Magnesium seems to be one of the most talked about supplement at the moment so I thought I’d do a little research about it’s history in supplementation. I found out that Magnesium was used as a curative as early as the seventeenth century! In the 1600’s, water from the famous Epsom spring in England was a popular curative. Both for bathing in the Epsom salt rich waters and used internally as laxatives. In 1695, magnesium sulphate as a salt was isolated from the Epsom spring water by Nehemia Grew. Interesting, right?

So lets dig deeper…

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the six essential minerals that must be supplied in the diet. It is a macro-mineral, which, unlike trace minerals, is needed by the body in large amounts.  Calcium, sodium, and potassium are also macro-minerals. Within the body’s cells magnesium serves hundreds of functions.

Why do we need Magnesium?

Magnesium role in the body includes the metabolism of food, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, keeping your immune system strong, regulating your heartbeat and the transmission of nerve impulses.

Magnesium is one of the most common co-factors in the body, crucial for:

  • Glucose and fat breakdown
  • Production of proteins, enzymes and antioxidants such as glutathione
  • Creation of DNA and RNA
  • Regulation of cholesterol production

For our overall health, Magnesium is beneficial for:

  • relieving constipation
  • easing muscle aches
  • promoting calm
  • balancing hormones
  • preventing headaches
  • balancing electrolytes
  • promoting sleep
  • improving energy levels
  • relieving anxiety
  • & so much more!

What causes Magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is quite common due to a number of factors.

  • Soils being depleted of minerals meaning less magnesium is present in the crops.
  • Digestive disorders may lead to poor absorption of magnesium
  • Lifestyle factors such as excessive caffeine intake can decrease absorption of magnesium from the gut
  • Alcohol acts as a magnesium diuretic, causing an increase in the urinary excretion of this metal. With chronic intake of alcohol and development of alcoholism, the body stores of magnesium become depleted.
  • Excessive sweating from high intensity exercise and overheating can affect your serum magnesium and other electrolyte levels.

Some of the most prominent symptoms of deficiency include:

  • headaches
  • muscle cramps
  • constipation
  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • chronic fatigue
  • muscle weakness and cramps
  • heart rhythm irregularities
  • depression and irritability
  • restless leg syndrome
  • worsened PMS symptoms
  • behavioural disorders and mood swings
  • insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • osteoporosis
  • recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low levels of nitric oxide
  • a depressed immune system
  • tooth cavities
  • impotence
  • What’s the best way to improve magnesium levels in the body?

The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions, such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production, therefore we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

What are the best ways to improve Magnesium levels in the body?

Always look at food first before going for supplements. Improving our diet will have far greater benefits for our overall health in the long term, but as I mentioned earlier, our soils are very depleted of minerals and sometimes we need to supplement in order to get the body back into balance.

Foods which contain magnesium:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, greens, rocket
  • Green vegetables – peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts
  • Fruit – figs, avocado, bananas, raspberries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes such as black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans
  • Seafood – salmon, mackerel, tuna
  • Whole grains – brown rice, oats
  • Raw cacao
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Chlorella powder

Magnesium Supplements

There are different types of magnesium supplements that you’ll likely come across, which can be a little confusing.. Below you can see which are the most bioavailable forms and what they are useful for. 

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable, this is recommended for anyone with a known magnesium deficiency and less likely to cause laxative effects than some other magnesium supplements, great for PMS symptoms, relieving anxiety, promoting relaxation and a restful sleep, also beneficial for relieving headaches.

Magnesium Malate 

Magnesium Malate is easily absorbed, improves energy levels and reduces muscle pains. This form of magnesium should not be taken in the evening as it can be too stimulating for some.

Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium Threonate has a high level of absorbability/bioavailability since it can penetrate the mitochondrial membrane. Formulated for brain health, improves memory and improves symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Magnesium Chloride Oil 

An oil form of magnesium that can be applied to skin. Great for people who have digestive disorders which prevent normal absorption of magnesium from their food. Great for relieving muscle pains from over exertion. 

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium Oxide relieves constipation, but has very poor bioavailability. I would not recommend this for low magnesium levels in the body.

My recommendations

 

My favourite ways to get Magnesium into my body are firstly through food! If I’m craving chocolate I know that my body is actually in need of some Magnesium. Always opt for dark chocolate or raw cacao! 😉 At this time of the year, I include tons of dark green leafy vegetables into soups and stews.

If I feel the need for some extra magnesium I take an Epsom Salts bath which is incredibly relaxing and magnesium is absorbed into the body through the skin.  I occasionally supplement with  Nutri Advanced Mega Mag formulas which are amazing. I also use a Magnesium spray for targeted muscle aches and pains, especially after exercise.

It is extremely important to be careful when using any supplement, including magnesium supplements. Consuming any supplement in doses that are too high can create an imbalance in other nutrients and potential toxicity. This is the reason I usually recommend getting magnesium and other nutrients from food sources, as foods naturally contain nutrients in balance.

In the case of deficiency, you may need to take a supplement for a certain period of time, but always best to consult a natural health care practitioner for guidance. 

Magnesium supplements can also interact with different drugs, so if you are already on medication, it is best to check with your doctor before taking them.

Hope you’ve found this article useful.

With love,

Daniela x