So what is Magnesium anyway?
Magnesium is a mineral required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, and helps your cells make energy.
Magnesium is also required for:
- Supporting a healthy heart
- Promoting normal blood pressure
- Breaking down protein, carbohydrate & fat to make energy
- Relieving symptoms of PMS
- Enhancing muscle relaxation and relieving muscle cramps & spasms
- Helping you cope with stress better
That is why the list of conditions that are found related to magnesium deficiency is so long. In fact, there are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency!
Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
There's a high chance you're deficient in Magnesium
Yep. Over 50% of us are deficient in one of the most important minerals. Magnesium is found in a wide range of foods. However, the bad news is that it can be difficult to get an adequate supply of magnesium from your diet. In fact, a recent scientific study found that the daily intake of magnesium was below the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for 76% of men and 86% of women tested! On top of this, modern lifestyles actually increase your daily magnesium requirements significantly. For example, stress can deplete magnesium levels, as can a high consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol. Exercise can also increase your magnesium requirements.
A magnesium deficiency can manifest in many different ways. If you suffer from any of the following, you may well be suffering from a magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle cramps
- Chronic back pain
- Muscular pain
- Brain fog
- Chocolate cravings
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Sleeping troubles
- Irregular heartbeat
- Impaired memory/thinking
Why are we so deficient in magnesium?
- We are eating minimally nutritious food. We settle for packaged and processed foods which will leach magnesium instead of provide it. Food and drink high in salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol also deplete magnesium levels
- We are stressed out! We’re running our engines on overdrive, doing more and sleeping/relaxing less. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium. Stress and hypervigilance lead to depletion of magnesium stores.
- We are eating more sugar than ever. For every molecule of sugar we consume, our body’s need fifty molecules of magnesium to process it. Sugar is extremely inflammatory and requires magnesium as a cofactor in metabolic reactions to handle the load.
- The low levels in the soil and modern farming techniques deplete stores of magnesium.
- Magnesium is depleted by many pharmaceutical drugs and estrogen compounds such as oral contraceptives, antibiotics, cortisone, prednisone, and blood pressure medications.
How much do we need?
The daily recommended intake for Magnesium are:
- 400mg/day (men 19-30 years); 420mg/day (men >30 years)
- 310mg/day (woman 19-30 years); 320mg/day (women >30 years)
- 400mg/day (pregnancy < 18 years); 350mg/day (pregnancy >18 years)
- 360mg/day (lactation < 18 years); 310mg/day (lactation > 18 years).
If we are taking a supplement, most people will benefit from 400-1000mg/day.
So what foods should we be eating?
Foods that are high in magnesium include:
- Leafy greens
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Quinoa and other unrefined grains
- Dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa)
- Sea vegetables
- Dates & Figs
Are we getting enough simply from our food?
In the perfect world, eating a balanced diet full of unprocessed, organic whole-foods would be enough to maintain optimum nutrition levels. But when was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables, nuts, greens & beans?
If you have organic diet rich in magnesium, don't experience high levels of stress, avoid sugar, coffee & alcohol, and don't take any pharmaceutical medication, then sure! You may very well be able to maintain your magnesium levels through diet. But what about when we need a good therapeutic dose? A therapeutic dose is a dose high enough to bring our levels back up to optimum, not just keep them where they are.
Our increased requirements for magnesium due to diet and lifestyle factors means that we should seriously consider taking a magnesium supplement.
Why we should be supplementing with Magnesium
If you are low in magnesium it is important to replenish your reserves with a supplement, as well as eating magnesium rich foods. Different magnesium formulas are available with different combinations of ingredients and doses for different conditions such as cardiovascular health, exercise support, fatigue, anxiety, or cramps.
Although magnesium supplementation is traditionally used to correct or avoid a deficiency research has shown that supplementation can play a role in the management of several health conditions when given in the right form and dose.
Nutritional supplementation is not just for preventing deficiencies, it can actually be used to treat conditions by correcting chemical pathways that are out of sync. Some of the most common conditions magnesium has been used to treat include headaches and migraines, PMS, stress, heart problems, fatigue, asthma, depression, anxiety, restless legs syndrome and period pain.
Supplementing with magnesium may be the most appropriate way to optimise your magnesium levels with a therapeutic dose and to address many health concerns.
Choosing the right supplement
Not all forms of magnesium are created equal. Different types of magnesium have different benefits. So, when choosing a magnesium supplement, we want to make sure that we are getting the right one for our own needs and that we aren't wasting our money.
Some forms are absorbed very poorly by the body, and some will give you diarrhoea. Choose one that is highly absorbable and better utilised by the cells in your body to make energy and keep you healthy.
Avoid: Magnesium oxide, Magnesium sulfate, Magnesium carbonate & Magnesium glutamate as they are cheap, poorly absorbed and may have unwanted side effects such as diarrhoea.
Try: Magnesium bisglycinate. It one of the best and most bioavailable forms of magnesium out there and is also the least likely to give you diarrhoea. Plenty of research has been done on magnesium bisglycinate, and there are some pretty impressive benefits. Including:
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Lower stress
- Improved heart and cardiovascular health
- Control chronic pain problems
- Reduced migraine frequency and severity
- Reduced general headache frequency and severity
- Control blood sugar and protect against type 2 diabetes
If you think you need magnesium supplementation, make an appointment today to get a high quality supplement that’s right for you.