Magnesium is one mineral that we usually don’t get enough of even with a healthy diet. Magnesium is difficult for the body to digest and depletion of magnesium levels in our soil and water means it is hard to get enough magnesium through dietary sources. For this reason I often recommend magnesium supplementation to clients who struggle with the following symptoms:
- inability to sleep
- waking up during night and having trouble falling asleep again
- restless legs
- irritability and sensitivity to noise
- often catching a cold or flu
- muscle cramps or soreness
- back pain
- headaches and migraines
- heart “flutters” or palpitations
- allergies and sensitivities
- body odour
- fatigue or unusual tiredness
- mental disturbances
- anxiety, depression or restlessness
- often feeling stressed
- not coping well with stress
- fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating
- bad short term memory
- poor coordination
- insulin resistance
- carbohydrate or chocolate cravings
- frequent cavities or poor dental health
If you have more than one of the above symptoms and especially if you have more than five, you could benefit from magnesium supplementation. Unfortunately, blood tests are relatively ineffective in measuring magnesium levels as less than 1% of magnesium is in the blood. Therefore, low magnesium levels are often diagnosed by symptoms alone.
Be aware that the following factors can also deplete magnesium:
- sugar (it takes 287 molecules of magnesium to metabolise a single glucose molecule!)
- processed foods
Additionally, drugs like birth control pills, hypertension medication, diuretics, insulin and certain antibiotics also deplete levels.
Why is Magnesium important?
The Weston A. Price Foundation says magnesium is the neglected mineral we cannot live without:
“Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, a healthy immune system, well functioning detoxification pathways and more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. The highest concentrations of magnesium in the body are found in the soft tissues of the brain and the heart – two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.” Read more here.
Magnesium and weight management
Magnesium is a valuable supplement to take when trying to lose weight or to assist with maintaining a healthy weight. It is important for efficient carbohydrate metabolism, helps insulin to function and aids the body during stress. If you would like to find out more about the benefits of Magnesium in weight management. Read more here.
How to get enough Magnesium?
Including magnesium-rich foods in the diet is important to maintain levels over the longer term but successful treatment of magnesium deficiency is usually best managed by taking supplements.
Magnesium rich foods that can be included in the diet include nuts, seeds and bran. Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp, dried herbs (and especially nettle in herb form) are also excellent dietary sources. The top 10 foods highest in Magnesium can be found here. Tip: If you like to give your vegetable garden a magnesium boost, sprinkle some epsom salt around your vegetable plants. The more magnesium is in your plants they more magnesium you will get when you eat them.
Magnesium absorption may be hampered if you are deficient or low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other conditions. Read more here about how to improve digestion.
There are several ways to supplement with magnesium. It is important to start with a low dose and increase it slowly as high doses will not be completely absorbed at first and most will be wasted through loose bowel motions.
The best ways to supplement for magnesium are:
- Powder form – with a product like “Cardio X” from Metagenics or “Natural magnesium” from lifestream. You can easily vary your dose and increase levels slowly.
- Trans-dermal form – as a spray applied to the skin. This is often the most effective option for those with a damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency. Check out Nelson company Salud and their spray Magnesium Mineral Supplement.
- Capsule form –great if your digestion and gut absorption are working well.
Just let me know if you would like some help to find the right supplement for you.
For further information
Australian scientist Dr Dingle has just released a new book “A Supplement A Day“, which explains how important it is to supplement our diet and the benefits for disease prevention.