Cramps

 

Menopause creates challenges, there is no denying that but before we head off to anti-depressant and HRT land why not explore many natural therapies that might surprise you regarding their health benefits and management of symptoms.

You may not have a lot of control over the changes to your body, but you do have control over what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise and what you think.

I am a self-confessed hypochondriac and when my (now retired GP) saw me coming she braced herself and sat quietly while I prattled off the myriad of pains I had been experience.  You see my mum died of ovarian cancer, it was too late before they diagnosed her, because she put all her pain down to menopause and rheumatoid arthritis.  This impacted me and created a sense of suspicion every time I hear the words, ‘oh that’s just menopause’.

Don’t ever allow yourself to feel embarrassed to ask your Health Professional if something is wrong, especially during menopause.  One issue that I’m dealing with is the constant leg cramps – almost nightly resulting in limping for days and like a lot of menopause symptoms, it begins to take its toll.

As part of my quest to find natural therapies I started to find out what causes leg cramps.   I found out that low levels or magnesium deficiency results in the mild to severe health symptoms. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, and fatigue. Severesymptoms include tingling, numbness, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms, seizures, weak or fragile bones, hair loss, unsightly or ingrown nail ridges, and personality changes due stress and depression. The long-term health risks may include hypertension and cardiovascular diseases; osteoporosis; joint pains or arthritis; migraine headaches; obesity and diabetes; and inflammations associated with certain cancers (NIH, 2016).

There is so much information on the internet that you need to be careful that you always verify the information with a health professional.

I found out that Magnesium is an essential macromineral primarily utilsied throughout the body parts such as the cells, tissues, muscles, bones, cartilage, heart, liver, brain, nerves, pancreas, eyes, skin, hair, nails, heart, blood, ovaries, and among others. It is beneficial in the structural formation of bones and cartilages; nerve impulse transmission; muscle contraction; normal heart rhythm or effective vascular tone; and proper development of nails and hair. It is a cofactor in numerous cellular enzymes for diverse biochemical reactions in the body related to energy production; DNA and RNA synthesis; protein synthesis; and active transport of potassium and calcium ions across cell membranes. It supports the metabolic functions of the liver to control blood sugar via glycolysis process; hormone production and regulation including insulin in the pancreas, male and female sex hormones, and anti-stress hormone or serotonin in the brain (NIH, 2016).

 Another challenge I have is my choice to go Vegetarian and wheat free.  Don’t worry I did get a dietician and a nutritionist to help me understand what foods I need to eat for optimum health.

What can a vegetarian, non-wheat eating chick eat that will give the most Magnesium and zinc-rich foods (I added zinc into the mix simply because it came with the research:

Dark, green leafy vegetables- spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli; legumes- soybeans, peas, beans, black beans; nuts-almonds, cashews, peanuts; seeds- flax, pumpkin, and chia seeds; whole grains-quinoa, or buckwheat, oatmeal; Fruits-avocadoes and bananas; and fortified foods- dark chocolate, peanut butter, etc (NIH, 2016).

 If you are the type of person to ask questions to your GP about what goes into the prescription that you are taking and how it interacts with your body, then you will love this next part.  As part of my self-diagnosis, proactive personality I delved into how the body absorb Magnesium and Zinc.   Once ingested, magnesium and zinc are rapidly dissolved into the ionic forms after encountering the acidic stomach environment. In this soluble, fluid state, the magnesium and zinc ions may bind with anions to form stable salts or specific amino acids to form amino acid complexes.  Consequently, the free ions or bound amino acid complexes of magnesium and zinc travel down to the duodenum and get into contact with the gastrointestinal mucous membranes where they are absorbed via small mineral ion channels situated along the intestinal wall (Keogh, 2014).  Fascinating, isn’t it?

Another good way to get magnesium is by relaxing in a bather full of Magnesium salt. Magnesium salt, also known as Epsom salt, is a pure mineral compound name for magnesium sulfate used to prevent and treat diverse health issues related to magnesium deficiency (WebMD, 2017).

 Last but not nearly the least, there are essential oils that contain magnesium and zinc and by following the instructions on the bottle you could either use it Topically, Internally or Infused.  (Ashley 2014)

  • marjoram, lavender

  • chamomile

  • wintergreen

  • lemongrass

  • neroli

  • Myrtle

Normal Symptoms for peri-menopausal

Difficult in getting to sleep, irregular periods, headaches, migraines, mood swings

See your GP/Doctor/Health Professional to check if you are Peri-menopause or menopausal.

References

Ashley, E. (2014). The Complete Guide to Clinical Aromatherapy and the Essential Oils of the Physical Body. Los Gatos: Smash words Edition.

Dr. Axe. (2017). 7 Signs of Zinc Deficiency & the Best Foods to Cure it! Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from https://draxe.com/zinc-deficiency/

University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) (2008). Zinc.  Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from http://www.uchospitals.edu/pdf/uch_015767.pdf

Keogh, P. (March 2014). Optimizing Absorption Of Zinc And Magnesium. Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from http://www.govita.com.au/optimising-absorption-of-zinc-and-magnesium/

National Institute of Health (NIH). (February 11, 2016). Zinc: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

National Institute of Health (NIH). (February 11, 2016). Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

WebMD. (July 20, 2017). Why Take an Epsom Salt Bath? Retrieved on 27th September 2017 from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/epsom-salt-bath#1