Do you know anything about the effect magnesium has on your body?
No, I didn’t think so. The mineral magnesium doesn’t get all that much attention.
But it really should. It’s small, but it sure is mighty. It’s vital for the proper functioning of our bodies, and if don’t get enough of it then we can really feel the negative effects in a whole host of different ways.
But what actually is magnesium? What are the benefits of it? What do we need it for? Where can you find it? Why is deficiency in it a problem, and how do you know if you’re not getting enough of it?
Read on to find out everything you never knew you needed to know about magnificent magnesium.
What is magnesium?
Every single cell in our bodies contains magnesium. It’s a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate all kinds of biochemical reactions that take place in our bodies.
Those include blood pressure regulation, blood glucose control and muscle and nerve function. Amongst other things, we need magnesium for energy production.
Essentially, it helps us fight disease and helps the body repair itself, and plays a big role in combatting stress levels.
An adult body contains just 25g of magnesium, 50-60% of which is in the bones, and the rest in our soft tissue.
But even though that might seem like a negligible amount, it’s still extremely important for our bodies to be able to work properly. When it comes to the human body, good things often come in very small packages.
What are the benefits of it?
As I’ve already mentioned, magnesium is vital for our bodies to function as they should. But if you’d like to know some specific benefits of magnesium, then there are plenty of them.
Studies have shown that it can help boost exercise performance, combat depression, and lower blood pressure.
Some studies have shown that it can have a positive impact on sufferers of type 2 diabetes, and others have shown that it can help those suffering from chronic inflammation. It turns out that dark chocolate, as a high-magnesium food, can be a great anti-inflammatory.
It’s also thought that not get enough magnesium might be a reason that some people might suffer from migraines, and some studies have shown that it can help with the symptoms of PMS, and menopause.
We don’t call it magnificent magnesium for nothing.
How much magnesium do you need?
According to the NHS, the RDA for men is 300mg, and for women it’s 270mg. That’s the minimum amount you should be aiming for, and ingesting slightly more than that won’t do you any harm.
You might need to get your hands on more magnesium depending on your age, and as a result of chronic stress or diseases or alcoholism, or if you do a lot of exercise.
Where can magnesium be found?
The good news is that the vast majority of us can get the amount of magnesium we need through our diet.
Supplements shouldn’t be necessary in the vast majority of cases, but will sometimes be recommended by your doctor. If you are considering taking a supplement then be sure to consult a healthcare professional before you start. The best type of suppliment is one that will absorb through your skin. You can get magnesium oil and creams now from your local health food store.
There are all kinds of delicious, natural foods that contain magnesium. As a general rule, foods that contain dietary fibre also contain magnesium. Here are a few of them:
Nuts and seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Nut butters
Pulses and grains
- Black beans
- Brown rice
- Wholegrain bread
Fruit and vegetables
- Swiss chard
- Potatoes (with skins)
- Dark chocolate
As you can see, there are huge numbers of foods containing magnesium for you to choose from. Topping your breakfast cereal with plenty of nuts and seeds or throwing together a hearty salad with plenty of pulses is a sure-fire way to get plenty of magnesium into you.
Why are some people deficient?
Magnesium deficiency is a growing problem in modern society, largely down to the amount of processed foods we consume.
The list above is bursting with natural, unprocessed foods that are packed with magnesium as well as all kinds of other vitamins and minerals. Our ancestors probably didn’t have any issues with magnesium levels, but people than consume modern diets that are largely based on processed foods can easily have their magnesium stores depleted. Also large factory farming has resulted in the depletion of magnesium in our soil.
What are the signs of deficiency?
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, you might experience all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, like the ones below:
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Eye twitches
- Irritability or anxiety
- High blood pressure
How long will it take to feel the effects?
If you consciously boost your intake of magnesium by increasing your consumption of foods that contain it, then some of the symptoms of deficiency might start to ease within a few days, but it may well take a few weeks to feel the effects.
If you’re concerned about any of your symptoms, then make sure you pay your doctor a visit to discuss them.
Keep on eating your greens, nuts and seeds, and your body and mind will thank you for it.
Did you know just how important magnesium was, and do you think you’re getting enough of it?