Why Do We Need Magnesium?

Magnesium is my recent micro of interest that I have spent some time researching, as I believe it to be one of the key micros in performance nutrition as it allows muscles to relax. Magnesium is commonly found in foods such as beans, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, avocado, banana, yoghurts, dried fruit and dark chocolate. The RDA for magnesium is 400-420mg for men and 310-360mg per women.  

Some magnesium facts:

  • Magnesium is used in over 300 reactions in the human body - including protein synthesis, blood glucose control and blood pressure control regulation

     

  • Requires vitamin D in order to be absorbed efficiently

     

  • Helps to regulate blood pressure

     

  • Eases muscle cramps and spasms, and enhances circulation

     

  • Helps with more restful sleep

     

  • Aids digestion of carbohydrates and decreases insulin resistance

     

  • Lowers risk of heart disease

     

  • A deficiency in magnesium can lead to a calcium imbalance

     

Are you deficient?

 

  • Magnesium can be depleted by: drinking too much caffeine; eating too much sugar; and drinking too much alcohol. Here are some symptoms of deficiencies:

  • Insomnia, muscle soreness and spasms, anxiety and depression, high levels of stress, headaches, fatigue, carbohydrate cravings, constipation, thyroid problems and poor digestion

  • Sometimes back ache is also a symptom of deficiency as calcium causes muscles to contract whereas magnesium allows them to relax. If calcium and magnesium are not balanced it will cause pain, spasms and knots.

     

     

Supplementing

It is common to take magnesium supplements to ensure adequate levels in the body. However it is important to increase this gradually, not all at once, as most of it will end up leaving the body through urine. There are different types of supplements such as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate and magnesium chloride oil. All of which are have different absorption rates.

There are studies to suggest that over half of magnesium taken internally is excreted through waste. Using magnesium on the skin or as bath salt (Epsom salts) has been suggested to be one of the best ways to get the most out of it and for it not to be lost as waste.

Personally I try to keep a high magnesium diet and bath in Epsom salts atleast twice per week

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