Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Is it true that magnesium can help in reducing the menstrual pain of dysmenorrhea?
A: Preliminary studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may be helpful for dysmenorrhea. A study of 50 women with menstrual pain found that treatment with magnesium significantly improved symptoms. The researchers reported evidence of reduced levels of prostaglandin F2 alpha, a hormone-like substance involved in pain and inflammation.
It works best when taken 3 to 5 days prior to the onset of cramps. Some practitioners believe that magnesium works best when combined with vitamin B6. Be sure to discuss the option of taking magnesium supplements with your physician before beginning to take them. You might also consider consulting a licensed herbalist for a specific prescription for your needs.