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Tired, Stressed, Trouble Sleeping or Constipated? Then you might need some magnesium

 

Why is it when so many people start taking a magnesium supplement feel better within a matter of day or even hours? To be honest few people get away from me without telling them they probably need some magnesium. It does wonders for so many symptoms. Especially Stress anxiety and sleep issues.

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. It is also used for over 300 chemical reactions in the body. The most notable being energy production, a healthy functioning nervous system and heart muscle, cell signalling and muscle contraction, structural role in bones, cell membranes and chromosomes. [1] Can start to see why this mineral is important?

Diets that are low in magnesium rich foods, results in an estimated 80% of the population that are deficient in magnesium [i]. It’s estimated that 95% of Australian aren’t even meeting the minimum requirements of 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day[ii]. That’s completely horrifying!

Possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:[iii]

  • Muscle twitching or spasms
  • Muscle weakness or tremor
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Muscle pains
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat

Conditions that can benefit from magnesium [iv]

  • PMS
  • Headaches including migraine headaches
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pains
  • Type II diabetes
  • Insulin resistance (when the cells are not responding to the insulin like they should)
  • Constipation
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pre eclampsia and eclampsia
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • Asthma

Testing

Testing for magnesium levels in the blood is very inaccurate so it’s waste of money. You will benefit more by working on improving your digestion, eating more magnesium rich foods, and supplementation.

Foods high in magnesium

As magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green part in plants. All the green leafy’s are the richest source of magnesium. [v]

  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Artichoke
  • Cacao
  • Mackerel

Supplementing

So besides improving the diet, sometimes supplementation is magnesium is beneficial given our modern hectic lifestyle. If you’re stressed (aren’t we all?) or am experiencing the above symptoms, then I will always recommend magnesium supplementation. This is because people are generally so deficient and their diets are often poor and their digestion is poor so the magnesium is not getting adequately absorbed.

 

Now as with all supplements you get what pay for and it’s important to do your research. I am always very cautious about supplements especially over the counter ones because of the excipients that are in products. An excipient is anything that isn’t an active ingredient. In Australia it is not required for companies to list the excipients on the labels. Many companies will sweeten and flavour things with things that aren’t so great. I have even found aspartame in some supplements.

Zinc supplementation will interfere with magnesium absorption so if you are taking a zinc supplement take it 2 hours away from the magnesium.

The type of magnesium is equally important as some types will be more likely to cause diarrhoea and are harder for the body to absorb. I prefer to use magnesium that is an amino acid chelate, or a magnesium citrate form, for the best absorption. It ‘s always a good idea to work with a health practitioner when supplementing, as there are often things like this that you won’t know when you buy something off the shelf.

References

[i] Jane Higdon and Victoria Drake, An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals: Health Benefits and Intake Recommendations, 2nd ed (Stuttgart ; New York: Thieme, 2012).

[ii] AIHW, ‘Australia’s Health 2016’ (Canberra, ACT, Australia: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 13 September 2016), http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129555544&tab=2.

[iii] Martha H. Stipanuk and Marie A. Caudill, eds., Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition, 3rd ed (St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier, 2013); L. Galland, ‘Magnesium, Stress and Neuropsychiatric Disorders’, Magnesium and Trace Elements 10, no. 2–4 (1992 1991): 287–301; ‘Magnesium Intake and Stress Reduction | Nutritional Magnesium Association’, accessed 10 January 2017, http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org/magnesium-intake-and-stress-reduction/.

[iv] Higdon and Drake, An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals.

[v] Tim Crowe et al., Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand, 2013.

 

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