.   

If you are having any of these symptoms, you should be evaluated by Dr. Plunkett.  By balancing your estrogen to progesterone ratios, you can get your life back. 

Article by Kristen Plunkett, ND November 2018

Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency

Breast Tenderness
Irregular Periods
Heavy Bleeding
Memory Issues
Joint Pain
Brain Fog
Weight Gain
Prolonged Periods
Lower Libido
Dry Eyes
Memory Issues

When Hormones Go Awry:  The Many Signs of Progesterone Deficiency

       Dr. Kristen Plunkett, ND November 24, 2018