Magnesium is a key element in our metabolism; it’s involved in over 300 vital enzyme systems throughout the body. It’s essential for brain activity, detoxification, regulating blood sugar levels and fat burning. It is required to produce energy from food, regulate nerve and muscle activity, keep the heart and arteries healthy, prevent unwanted calcium deposits and strengthen bones.
A natural sedative
Because magnesium is a natural sedative, the more serious the magnesium deficit, the edgier a person may become. When some people are under mental or physical stress, their bodies excrete more magnesium. This can worsen the problem because at a time when they need the natural sedative effect of magnesium, it is being eliminated.
Unfortunately, doctors know little about magnesium and people are often treated with drugs when they would respond to correction of magnesium deficiency! Health problems associated with magnesium deficiency include heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Causes of magnesium deficiency
As well as stress, many factors in our lifestyle conspire to lowering magnesium levels, eg:
- Caffeine, sugar, white flour, alcohol
- Heavy sweating, poor digestion, loose bowel movements
- Fluid tablets, calcium supplements without magnesium, high dairy intake
- Frequent use of antibiotics, oral contraceptive, laxatives or synthetic oestrogen
Signs of magnesium deficiency
If you experience some of these you may be deficient:
- muscle cramps at night in bed or during activity
- muscle tics or twitches
- muscle tension that feels better when massaged or rubbed
- painful muscle spasms
- throat constriction or difficulty swallowing
- fatigue, inability to concentrate
- high blood pressure
- startle easily, feel anxious or on edge frequently, PMS
- sensitive to noise
- low pain tolerance
- restless sleep, wake in the night, feel tired on waking in morning
Find out if you’re deficient with the questionnaire available at Sunshine Health.
We need to eat really well to get enough magnesium from food alone. Good foods include:
- Dark green leafy vegies, beans, peas
- Nuts, seeds, legumes
- Wholemeal sourdough bread
- Rolled oats (soaked), brown rice, wheat germ
Magnesium (Mg) supplementation – buyer beware
It’s been found that around 80% of people are deficient in magnesium. To correct deficiency you need 400 to 1,000 mg of elemental Mg daily (500 mg Mg chelate contains 100 mg of Mg so you’d need at least 4 daily). You may have already recognised that you need Mg and be taking a supplement (well done), but you may not be taking enough! There are many supplements in health shops and chemists stating One-a-Day, which contain impressively high amounts of Mg, but it’s the oxide form, which is poorly absorbed by many people, and in fact, acts as a laxative in some people. The best forms of Mg for good absorption are Mg chelate, citrate, phosphate or aspartate. So always read the label and avoid the oxide.
Guidelines for supplementation
At Sunshine Health, we carry several types of Mg for different needs. Thompsons Organic Magnesium is a reasonably priced tablet with 175 mg of Mg.
For mild stress and muscle twitches you need 2 daily. For tight muscles, cramps, nervous tension, anxiety you’d need 3 daily or Ultra Muscleze as below.
Bioceuticals UltraMuscleze is a practitioner-strength Mg powder with 280 mg per teaspoon. For muscle pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, toxicity you need 1 teaspoon twice daily.
For severe deficiency, fibromyalgia, or to build Mg levels quickly, there is a transdermal Magnesium Oil or Gel which is applied to the skin once daily. It can also to be rubbed into areas of muscle spasm, to help relax the muscle, in conjunction with oral supplementation. Mg is a natural anti-inflammatory and the Mg oil can be used on inflamed joints or nerves.
Stop being one of the 80% whose style is being cramped by magnesium deficiency and take some simple action to feel better … call into Sunshine Health, do the questionnaire, get onto a useful supplement, improve your diet a bit and voila! … a new you.