Magnesium: The super mineral

Although every organ in the body requires magnesium, it often flies under the radar. We investigate the many health-enhancing properties of this essential mineral and outline ways to get your daily dose.

fruit and nut assortment

Magnesium is considered the hero mineral and is one of the seven essential macrominerals. It’s essential for the functioning of our bones, muscles, brain, heart and nervous system. It also helps the synthesis of fatty acids and protein, plays a vital role in energy and aids the metabolism of food.

The human body contains approximately 25 grams of magnesium. Our magnesium levels are affected by lifestyle – such as too much stress, processed food, alcohol, coffee, pharmaceutical drugs and calcium supplements – other factors, such as heavy periods, can drain your stores. It’s relatively easy to become mildly deficient in it. Typical symptoms include muscular cramps and weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability and confusion. 

MAGNESIUM-RICH FOODS

Simple dietary changes and regular supplementation can restore optimum levels. Magnesium-rich foods include: 

  • Nuts (almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts)
  • Molasses 
  • Kelp
  • Buckwheat 
  • Millet
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach 
  • Sesame seeds 
  • Black beans 
  • Sunflower seeds

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MAGNESIUM

Extensive research is continuing into magnesium, but researchers believe maintaining adequate levels is beneficial in treating and managing a number of conditions. Health benefits of optimum magnesium levels are said to include:

  • Better sleep: Hormones that regulate our sleep cycle are disturbed when magnesium is deficient.
  • Muscle tension relief: Magnesium can help to loosen tight muscles and ease cramps, including period pain. It also reduces symptoms of muscle soreness from lactic acid build-up after a gym session.
  • Is alkaline for the body: Magnesium helps return the body’s pH balance, which aids digestion, mental acuity and physical energy.
  • Aids bone health: Magnesium can support bone integrity and strength because it stimulates the hormone calcitonin.
  • Improves insulin secretion: Magnesium facilitates the metabolisation of sugar by enhancing insulin secretion.
  • Relieves constipation: In the stomach, magnesium helps neutralise stomach acid and move stools through the intestine while cleansing the bowel of toxins.
  • Improves heart health: As magnesium is necessary for the functioning of healthy muscles, it’s also critical for heart health. In a study titled the Framingham Heart Study, participants with the highest intake of magnesium had 58 per cent lower chance of coronary disease. 
  • Improves general wellbeing: There are many other reported benefits of magnesium such as improving concentration, memory and more.

SOURCES AND DOSAGE

Maintaining a balanced diet with foods rich in fibre can provide adequate intake – focus on enjoying plenty of whole foods, as magnesium can be lost during refinement and processing.


If you do need to supplement your diet, adults should aim for between 300 to 400 milligrams a day. There are many forms of magnesium supplements, but ‘magnesium chloride’ supplements are generally considered to be the form that allow for the greatest uptake and availability. Try to avoid supplements containing magnesium carbonate, sulphate, gluconate, and oxide – they are poorly absorbed by the body and relatively ineffective.

TOP TIPS

  1. Rub magnesium oil on your feet before you go to bed to encourage a restful, deep sleep.
  2. Having a warm bath with epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) is a great alternative way to absorb magnesium.

Disclaimer

If you're considering the use of magnesium in treatment of a chronic condition, consult your primary care provider.

NOURISH LOVES

Magnesia mineral water

Magnesium water is a natural, easily absorbable and affordable way to replenish your stores of this vital mineral. Daily intake can help to aid fatigue and improve energy. magnesiaaustralia.com.au

The Base Collective magnesium oil

Made with naturally derived ingredients, this magnsium oil penetrates the epidermis to ease muscle cramps, fatigue and even sleep issues. 
$19, theguild.cc

Salt Lab bath bomb

With magnesium chloride, sea salt and betonite clay, this bath bomb helps to promote heavy metal detoxification and decrease inflammation.
$19.99, saltlaboratory.com

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