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Magnesium is an essential mineral. We can’t survive without it and it’s needed for many different processes in the body. In short, this means it’s vital to ensure your magnesium levels are optimally supported.

Of course, it goes without saying that optimising your magnesium levels starts with what’s on your plate. Read more on those all-important magnesium-rich foods here. But many people aren’t aware that there are some surprising ways you can further support your intake of this superstar mineral. Read on to find out more.

In this article you’ll find:

• Why magnesium is so important
• Why low magnesium symptoms may be on the rise
• Frank magnesium deficiency vs. sub-clinical magnesium deficiency
• 7 surprising ways to support your magnesium

Ready to find out more? Let’s get started here:

Why is magnesium so important?

Magnesium is needed for the functioning of over 300 enzymes in the body! It’s often nicknamed ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ because it’s so crucial for the nervous system, especially for sleep and keeping stress in check.

This mighty mineral also supports energy, muscles, bones, heart health, hormone balance and much more. And many people don’t realise that magnesium helps the body to use vitamin D. If you’re taking vitamin D, you need to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium too.1

Low magnesium symptoms & why they are on the rise

There’s a near endless list of possible low magnesium symptoms, from muscle cramps, poor sleep, irritability and low energy to constipation, tension, low mood, headaches and many more. Magnesium is often lost during food processing so a typical Western diet is unlikely to provide enough.

It’s also used up in high amounts during stress2. And the National Diet and Nutrition Survey published by Public Health England shows a particularly high proportion of girls aged 11-18 and women aged 19-64 have low dietary magnesium intakes.3

What health problems may be associated with low magnesium?

Low magnesium may be involved in many common and chronic health problems; from low mood, anxiety and PMS to PCOS, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and many more.

In one study involving 126 men and women with mild to moderate depression, 6 weeks of daily treatment with magnesium significantly improved depression scores. Symptoms of anxiety, headaches, muscle cramps, constipation and energy levels also improved.4

Frank magnesium deficiency vs subclinical magnesium deficiency

Whilst frank magnesium deficiency is rare, subclinical magnesium deficiency may be much more prevalent. In fact, low magnesium is often referred to as a ‘modern day silent epidemic’ or an ‘invisible deficiency’, because it is so difficult to detect clinically.

7 Surprising ways to support your magnesium

1. Keep alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinksto a minimum

Alcohol and caffeine may increase magnesium loss from the body. Fizzy drinks such as cola contain phosphoric acid which may deplete magnesium too.5,6 Coconut water is a tasty alternative to plain water - it contains magnesium and additional electrolytes to support hydration.

2. Support your gut health

This is important for every aspect of health and includes helping to ensure magnesium is well absorbed. Anyone with gut health problems such as Crohn’s disease may be more at risk of low magnesium levels.7 Support your gut health with a daily serving of fermented food such as kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, as well as considering a daily probiotic supplement.

3. Reduce refined sugar

Not only is refined sugar not a good source of magnesium, it may actually deplete your magnesium stores. This is because magnesium is needed to process sugar in the body. Reducing your sugar is a great way to optimise magnesium.

4. Add magnesium flakes to your bath

Regular Epsom salt baths may help to increase magnesium as the mineral may be absorbed through your skin. Furthermore, a hot bath before bed is a great way to support a restful state ready for sleep. A hot bath imitates the rise and fall in body temperature we experience during sleep.

5. Watch out for aluminium

Aluminium is now widespread in our modern world (eg. cookware, deodorants, common medications, baking powder) and yet may impact magnesium absorption.8,9 Whilst there may be sources you can’t avoid, it’s important to reduce exposure where you can, such as by choosing your cookware and personal care products carefully.

6. Add extra magnesium support in supplement form

You may need extra magnesium support in tablet or powder supplement form to optimise your magnesium levels. Magnesium glycinate is a particularly helpful type of magnesium; not only is this form well absorbed but is typically well tolerated at higher doses too.

7. Consider a daily multivitamin

Declining levels of nutrients even in fresh, wholefoods means that a multivitamin & mineral supplement may be a useful back-up to ensure optimal daily intake. Vitamins and minerals don’t work in isolation and often need the support of each other as co-factors. Choose a high quality one-a-day formula that contains forms of nutrients that the body is able to recognise and use efficiently.

1. Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS, et al. Role of magnesium in vitamin D activation and function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1; 118(3): 181-189
2. Pickering G, Mazur A, et al. Magnesium status and stress: The vicious circle concept revisited. Nutrients 2020 Dec; 12(12): 3672.
3. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/news/key-findings-from-ndns-report-for-years-9-to-11-combined/
4. Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD et al. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS One June 27 2017.
5. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’ Keefe JH, et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018; 5(1): e000668. Published online 2018 Jan 13.
6. Kynast-Gales SA, Massey LK. Effect of caffeine on circadian excretion of urinary calcium and magnesium. J Am Coll Nutr Oct; 13(5): 467-72
7. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium#reference8
8. Neathery MW, Crowe NA, et al. Effects of dietary aluminum and phosphorus on magnesium metabolism in dairy calves. J Anim Sci 1990; 68: 1133–8.
9. Stachurska MB, Gumińska M. Magnesium in the blood and urine of the population living in polluted environment of Chorzów. Folia Med Cracov 1991; 32: 89–94.

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