Updated: Feb 19
Magnesium is an essential mineral used in over 300 enzyme processes in the body. 90% of our 25 grams of magnesium is stored in the muscles and bone. It is estimated that over one third of Australians do not make their daily intake with the elderly and teenagers being even higher. This is due to our reduced intake of dietary magnesium through poor nutrition, chronic diseases, medication usage or the poor soils that our food is grown in.
Many people show signs and symptoms of dietary insufficiency. Signs and symptoms include; • Stress, anxiety and nervousness • Muscle tension, cramping and restless legs • Tension headaches and migraine • Fatigue and poor sleep • High blood pressure • Premenstrual tension (PMS) • Blood sugar imbalances
The need of Magnesium increases at different stages of life especially during pregnancy and the teenage years. Other things that increase our need for magnesium;
Stress – everyday stress means our bodies require more magnesium. When we are under stress our body needs more magnesium and a lack of magnesium means we don’t cope with stress as effectively. This leads to a vicious cycle. Whilst magnesium is important, so is reducing stress or helping the body cope with stress by getting adequate sleep, healthy diet and perhaps addition of some adaptogenic herbs such as Withania, Ginseng or Licorice.
Exercise – strenuous exercise places extra demand on the body for magnesium as it is needed for energy production, muscle recovery and repair and calcium balance.
Diet – A diet that is high in alcohol, coffee, soft drink and processed food means that you will possibly have lower magnesium levels, due to low amount of magnesium in foods that are being consumed, poor absorption of minerals from the gut and the bodies increased needs of magnesium.
Medications – Some medications decrease our magnesium status, such as HRT, oral contraceptive pill, proton pump inhibitors, steroids and diuretics. So many people are on medications these days and do not even realise it may be leading to deficiencies in essential minerals where they can end up with other health issues.
Gut health – Magnesium is absorbed from the small intestine so if the health of the gut is compromised or diet is too high in fibre or fat we may not be absorbing an optimal amount of magnesium. Look for foods high in essential Magnesium and look at improving gut health with probiotics (yogurts, fermented foods), prebiotics (soluble fibre from fruits & vegetables) and gut healing nutrient's such as glutamine.
Often a supplement is needed as we can’t get enough from our diet, but there are many different forms of magnesium. Different forms are used for different conditions and suit different people.
Magnesium gycinate in a powder is the form I mostly use, as it is well absorbed, has less interference with other minerals and is well tolerated by the gut. In a powder I can also throw it into smoothies or my detox greens. Other forms that are suitable are chelated magnesium, magnesium citrate and magnesium orotate (this is used more in hearth health). Magnesium oxide is not well tolerated by the gut and can lead to irritation (explosive bowels movements). Magnesium is also available in topical form such as in Epson salts (magnesium sulphate) and topical creams and sprays (magnesium chloride). These forms seem to be best for muscle pain and tension, and with added essential oils & arnica is great for after exercise recovery. A hot soak in a bath with Epsom salts is great after a hard workout, long run or footy game.
Magnesium supplementation can take up to three months to replenish deficiencies so if you have tried magnesium before and felt no difference it may be worth finding the right fit for you.
In health & happiness,