What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the human body. It is an essential cofactor for more than 300 chemical reactions, including those relating to heart health, vascular tone, nerve function and muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium is also necessary for tooth and bone formation, protein synthesis and cell division. In addition, magnesium contributes to normal energy metabolism, healthy psychological function, reducing tiredness and fatigue; and in children magnesium contributes to normal growth and development.
Magnesium deficiency is increasingly being implicated in a large number of health conditions with much research ongoing. One of the ways we've traditionally consumed magnesium is through our diet, however, due to soil depletion from modern farming practices, minerals have been stripped from the soil.
Over time, low magnesium can weaken your bones, give you bad headaches, make you feel nervous, and even affect your heart health. It can also lead to low levels of other important minerals like calcium and potassium. Although it's hard to measure your magnesium levels (see question below) the most commonly used method is observing common symptoms of magnesium deficiency, such as weakness/fatigue, tremors, cramping and twitching. High levels of magnesium are much less common than low levels. This happens to people who have damaged kidneys, or take certain drugs.
Some of the contributing factors present in our Western lifestyle include; increasing reliance on refined foods, as the processing removes essential minerals, consumption of processed, soft (demineralised) water and other drinks, consumption of coffee and alcohol, increased stress and production of (hormone) cortisol.
It can be difficult to tell if you are deficient in magnesium. Around 99% of your body’s magnesium is stored in your bones, muscles and other soft tissues. Magnesium is tightly regulated by your body and only 1% is circulating in your intracellular fluid and blood, so blood serum tests are unlikely to provide much information about whether your body’s store of magnesium is adequate.
Are you Magnesium deficient?
Weakness, tremors, cramping and twitching are all signs of hypomagnesaemia (low magnesium), but these may only manifest if magnesium is becoming very low. Your magnesium stores may be sub-optimal without any of these symptoms being present.
With that said though, some of the most common symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Sleeplessness (Try our Magnesium Sleep Lotion or Sleep Bath Flakes)
- Headaches (migraines)
- Anxiety (Try our Magnesium Capsules)
- Muscle pain (Try our Magnesium Active Spray or Active Bath Flakes)
- Digestive problems
- High blood pressure
- Hormone problems
- Low energy
Shop our range of Magnesium products
Magnesium is a mineral found in the earth, sea, plants, animals and humans. About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood. In fact, every cell in your body contains it and needs it to function.
One of magnesium’s main roles is acting as a cofactor or helper molecule in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes.
In fact, it’s involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including
- Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.
- Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.
- Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.
- Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
- Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.
- Magnesium also plays a role in exercise performance. 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. Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood, and low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression
- Magnesium also benefits people with type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that about 48% of people with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium in their blood. This can impair insulin’s ability to keep blood sugar levels under control
- Studies show that taking magnesium can lower blood pressure. In one study, people who took 450 mg per day experienced a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, these benefits may only occur in people who have high blood pressure. Another study found that magnesium lowered blood pressure in people with high blood pressure but had no effect on those with normal levels
- Low magnesium intake is linked to chronic inflammation, which is one of the drivers of ageing, obesity and chronic disease. In one study, children with the lowest blood magnesium levels were found to have the highest levels of the inflammatory marker CRP. Magnesium supplements can reduce CRP and other markers of inflammation in older adults, overweight people and those with pre-diabetes
- Migraine headaches are painful and debilitating. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise often occur. Some researchers believe that people who suffer from migraines are more likely than others to be magnesium deficient.
- Insulin Resistance is one of the leading causes of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It’s characterised by an impaired ability of muscle and liver cells to properly absorb sugar from your bloodstream. Magnesium plays a crucial role in this process, and many people with metabolic syndrome are deficient.
Magnesium Rich Foods:
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts such as Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts.
- Legumes like lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas and soybeans
- Fish including salmon, mackerel and halibut.
- Leafy greens