Why is Magnesium important?
Our bodies need magnesium for many essential physiological functions – it plays a key role in as many as 300 enzyme reactions-
- so is vitally important to good health. The body does not naturally produce the magnesium it needs, so it must come from food sources or supplements.
Foods rich in magnesium include
- Dark leafy green
- Seeds and nuts, including sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, peanuts, cashews and almonds
- Squash, broccoli, and other vegetables
- Some dairy products
- Unprocessed whole grains
- Dark chocolate
The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg per day for men and 310–320 mg per day for women. However, the average daily magnesium intake for men and women in the UK is below the daily amount recommended by the government. This lower intake level may in part be caused by food farming techniques, manufacturing and processing.
Modern lifestyles that include stress, poor sleep and high intensity exercise alongside increased caffeine and sugar intake contribute to the body’s depleting magnesium stores.
What’s more, the magnesium content of plant foods is known to have decreased by 20-30% over the last 60 years. This means we can’t rely on magnesium-rich foods to provide high enough levels of this crucial mineral in the same way that we used to.
How does Magnesium work in the body?
An adult body contains approximately 25 g magnesium, with 50% to 60% present in the bones and most of the rest in soft tissues. Less than 1% of total magnesium is in blood serum, and these levels are kept under tight control. Normal serum magnesium concentrations range between 0.75 and 0.95 millimoles (mmol)/L. Hypomagnesemia is defined as a serum magnesium level less than 0.75 mmol/L . Magnesium homeostasis is largely controlled by the kidney, which typically excretes about 120 mg magnesium into the urine each day. Urinary excretion is reduced when magnesium status is low. Assessing magnesium status is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in bone. To comprehensively evaluate magnesium status, both laboratory tests and a clinical assessment might be required.
Why we need Magnesium
Maintaining a healthy heart
One of magnesium’s most important jobs is to regulate muscle function throughout the body—and that includes the heart muscle. When your magnesium levels are low, calcium may overstimulate your heart muscle cells. One common symptom of this is a rapid and/or irregular heartbeat. Magnesium naturally competes with calcium, which is essential for generating heart contractions. When calcium enters your heart muscle cells, it stimulates the muscle fibres to contract. Magnesium counters this effect, helping these cells relax. This movement of calcium and magnesium across your heart cells maintains a healthy heartbeat. Because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties magnesium may also prevent blood clotting and can help your blood vessels relax and help regulate blood pressure and the production of cholesterol.
Helps Regulate Muscle Contractions
Magnesium also plays a role in regulating muscle contractions. Just like in the heart, magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker to help muscles relax. In your muscles, calcium binds to proteins such as troponin C and myosin. This process changes the shape of these proteins, which generates a contraction. Magnesium competes with calcium for these same binding spots to help relax your muscles. If your body doesn’t have enough magnesium to compete with calcium, your muscles may contract too much, causing cramps or spasms. For this reason, magnesium is commonly recommended to treat muscle cramps.
May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Your cells have receptors for insulin, which need magnesium to function properly. If magnesium levels are low, your cells can’t use insulin effectively, leaving blood sugar levels high. People with type 2 diabetes often have low magnesium levels, which may worsen the condition, as magnesium helps regulate insulin and moves sugar out of the blood and into the cells for storage.
Can Improve Sleep Quality
Taking magnesium may improve sleep quality by helping your mind and body relax. This relaxation helps you fall asleep faster and may improve your sleep quality. Studies have found that magnesium can regulate melatonin production, which is a hormone that guides your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Magnesium has also been shown to bind to gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors. The hormone GABA helps calm down nerve activity, which may otherwise affect sleep.
May Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to symptoms of depression. One reason for this is that magnesium helps regulate your brain function and mood. Several studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium may reduce symptoms of depression
Magnesium plays a critical role in bone formation, and in maintaining bone density. It helps the body effectively use the building blocks of strong bones, including the nutrients calcium and Vitamin D. The role of magnesium to bone health becomes increasingly clear with age. Higher magnesium intake is linked to greater bone density in older men and women.
Sport & muscle function – Anyone exercising regularly is at increased risk of low magnesium. During exercise, you may need 10–20% more magnesium than when you’re resting, depending on the activity Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue, cramps and spasms.
Energy production - Plays a key role in energy production, activating ATP, the energy molecule that fuels your body’s cells.
Healthy enzyme function – Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different enzyme-related reactions in the body’s cells.
Female hormones – Magnesium is important for all aspects of female health, especially to support monthly cycle and perimenopause. For many women of reproductive age, the strains of cyclical anxiety, stress, mood swings and bloating as well as menstrual migraine have a significant impact on quality of life. Studies suggest magnesium alone and in combination with vitamin B6 may help alleviate some of these symptoms.
May alleviate headaches/migraines - Magnesium deficiency appears to play a part in the development of migraines and headache.
Healthy magnesium levels protect metabolic health, stabilize mood, keep stress in check, promote better sleep, and contribute to heart and bone health.
Certain groups are more likely to be at risk of low levels of this important mineral – these include older adults, type 2 diabetics and those with gut issues, such as Crohn’s disease.
What about magnesium supplements?
If you need to take a supplement, it’s important to select a high-quality product that supplies the form of magnesium that is most likely to benefit the condition you want to address.
BioMed recommends supplements supplied by Nutri-Advanced
Here is what they say:
Magnesium as glycinate is a superior, highly absorbable form of magnesium, that is well tolerated especially by those with sensitive digestive systems.
Why Choose Magnesium Glycinate Supplements?
Optimal absorption – Magnesium glycinate is a superior form of magnesium that has been scientifically formulated for optimum absorption.
No side effects – It can be taken in higher doses without any unwanted side effects such as diarrhoea or stomach discomfort.
Tablet or powder form – Magnesium glycinate can be supplemented in a convenient tablet or powdered form for flexible dosage.