Magnesium for a long time has been the ‘go to’ mineral to assist with treatment of muscle cramps and restless legs. In fact, it’s beneficial for many muscular problems, from eye twitches to fibromyalgia.
So, continuing on with my series of articles on stress, anxiety and sleeplessness, many would not be aware magnesium can be helpful in relieving stress as well as insomnia. It’s believed stress can lead to a deficiency in magnesium in our bodies which can then affect our nervous system leading to insomnia and other symptoms such as anxiety and mood swings. As well, when GABA levels in our body are low, we may find it more difficult to relax and magnesium is believed to increase GABA levels, which in turn helps with relaxation. Interestingly, GABA is also a neurotransmitter which also promotes better sleep. Hence the benefits of supplementing with magnesium.
Sometimes suffering from insomnia may mean we are deficient in magnesium and maintaining healthy magnesium levels often means we will sleep more soundly. Nearly 50% of adults suffer from some degree of insomnia, experiencing difficulty getting to sleep, waking early, and feeling tired on waking. As we age, several changes take place which make us more likely to suffer from insomnia including a decrease of intake, absorption and retention of nutrients. There have been many studies on magnesium for insomnia. One particular 8-week randomised clinical trial of 46 elderly people was undertaken in 2012 whereby the participants were given either a daily placebo or 500mg magnesium. At the conclusion of the 8-week study, those taking magnesium had significant increases in sleep time, sleep efficiency and the ability to fall asleep much more easily. (1)
If you are an active person and exercise regularly you may find magnesium could help your performance when exercising. It is known taking magnesium can help your endurance and performance. If you exercise regularly and find you suffer from muscle cramps and spasms or feel pain and muscle weakness after exercise, you may well be lacking in magnesium. When you are perspiring it is important to replenish your electrolytes and taking a magnesium supplement can help sustain your body’s electrolytes and as well it aids in the recovery of your muscles after exercise plus helps to lessen fatigue. We often suggest a magnesium supplement to someone who might be working physically hard in the outdoors, particularly during summer as they will suffer from similar symptoms to someone working hard in a gym or undertaking other strenuous exercise.
Because magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant it can also work well for women suffering from period pain. It’s been found females suffering PMS have lower levels of magnesium in their blood cells and supplementing with magnesium together with B6 can help relieve those symptoms of PMS particularly mood swings, fluid retention and even the cravings PMS sufferers often find they experience.
If you’re a sufferer of migraines it has also been found that people who suffer from migraines are often low in magnesium and taking a magnesium supplement, particularly taken in conjunction with 400mg of B2 can reduce migraine frequency.
It is also believed higher consumption of magnesium is beneficial for good bone health. It plays an important part in bone formation and maintaining good bone density together with calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.
Because Magnesium is essential for regulating muscle function throughout our body, and because our heart is a muscle, magnesium assists our heart in maintaining a healthy rhythm. It aids in regulating blood pressure and production of cholesterol.
Obviously, there are many magnesium supplements on the market. I always look for a supplement with a high amount of magnesium glycinate, citrate and chelate. These are the more absorbable forms of magnesium. Other forms of magnesium such as magnesium orotate and can be helpful but to a lesser extent. Magnesium oxide is a less absorbable form of magnesium as it is nonchelated and not as easily metabolised by the body.
Remember you can also use magnesium oil which can be applied topically onto the body. I find this a very effective way of obtaining quick relief from sore muscles particularly as it is absorbed through the skin bypassing the intestines and is absorbed directly into the muscles.
For more information on the benefits of magnesium call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729732 or tune into Bev on 2EC on Go Get Healthy every Wednesday at 12.30pm.
- The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double blind placebo controlled clinical trial Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghnilat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkani B. Ncbi.nim.nih.gov.pub med J Res Med Sci 2012 Dec:17(1):116-9