Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in your body. It is a co-factor in over 300 different enzymatic reactions in your body and adequate magnesium levels are crucial for a large range of functions.
Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. As magnesium is a relaxant it can also help with sleep, aches and pains, constipation and period pain. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
What foods provide magnesium?
Green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium as the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives green vegetables their color) contains magnesium. Some legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, and whole, unrefined grains are also good sources of magnesium. Refined grains are generally low in magnesium.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures (sudden changes in behaviors caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain), personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcaemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than magnesium deficiency. It is important to see a practitioner to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Who is at risk of Magnesium Deficiency?
• Some medicines may result in magnesium deficiency, including certain diuretics, antibiotics, and medications used to treat cancer (anti-neoplastic medication).
• Individuals with poorly-controlled diabetes may benefit from magnesium supplements because of increased magnesium loss in urine associated with hyperglycemia.
• Magnesium supplementation may be indicated for persons with alcoholism. Low blood levels of magnesium occur in 30% to 60% of alcoholics, and in nearly 90% of patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Anyone who substitutes alcohol for food will usually have significantly lower magnesium intakes.
• Individuals with chronic malabsorptive problems such as Crohn’s disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, regional enteritis, and intestinal surgery may lose magnesium through diarrhea and fat malabsorption.
• Individuals with chronically low blood levels of potassium and calcium may have an underlying problem with magnesium deficiency.
• Older adults are at increased risk for magnesium deficiency. Magnesium absorption decreases and renal excretion of magnesium increases in older adults. Seniors are also more likely to be taking drugs that interact with magnesium. This combination of factors places older adults at risk for magnesium deficiency. It is very important for older adults to get recommended amounts of dietary magnesium.
• Athletes use magnesium stores at a high rate. Magnesium supplementation is often used to increase energy and endurance.
Chevron Island Physio stocks a range of magnesium products suited to different requirements. Powdered form supplies the highest concentration that is easily absorbed into your system. Some of the specific products we stock include magnesium for muscular pain, magnesium for energy, magnesium to help reduce stress and alkalise the body and liquid magnesium for fast absorption assisting muscle pain. Kasey, our nutritionist, is available for consultations if you require more specific information or an eating program specific to your needs.