Magnesium is a major mineral in our body and is found in many dietary sources. It plays many vital roles in our health and is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions that regulate and maintain the health of our body. Magnesium is required for creating new proteins from amino acids, creating and repairing DNA and RNA (genes), development and maintenance of bone and muscle, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation and energy production; amongst many other functions.
Magnesium can be depleted from the body quite easily by intense and regular exercise, poor dietary habits (processed foods), regular coffee consumption, alcohol, stress, gastrointestinal issues, pharmaceutical drugs – particularly antibiotics, and people with Type 2 Diabetes. In Australia it is often depleted in our soils so our food contains less magnesium then what it once used to.
Magnesium can help with:
Reducing muscle soreness – a magnesium salt bath (such as Epsom salts) can be beneficial after intense exercise to assist in muscle recovery. It works by relaxing the muscles and helps to flush out toxins such as protein breakdown and lactic acid.
Fights anxiety, depression & stress – magnesium is critical for brain and nerve function and helps balance stress hormones. Studies have shown links between magnesium deficiency and depression, with trials showing that magnesium supplementation improved mood.
Promoting better sleep – Melatonin (our sleep regulating hormone) production is disrupted when magnesium is deficient. Magnesium will also help promote rest and relaxation, enabling you to fall asleep easier.
Relieving headaches – a great trick to ease tension-induced headaches.
Relieving PMS symptoms – helps reduce cramping, improve mood and reduce water retention associated with PMS.
Some of the signs that can indicate magnesium deficiency include:
• Loss of appetite &/or nausea
• Muscle cramps, twitching, soreness
• Sleep troubles
• Fatigue and weakness
• PMS symptoms
• Irregular heartbeat
• Constant headaches
Dietary sources of magnesium include:
• Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and beet leaves
• Nuts and seeds
• Beans and legumes
• Whole grains
• Raw cacao powder and dark chocolate
If you struggle to get the recommended intake for your needs through your diet, then supplements are another option. However, there are a number of different types of magnesium supplements. It is vital to talk to a qualified nutritionist or natural health care practitioner to find out what is best for you.
Written by Tristen Van Der Kley
Balanced Body Nutrition
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