Have you been experiencing fatigue and weakness, or perhaps struggling to sleep? These can be some of the more common signs of needing a little additional magnesium support.
But what exactly is magnesium, and how can it help? How do you know if you really do have a deficiency, and what are the benefits of magnesium? Well, we are about to answer all your questions right here.
So, if you’re wondering if you might benefit from topping up your levels of this magnificent mineral, then grab a cup of your favourite herbal tea, put your feet up for five minutes and have a little read! You’ll soon know it’s something you need…
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for all the biochemical processes that take place in our bodies. It plays a part in over 300 enzymatic reactions, including food metabolism and transmission of nerve impulses. So, a magnesium deficiency really can affect every part of you.
Necessary for turning food into energy, magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, keeping energy levels strong, as well as helping the nervous system and reducing stress, and aiding body repair. It keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy, and also controls calcium movement, making it helpful to the health of your bones, teeth and muscles.
We are going to talk about what a deficiency actually looks like, so you can see if it might be something that is directly affecting you! And don’t worry, if you think it is, then we will give you the best ways to top up your levels of magnesium, including adding it into your diet or taking a daily magnesium supplement.
How do I know I have a Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency is more common than you’d think. There are a few things that can directly impact your magnesium levels detrimentally, including various gastrointestinal disorders, poor absorption due to medical conditions or your own underlying biology, alcohol excess and even some medications.
However, it is also completely possible (and in some cases likely) that you are just not getting enough in your diet. If you regularly start to experience some or all of the following common symptoms, you’ll know you might be low:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleeplessness or general sleep disorder
- Stress, anxiety and irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
If your deficiency is a little bit more advanced, you may also experience:
- Numbness and pins and needles or tingling
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Irregular heartbeat and rhythm changes
If you’re resonating with a few of these, it’ll probably be very helpful for you to know a little bit more about why we love magnesium as much as we do! So, please read on to find out more.
What are the Top 5 Benefits of Magnesium?
Supplementing magnesium into your diet is very likely to help with easing many of the deficiency symptoms. However, there are some key ways that we’ve seen improvements with this essential mineral. Our Top 5 benefits are discussed below.
1. Super Sleep, Increased Energy and No More Restless Legs
Given that fatigue and sleeplessness are a key symptom of deficiency, magnesium supplementation can really support you in this area. We see it supporting so much with this issue, that we’ve mentioned magnesium before on our blog: The Top 6 Supplements To Help You Sleep (see here).
Magnesium is what is known as an ‘essential mineral’, as it is vital for the regulation and facilitation of so many essential body functions. In particular, it helps regulate levels of GABA - a sleep-promoting neurotransmitter.
A study by Held et al (2002) supports that magnesium can really help poor sleep, and it is said that it can also help insomnia linked to restless leg syndrome too.
Good sleep is so unbelievably important and integral to your overall wellbeing, that this is our absolute number one top benefit of this wonderful mineral! So, if you’re struggling with fatigue, poor sleep and restless legs, this mineral is definitely one to investigate further!
2. Stress, Anxiety and Mood Regulation
As well as helping sleep, well-regulated levels of GABA (to which proper levels of magnesium are essential) also aid relaxation and soothe stress or anxiety. One of the essential body functions that magnesium plays a part in, is regulating the body’s stress-response system. It has a great stabilising impact on mood and has been linked to relieving symptoms of mild anxiety and depression.
3. Pain Relief
One of the less well-known benefits of maintaining good magnesium levels is that it can be great for pain relief. Much research indicates that ensuring you have the right levels of magnesium can help with reducing pain intensity and improving mobility for those suffering chronic lower back pain, as well as fibromyalgia tender points (Bagel, 2013). Likewise, low magnesium levels can be linked to making the pain worse.
It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, helping fight inflammation (and therefore reducing pain). So, if you’re seeing a pattern of pain symptoms, then low magnesium may be a contributing factor. So, supplementing with magnesium is definitely worth considering!
4. Pre-Menstrual Support
Perhaps a surprising benefit of magnesium is seen in its ability to support Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. We’ve referred to magnesium before in our blog article, PMS: A Focus On The Top 6 Supplements Natural Supplements To Help Improve Your Symptoms (see here).
Studies indicate that magnesium can really help with PMS; alleviating fatigue, irritability and mood swings, anxiety, and even helping symptoms such as water retention, bloating and swollen, sore breasts. As we have seen above, magnesium is also a great pain reliever, so this is a great one for supporting you at this time of the month!
Migraines can be painful, debilitating and just really horrible, causing nausea and vomiting (among other things). There is a lot of research suggesting that topping up magnesium can help this - and that a lot of migraine sufferers are actually magnesium deficient. If you suffer from migraines it may be that this is something that is very much worth you considering.
I think I might be deficient – how do I increase my magnesium intake?
Overall, there are so many amazing benefits from magnesium that if you’re noticing the deficiency symptoms, it is definitely worth investigating. You can get more into your body with either a high quality, good purity supplement, or through making changes and additions to your diet.
Our bodies do seem to ask for what they need, and if you’ve been craving high magnesium foods, such as nuts and seeds, dark green veggies and whole grains (and even dark chocolate!), then it could also be a good indication in itself that you’re missing out on magnesium a bit.
These are just a few great examples of high magnesium foods that you can pack into your diet to up your levels. To find out more, just click here.
We’ll talk in more depth next time about how to get more magnesium in your diet and the different types of magnesium. However, as we mention in our blog about PMS and how magnesium can support your symptoms, when it comes to magnesium supplements, the quality and ‘type’ of magnesium are absolutely key!
When you are deciding which magnesium supplement to buy, then it is great to focus on the two most well absorbed forms of magnesium. These are Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate. You are likely to see the best results with these.
Often less expensive supplement brands will use Magnesium Carbonate, Sulfate, Gluconate or Oxide – these are generally poorly absorbed (as little as 4% compared to the 65%+ of Magnesium Citrate).
What can you conclude?
To us, here at Birch & Wilde, magnesium is absolutely magical. Ensuring that you have good levels of this key essential mineral is absolutely vital to your health and overall wellbeing. So, if any of the symptoms or areas above are ringing bells with you, then we highly recommend topping up on magnesium rich foods on your next shopping trip and finding yourself a great supplement to help support you in the interim.
We would love to know if magnificent magnesium has made a big difference to you, or if you have any experience of a deficiency and how you overcame it. Make sure you share in the comments below, along with any other questions you might have on the topic – you know we love hearing from you!