Magnesium is an essential mineral that is used by the body in over 300 different biochemical processes- such as energy production, muscle health, heart function, brain function, blood sugar management and as part of our stress response. It is one of the most common deficiencies that I see at the clinic. Because it is used for so many things in the body, it is also very easily depleted. It is used up by our bodies in huge amounts as part of energy production and our stress response and this is one of the reasons that it is such a common nutrient deficiency. Australian soils also tend to be low in magnesium, which can mean it is hard to reach our daily magnesium targets through food alone. For this reason magnesium supplementation may be useful for your health. Common signs of magnesium deficiency include:
- Muscle cramps and spasms- especially in the feet and calves and often at night
- Eye twitching
- Muscle tremors or twitching
- Restless legs
- Jerking or twitching in your sleep
- Poor resilience to stress
- Low energy levels
Who Needs Magnesium?
Well the short answer is EVERYONE! However there are some specific conditions and health complications that will benefit from magnesium supplementation. High stress levels or anxiety is the most common reason that I would prescribe magnesium to my patients. Stress causes an increased requirement for magnesium, meaning that you use up more magnesium when under stress. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system which can help you feeling relaxed and at ease. Magnesium is also important for those with cardiovascular health issues such as high blood pressure and to support healthy heart tissue function.
Many studies have found magnesium to be useful for reducing blood pressure. Magnesium aids sleep quality and can help to ensure you are getting the most out of your sleep. It also has a big role to play in blood sugar regulation and is useful for people with diabetes, high glucose or high insulin levels. It is a muscle relaxant that reduces muscle tightness and aids the healing of muscle injuries by relaxing muscle fibres. For this reason, magnesium is useful for people doing a lot of exercise to aid muscle recovery and repair. Its antispasmodic actions make it useful for women experiencing period pain. One of the most important functions of magnesium is for energy production so it is very useful for fatigue.
Luckily There Are Some Great Food Based Sources Of Magnesium:
- Green leafy veggies- Such as kale, spinach, beet green or silverbeet. Try including a daily green smoothie into your routine for some extra green veggies. Ensure you have something green and leafy on your dinner plate each night.
- Nuts and seeds- Raw almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, pepitas and sesame seeds are the best sources. Add into your cereal or yoghurt, or snack on these between meals.
- Whole grains- Quinoa, whole wheat, buckwheat, rye, brown rice, millet. Wheat bran and wheat germ are quite high and these can be added into smoothie or cereals.
- Cacao- Yes chocolate is high in magnesium and this may be why some people may crave it. Stick to dark chocolate (the others are high in sugar and heavily processed) or use cacao powder or nibs in cereals, smoothies, yoghurt or bliss balls.
Advice For You
Include the foods listed above regularly in your diet and you will be able to keep your magnesium at an adequate level. Always chat to a health professional before starting yourself on any nutritional supplementation to ensure it is the right one for you.
Written by Hayley
Hayley is our Naturopath at pH Clinic and also a mum of 2 young boys – she understands the juggle of busy family life! Hayley’s passions are helping support you through all aspects of a healthy family life and treats women, men, babies, kids and adolescents. She has 12 years experience as a clinical naturopath and loves to help her patients understand how lifestyle and diet can affect your body (in both a positive and negative way).
Hayley works a full day on Wednesdays and will start working Saturday morning from the 18th of January. To book in with Hayley please call 0420 644 852 or click here.