A question I commonly get in clinic is should I be taking magnesium? Sounds like a simple enough answer, although it usually gets an “it depends” as an answer.
Magnesium is a vital mineral involved in so many different functions in the body from energy production, muscle function regulating enzyme activity, the release of neurotransmitters right through to influencing membrane integrity and stabilising DNA.
Over the last century dramatic changes to magnesium intake have occurred. In the 1900’s, the average intake was estimated to be around 475-500mg a day. Today its around 175mg/day, well short of historical levels and well short of the recommended 400-420mg for males and 310-320mg for females (higher for pregnant or lactating women). Food processing is believed to have contributed hugely to this decline and certain dietary habits as well.
There’s no effective measurement tool to assess adequate magnesium levels in your body. In clinic I look at gut health, dietary intake and lifestyle factors that help me estimate magnesium intake, factors that increase demand for magnesium, possible absorption and competing factors.
Additionally there are a few signs and symptoms that indicate you may not be getting enough:
- Muscle cramps- generally improved with massage or heat
- Muscle twitches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Noise sensitivity
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Chest tightness Intestinal complaints
- Mild palpitations
- Difficulties breathing
Numerous clinical studies have also shown magnesium to be helpful in PMS, migraine, blood sugar regulation, mental health, asthma, pain, bone health, sports performance and heart health.
I’m sure by now your starting to see why it’s so important we get enough of this mineral and why it’s been aptly referred to as a nutrient diva! But before you go out and buy the first magnesium you see off the shelf, you need to know not all forms are equal! Some forms are more bioavailable, others are better absorbed and there’s a huge variation in quality and purity between brands (think added fillers or binders).
If you’re concerned about whether you are getting enough magnesium, or suffer any of the health conditions listed above, feel free to book in for a consult. Together we can assess your needs not only for magnesium, but the many other vitamins and minerals that may be at play in balancing your body’s functionality and help you achieve optimal health.
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Sandi Cooper is an experienced Naturopath working in clinical practice for almost two decades. Her clients love her down-to-earth approach and her naturally caring qualities. Although Sandi is experienced in most areas of clinical practice, she has a special interest in children’s health and nutrition, working with parents to get the best outcomes for their children.
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