Magnesium

Magnesium

THE IMPORTANCE OF MAGNESIUM

Magnesium (Mg) is a mineral that is involved in the workings of the body day to day, hour to hour.  In fact, it plays a role in activating a total of over 300 biochemical processes.

From your nervous system to the heart, let’s have a look at what this mineral does and why it is important to maintain good levels of it in our diet.

MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH

Mg is involved in muscle and nerve conduction and so ultimately plays a role in the contraction and (more so) relaxation of muscle.  It may reduce the duration and occurrence of post-exercise muscle soreness, reduce the incidence of muscular cramps, twitches and restless legs.

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

The heart is a muscle, it contracts and relaxes to pump blood through it and throughout the body.  As mentioned above, muscles are affected by the levels of Mg in our body.  It may be indicated for issues such as heart arrhythmias, ultimately normalising the heart’s rhythm.  For this reason also, magnesium may aid in reducing high blood pressure.

NERVOUS SYSTEM HEALTH

Magnesium is closely involved in nervous system health- with the potential to improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.  The reason behind this is the mineral is involved in the production of serotonin, as a precursor.  Serotonin is our “happy hormone”, which at optimal levels helps us maintain good mood levels.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Once again your bowel is a muscle!  It contracts and relaxes to move waste along to eventually eliminate.   Sometimes the bowel can be so contracted, waste cannot move along resulting in constipation.  Magnesium can relax this muscle, helping get things moving a little more smoothly.

HEADACHES/MIGRAINES

Research has found that individuals who suffer from recurrent migraines and/or headaches have been found to have lower Mg concentrations in their cells.  A study based on this information showed that after 9 weeks treatment with magnesium, the frequency in which a migraine occurred decreased, as well as their overall duration.

HYPERGLYCAEMIA / INSULIN RESISTANCE

High blood glucose levels as well as insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic phase) results in a lowered concentration of magnesium.   If in a state of insulin resistance, adding extra magnesium has shown in research to improve insulin signalling.  Meaning when blood glucose is elevated, insulin is more readily released to move that glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells.

FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN MAGNESIUM

  • Leafy green vegetables- kale, spinach, watercress, silverbeet, collard greens
  • Seeds- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and cashews
  • Whole grains- especially barley.  Make sure the grains you use are unprocessed as Mg is lost during any hulling or processing.  The milling of wheat grain for example can result in the loss of 90% of magnesium from the grain
  • Beans- especially lima beans
  • Cacao powder- raw cacao is high in Mg.  Enjoy a raw cacao hot chocolate, add it into your smoothies or enjoy in healthy treats such as energy balls.

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN LOOKING AT SUPPLEMENTS

There are many different forms of magnesium, and some are better absorbed than others in our bodies.  Research into this field has shown that magnesium citrate is the best absorbed out of all the magnesiums.  Magnesium Orotate is specifically beneficial for heart conditions.  Magnesium oxide however, which is found in many of the over the counter supplements, is a cheaper form of magnesium and not very well absorbed.  It is also used in many ‘colon cleansing’ formulas, this shows that this form of magnesium mainly just moves through the bowel at a faster rate and doesn’t absorb, but rather flushing out.

It is also very important to note not to swallow your magnesium with a cup of coffee!  Coffee and black tea can bind to you magnesium and ultimately flush it out.

Are you often stressed, not sleeping well, drinking lots of coffee, get twitches under the eye or leg cramps?  You may need some magnesium.  Consult with your practitioner to get the right form of magnesium and the correct dosage. 

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