Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium would have to be my favourite nutrient.  It is one of the most important, and busiest, nutrients in our body.  It is involved in over 300 chemical reactions, which explains why there are so many health benefits of magnesium.  Most magnesium is found in our bones, muscles and other soft tissues, with a small amount, also found in red blood cells and serum.  

Roles of magnesium in our bodies include:

  • Bone formation
  • Energy production
  • Muscle and nerve function
  • Nervous system function
  • Blood glucose control
  • Blood pressure regulation and cardiac vascular system function
  • Protein formation
  • DNA and RNA creation and repair.

Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is widespread and often unrecognised.  Research suggests that about 50% of the population do not consume the recommended daily amount of magnesium.

Nearly 50% of the population do not get enough magnesium.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency 

  • Low dietary intake: processed/refined foods and demineralised water contain low levels of magnesium.  Also, farming practices have resulted in reduced magnesium levels in the soil and crops
  • Reduced gastrointestinal absorption: due to poor gut health, bowel diseases (e.g. coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease), certain medications (antacids, protein pump inhibitors, some antibiotics) and vitamin D deficiency
  • Increased loss of magnesium from the gastrointestinal tract – due to chronic diarrhoea, laxative use
  • Increased loss from the kidneys – due to diabetes, alcoholism, certain medications (hypertensive drugs)
  • Greater need for magnesium – during levels of high stress, excessive sweating, pregnancy, growth
  • Ageing – as we age we absorb less magnesium in the gut and loss more in our urine.

Magnesium deficiency may be the cause of many physical and mental health problems.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency 

    • Depression and Anxiety
    • Headaches
    • Poor sleep and tiredness
    • Muscle tension and crampsimage of lady clenching her teeth, to demonstrate a magnesium deficiency sign
    • Eyelid twitching
    • Grinding teeth
    • Clenching jaw
    • Constipation
    • Sugar cravings (especially chocolate)
    • PMS

Health Benefits of Magnesium

  • Helps fatigued people feel more energised, including people with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Calms the nervous system, helping reduce anxiety and depression levels
  • Reduces stress levels – magnesium is used in the production of stress hormones
  • Helps us get a good night sleep
  • Assists in regulating blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • May lessen headache and migraine occurrences
  • Improves muscle tension and soreness, including in fibromyalgia
  • Hypertension – studies have shown that magnesium may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension
  • Reduces symptoms of restless leg syndrome and PMS

Good Sources of Magnesium

  • Nuts and seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews
  • Dark green leafy veg – spinach, Swiss chard (cooked)
  • Legumes – black beans, kidney beans, lentils
  • Whole grains – brown rice, oatsimage of different types of legumes, foods that are high in magnesium
  • Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Dark chocolate

Diet alone may not be enough to replenish deficient magnesium levels, therefore a good quality magnesium supplement may be required.  There are many different forms of magnesium in supplements, each with its own benefits.

If you’d like to know more about magnesium and what might be the right type for you,  please book in for a free discovery session here.  You can find out more about the consultations I offer here, or email me at annie@anniebarrettnaturopath.com.au or call on 0416213055.

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