Many people think they can get all the nutrients they need from food. Sadly, this is often not the case.
The food that’s commonly found in shops and restaurants is normally industrially farmed.
Wheat is one of the foods that have significantly dropped in nutritional value. Protein concentrations and minerals in wheat have seen a 50% decline.
You might think that broccoli is good for you, as it’s filled with vitamins A, C, E and K. As well as minerals like calcium.
But the truth is broccoli used to contain around 12.9 mg of calcium in the 1950s. Fast forward to 2003, and broccoli only contains 4.4 mg of calcium.
Similarly, carrots used to contain 32mg of magnesium (Mg) per 100g in 1963, compared to 25 Mg in 1999.
The main reason for the decline is twofold. Firstly, many botanists and agriculturists didn’t regard Mg deficiency in plants as severe health problems.
Secondly, the quality of the soil has significantly declined since humans began industrialisation.
This article will explore what magnesium supplements or medications, such as tablets, are good for and what magnesium is used for in the human body.
Plus seven health benefits of taking supplementation magnesium, and 6 magnesium deficiency symptoms!
What Does Magnesium Do in the Body?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It’s required for hundreds of processes, such as muscle and nerve function, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation.
Magnesium plays an important role in a wide range of enzyme reactions and also in the creation of healthy protein, bone and DNA.
However, it’s an often overlooked mineral, and magnesium deficiencies frequently go undiagnosed.
Magnesium From Foods
Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, beans, whole grains, dark chocolate, nuts and avocados.
Increased levels of Mg will be found in organic or biodynamically grown produce such as fortified foods.
As mentioned in the introduction, industrial farming methods have depleted the soil of essential nutrients particularly over the past 50 years.
7 Magnesium Supplement Benefits (Why Take Magnesium?)
1. Regulates Vitamin D Levels
Many people are advised to take vitamin D supplements in the UK, especially in winter when it’s hard to get enough sunlight.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) estimated that 20% of UK adults are deficient in vitamin D.
2. Get Good Quality Zzzzzzz’s
Magnesium has been found to increase sleep quality.
Additionally, Mg can help boost the sleep hormones melatonin and renin.
The best type of magnesium for sleep and anxiety is magnesium glycinate.
3. Natural Laxative (Magnesium Citrate Benefits)
Magnesium citrate is one of the forms of Mg used for constipation and is commonly used as a saline laxative before surgery.
Taking too much Mg from supplements has a laxative effect, causing diarrhoea, but when consumed via foods, there are no known adverse side effects.
4. Improves Brain Health (Including Headache Relief)
Magnesium malate (Mg and C4H4O5-2) is a highly absorbable form of Mg that’s great for headaches and depression.
Magnesium helps your brain calm down by reducing nerve stimulation.
In turn, this can naturally reduce symptoms of depression.
5. Heartburn Damper
Magnesium can be used to provide relief from heartburn (acid reflux).
In particular, Magnesium malate is the best form of Mg for heartburn.
It’s important to note that antacids aren’t recommended for children or those suffering from kidney disease.
6. Increases Bone Mineral Density
Foods containing Mg and Zinc (especially when combined) promote calcium absorption.
When you get enough vitamin D from sunlight or supplements, Mg plays an important role in converting vitamin D into its active form to enhance calcium absorption and promote good bone health.
7. Reduces Risk For Developing Hypertension
Consuming Mg helps your blood vessels relax; in turn, this can reduce blood pressure.
Magnesium also plays an important role in keeping your blood pressure steady, which can in turn reduce the risk of stroke.
6 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Zinc and magnesium deficiency are the two most frequent mineral deficiencies in the UK.
7 out of 10 women are said to have inadequate intake of Mg. One American study estimates that up to 75% of the population aren’t consuming enough magnesium.
As such, it’s important to know the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency so that you can take steps to boost your intake.
Here are six of the main magnesium deficiency symptoms:
1. Heart Arrhythmia, or Irregular Heartbeat
An Mg deficiency can throw other systems of the body out of balance.
Mg deficiency can cause an imbalance of potassium, in turn inducing an irregular heartbeat (also known as arrhythmia).
When tested, people who are suffering from asthma are often deficient in Mg.
In particular, severe asthma has been linked to a deficiency of magnesium. The reason asthma is worse when Mg levels are low is thought to be connected to a buildup of calcium in the lungs, making it hard to breathe.
3. High Blood Pressure & Heart Disease
A lack of Mg from the diet has been found to increase blood pressure.
Taking Mg supplements may lower the blood pressure of those suffering from high blood pressure.
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for developing heart disease. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.
4. Muscle Health, Cramps, Twitches & Tremors
It is believed that muscle cramps, twitches and tremors are caused by excess calcium in nerve cells, resulting in an over-excited tissue.
This can be caused by a deficiency of Mg.
Stress is another factor for twitches; however, magnesium is depleted when we’re stressed, so again it’s most likely an Mg deficiency.
5. Mental Health Disorders
The medical name for severe Mg deficiency is hypomagnesemia.
Mg helps relay information between your body and brain.
Depleted stores of Mg can lead to nerve or brain damage due to the fact that Mg acts as a buffer against nerve stimulation.
Mg is required for memory, brain development and learning.
Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that’s normally attributed to ageing or a lack of vitamin D.
Magnesium deficiency is a risk factor as it lowers calcium levels in the blood, increasing the risk for developing osteoporosis.
Animal studies have found that a lack of Mg results in reduced bone mass.
Magnesium is an often overlooked yet vital mineral, responsible for hundreds of reactions in the body.
It is also known to enhance the activity of other valuable nutrients, not least calcium and vitamin D.
Getting enough magnesium through your diet is difficult in the 21st century due to nutrient deficiencies in the soil and plants, and as such, a supplement may be a worthy consideration for many people.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Magnesium plays an important role in keeping your blood pressure steady, which can in turn reduce the risk of stroke.