Women who survive breast cancer often experience severe hot flashes as a result of anti-estrogen
treatment with the drug tamoxifen. these hot flashes can be extremely uncomfortable and not
amenable to usual treatments due to the concern that physicians may have about the estrogenic
activity of hormone replacement therapy as well as natural remedies like soy isoflavones and herbal
approaches. a new study shows a simple alternative in magnesium supplementation, which is a very
effective and presumably very safe therapy for these women.
Magnesium deficiency is extremely common in americans. low magnesium levels are thought to
contribute to the development of hot flashes by making blood vessels more sensitive to hormonal
changes. By supplementing with magnesium, blood vessels become more stable, thereby eliminating the
hot flashes experienced by many women in these circumstances.
Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
• Mental Confusion
• Heart Disturbances
• Muscle Cramps
• Loss of Appetite
• Predisposition to Stress
In a study involving 25 breast cancer patients (on average: 53.5 years; 8 on tamoxifen, 9 on aromatase inhibitors, 14
on anti-depressants) experiencing at least 14 hot flashes each week, supplementation with magnesium oxide (400 mg/
day for 4 weeks, increasing to 800 mg/d if needed, which occurred in 17 patients) was found to be associated with a
significant reduction in frequency/week of hot flashes (from 52.2 to 27.7, a 41.4% reduction) and hot flash score (from
109.8 to 47.8, a 50.4% reduction). More than half of the patients were found to have a greater than 50% reduction in
hot flash score and 76% were found to have a greater than 25% reduction. Reductions in fatigue, sweating and distress
were all significant.