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Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Many Benefits of Magnesium


Magnesium is arguably one of the most important minerals in the body. It is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, mainly including energy dependant activities. It is required for healthy bones, muscles and nerves and is helpful in treating migraines/headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety. Magnesium deficiency is common and many Australians may not be aware they are low in this essential mineral.

Causes of magnesium deficiency

•    Use of certain medications and chronic diseases

•    Reduced magnesium in foods due to soil depletion and processing techniques

•    Digestive diseases, leaky gut and poor absorption of minerals

The four most common at-risk groups include:

1.    People with gastrointestinal complaints

2.    The elderly

3.    People with type 2 diabetes

4.    Alcoholics

Unfortunately, magnesium is not an easy mineral to test for and deficiency will not show up in a simple blood test. Like calcium, only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood and often doesn’t give an accurate representation of total levels.

What you can use magnesium for

Because magnesium depletion is associated with a myriad of different deficiency signs and symptoms it can be used for a wide-range of health effects. Here are some of its most common uses.

Reduces anxiety and insomnia

Magnesium can help to calm the body, relax our muscles and improve mood. It’s no wonder people who are stressed have been found to have lowered levels of magnesium in their body. A 2012 article found that lowered magnesium can reduce the GABA cycle in the body which can lead to extreme anxiety and in more severe instances depression and hallucinations. In addition to anxiety, magnesium can be used to help with insomnia without any nasty side-effects. Bioceuticals Ultra Muscleze Night powder is an example of specific magnesium to reduce stress and promote a good night’s sleep. It can be taken twice a day to reduce daytime anxiety and before bed for insomnia.

Migraine headaches

Daily intake of magnesium has been linked to a reduction in migraine headaches, even ones that are related to the menstrual cycle. It achieves this by reducing muscular spasm—aiding relaxation and dilation of blood vessels. Magnesium also helps to alter the balance of neurotransmitters. An imbalance of these, particularly serotonin, has been linked to the pathogenesis of migraines.

Heart Health

Magnesium helps to regulate calcium, potassium and sodium which are important for healthy heart function and rhythm. Without sufficient amounts of magnesium in the body people are at higher risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. An article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “circulating and dietary magnesium are inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk”. This means that the lower your intake of magnesium and the lower the magnesium you have circulating in your body the higher your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Low magnesium levels have been associated with thicker plaque in arteries, an increased risk of stroke and a decrease in blood flow. Although there are many different forms of magnesium available, magnesium orotate is the preferred form for heart and cardiovascular health. Nature’s Own Magnesium orotate is available in two different strengths.

Muscle function

Two of the most obvious symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are muscle cramps and spasms which most people experience in the feet and calves. Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle relaxation and can work very quickly to provide relief. Supplementation is suitable for people suffering from fibromyalgia, muscle pain and restless leg syndrome. Even athletes and people who work out and experience a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles can benefit from magnesium. An example of good all-round magnesium is Cabot Health’s Magnesium Complete. It contains four different kinds of well-absorbed forms of magnesium—covering everything from muscle pain to headaches.

Bone health

Most people think of calcium for bone health but did you know that the majority of magnesium is found in bone. Supplementing with magnesium has been found to slow the development of osteoporosis in as little as 30 days. Magnesium is important for the health of our teeth and its magnesium (not calcium), that is vital for the hardening of our tooth enamel. However, if you’re supplementing with calcium it’s important to take magnesium also in a 1:2 ratio.

Diabetes

Magnesium deficiency is common among those with type 2 diabetes as it is vital for healthy blood sugar balancing. A diet rich in magnesium and magnesium supplementation has been shown to significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Even a low dose of 100mg per day lowered the risk by 15%. As diabetes causes damage to nerves and is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, magnesium is a nutrient that provides protection in these areas. Even those with insulin resistance and prediabetes would benefit from increasing their magnesium intake.

Increase your energy

Weakness, low energy and fatigue are all common deficiency signs of magnesium. While magnesium can improve muscle relaxation and aids anxiety it is on the other hand important to produce energy on a cellular level. ATP is a coenzyme that is responsible for transporting energy within our cells for metabolism and healthy cell division. Magnesium is required in the production of ATP and this is why magnesium deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish and droopy eyed. So next time you feel like that next cup of coffee for an artificial energy hit, why not try magnesium instead and experience a wide-range of other health benefits.

Need to get more magnesium in the diet? 

High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, bananas, dark chocolate, dried fruit and wholegrains. Try eating a few serves from a variety of magnesium rich sources for healthy muscle, bone, nerve and heart health.

This is a guest blog post.

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