The role of magnesium in the human body shouldn’t be underestimated. Here’s a look at why it’s important, the food stuffs we can get it from, the effects of deficiency and some recommended supplements.
Why Is Magnesium Important?
This element can be hugely under-appreciated. When talking about deficiencies or possible causes of certain symptoms, magnesium often gets overlooked, and yet it contributes to nerve, psychological, bone and muscle function, among other things.
Magnesium, a mineral found in the sea, plants, animals, earth and humans, is often underrated and overlooked when it comes to our health. Every cell in that fabulous body of yours needs magnesium to function.
It has various functions and reactions in the body. For instance :
- Muscles – contraction and relaxation
- Energy – converting food into much-needed energy
- Maintenance of genes – creating & remaining RNA & DNA
- Maintenance of bones
- Neurotransmitter regulation – Such as GABA, important for sleep
- Forming proteins from amino acids
- Regulation of the nervous system
Daily Recommend Intake
It’s thought that about 50% of those in Europe & the US don’t get enough magnesium. What’s more, you need a little more of it when exercising, and studies suggesting the mineral can help boost performance not just in athletes but in the elderly and those of us with chronic illness, though more research is needed in this area.
According to UK guidelines, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 300mg for men and 270mg for women. While you can get this mineral from your diet, many people may struggle to get enough each day or have problems with absorption. Those with stomas / ileostomies like myself may particularly experience issues with deficiencies.
The Effects of Magnesium
A lack of magnesium has also been linked to depression and insomnia, in addition to chronic inflammation. It’s associated with various illnesses and diseases, from clogged arteries and high blood pressure, to stroke and osteoporosis.
Conversely, a boost of this mineral has been associated with a reduction of inflammation as well as benefits for those with Type 2 Diabetes, high BP and heart disease, and migraines. Magnesium is additionally used in some instances of PMS, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, constipation, MS, CRPS, surgical recovery, Lyme disease, CFS and fibromyalgia.
Do You Need To Boost Your Levels?
If you suspect a deficiency, magnesium can be checked with a blood test. However, most routine blood tests don’t look at magnesium, so you’d need to make a special request. For most people, with or without symptoms that could be related to low levels of this element, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting a varied diet and include a few extra sources of magnesium. Perhaps you have chronic illness, pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue or poor sleep and want to see whether magnesium can help. It’s important for everyone, with or without chronic illness.
For those with problems getting a balanced diet or who have issues with absorption, which is quite common in those with chronic illness and/or stomas, supplements are a handy addition to your daily self-care routine. This is just a common recommendation; I’m not a medical professional & everyone is different, so always check with your GP if you’re not sure whether supplements are right for you.
Magnesium Rich Foods
If you can manage a balanced diet & are able to absorb nutrients adequately, then including more magnesium-rich foods can give you a boost. Here are a few ideas :
- Nuts (especially cashew, Brazil & almonds)
- Seeds (like chia & pumpkin seeds)
- Whole grains
- Some seafood & fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens (Popeye’s spinach is particularly good)
Personal Recommendation – Floradix Liquid
I have reviewed Floradix Liquid Magnesium here. This is my personal favourite for being so convenient to use every day before a meal. It tastes pleasantly sweet and it packs a punch with magnesium content, so I’m thrilled with this one & will continue using it for the foreseeable future.
Transdermal Spray Alternative
The BetterYou spray is very popular, and it’s a good alternative if you want something to add to your self-care, post-shower or bedtime routine. You can check out my review here. There are also other options, like gel or flakes for a foot & body soak.
Magnesium is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but I think it often gets overlooked. Do you get enough?