I thought I had blogged on magnesium ages ago but it seems not, so here you go!

All had muscle cramps after MetaFIT?? Well, magnesium plays a VIP role across several different body systems, including muscle and nerve function. It helps shift calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, which is required for healthy nerve impulse conduction and muscle contraction. Given that cramping is, by definition, a series of painful muscle contractions, it makes sense that magnesium deficiency in causing cramps. Magnesium may be the most commonly deficient mineral in human nutrition, even though dietary sources of this nutrient are in many foods, what with our depleting soils it can be hard to meet RDI. It is also the calming or anti-stress mineral, so it’s very important to many human functions. Magnesium is also necessary for building body tissue – especially bone.

Key functions of magnesium include:

  • Relax your muscles, including the heart. In fact when I worked running the resuscitation and trauma teams magnesium was one of the first drugs we reached for.
  • It works with enzymes to carry out metabolic functions, including protein synthesis, energy production, and neuromuscular function.
  • It is used for poor sleep, anxiety, menstrual cramps, muscle cramps or spasms, high blood pressure, asthma attacks (if you have these regularly you may want to consider upping your magnesium), and abnormal heartbeats.

You find magnesium mostly in plant foods – grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – although seafood is also high in this mineral. Dark green vegetables are a particularly good source of magnesium. A fascinating fact is that plant chlorophyll, the magnesium-rich green pigment that turns, is essential for photosynthesis. Haemoglobin is a similar chemical to chlorophyll, and it is in the red blood cells of animals and contains iron and magnesium. Haemoglobin is essential for carrying oxygen to all the cells and tissues of your body. Because the body easily eliminates excess magnesium, overdose is nearly unknown. Deficiency is quite common and can lead to muscle cramps, calcification problems, fatigue, irritability, and insomnia.

A magnesium overdose is rare. It can occur in people with chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease, although it’s rare. Overall, the risk of ever experiencing a magnesium overdose is extremely low for a typically healthy person, in fact you may lose too much magnesium from some serious illnesses, alcohol abuse, or taking certain medications. Low levels of magnesium can lead to issues such as migraine headaches. As we age it becomes more difficult to absorb magnesium, early signs of a low magnesium can include people with mild hypomagnesemia may have no symptoms, but these can include twitches, particularly in the facial muscles, weakness and exhaustion, tremors, sleep issues, depression and constipation. More severe magnesium deficiency can cause muscle contractions, seizures, changes in personality and changes in the heart’s rhythm which can be life threatening.

The recommended RDI is 320mg for women and 400mg for men. Just remember RDI’s are the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all healthy individuals. So the minimum required for daily function.

If you are worried about taking too much magnesium supplements, ways to increase magnesium through your food is to look at increasing your nut intake, green leafy veg, fish, legumes and berries. (Wait, aren’t these all on my nutrition plan??) Magnesium supplements are a great investment into your well being and in fact I take high dose magnesium and there are many articles and studies around this amazing micronutrient. Talk to me about the brand and amount I use if you want more info. I was reading a great article today regarding magnesium successfully helping in the treatment of glaucoma. As with everything, discuss it with your doctor if you have any health concerns and you may want to avoid it if you have kidney problems.

And finally, if you’re interested, check out this link of interesting magnesium facts…..