According to the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey, 1 in 3 Australians over age 2 years had inadequate magnesium levels. Why is this significant? While there are many minerals required by the body for health, magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. That’s right 300!! That’s huge. Some of the functions that require magnesium are protein production, muscle & nerve function, cardiac function, blood pressure, blood glucose control & bone development. It’s also involved in the production of energy within the cells plus melatonin which is required for sleep. No wonder so many of us lack energy, without magnesium we can’t produce it efficiently plus we aren’t getting enough sleep. There are many & varied side effects of inadequate sleep.
If you’ve read my eBook “Constant Cravings Breakthrough” you would know that chocolate is one of the most common foods we crave & that is often because our bodies are seeking magnesium. If you don’t have a copy of the eBook, you can download it HERE. Sadly most processed/commercial chocolate contains little magnesium as it’s lost during production but high quality chocolate, or even better, raw homemade chocolate is rich in magnesium.
Why are so many of us deficient?
The Western diet relies heavily on processed foods which are just about devoid of any minerals. Even if you are eating a healthy diet that includes lots of leafy green vegetables you may still be deficient. Green leafy veg are traditionally one of the best food sources of magnesium, but our poor quality soils have been depleted of many minerals so the vegetables are no longer the rich sources they once were.
Medications can deplete our stores of magnesium as can a number of chronic health conditions:
Type 2 Diabetes
Gastrointestinal diseases such as Coeliac, Crohn's or even chronic diarrhea
Also as we age, absorption of magnesium tends to decrease while excretion increases so older people are more susceptible to deficiency. Quality, quantity & variety of food may also be a factor in the lderly.
How do you know if you are deficient?
What can we do?
We can increase our consumption of foods which are traditionally rich in magnesium, remembering what I said about our soils. Seeds & nuts are wonderful source. In addition to those shown in the image the below the following foods are good sources:
Legumes – lentils, beans, chickpeas & peas
Wholegrains – wheat, oats, barley & quinoa
Some fatty fish – salmon, mackerel & halibut
Ensuring that gut health is at it’s best will help to optimise absorption from the foods you eat but If you are struggling to get enough from foods then there are a wide range of supplements that can be used. There is simple Epsom Salts that you could add to a bath. There are magnesium oils & lotions to apply to the skin although these can be quite expensive. Here is a recipe to make your own lotion. It’s pretty simple to make & the ingredients can be found in the supermarket or local health food store. When you make your own you know that there are no nasty additives or preservatives included.
Of course you can take an oral supplement & there are thousands to choose from. When it comes to this I go by the theory that you get what you pay for. There are many different forms of magnesium available in a supplement. If you are seeking a supplement to address a specific symptom such as headache, leg cramps, menstrual cramps or to support cardiac health or energy levels, there are specific supplement formulas that were developed for these reasons. It is a bit of a minefield so I would recommend seeking advice from a health care professional such as a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath While practitioner only products are usually more expensive, the quality is often superior.
My experience is that the cheaper ones are either harder for the body to absorb or they are more easily excreted. Personally, I use Magnesium Chelate. The cheapest form of magnesium is magnesium sulphate but it’s also the most easily eliminated & may cause tummy upsets. It is sometimes used as a laxative, so draw your own conclusions.
I hope you have found this useful & that now you understand why it is so important that your magnesium levels are within a healthy range.
Pam Bailey helps women feel good about themselves every day.
She is a Conscious Eating Coach, Essential Oils Expert, Nutritionist, Life Coach & Heal Your Life Workshop Facilitator.
She has a particular passion for concerns around body image & unwanted eating habits along with stress management. She is also a Global Ambassador for the Body Image Movement.
Pam is an International Keynote speaker & workshop leader, online & in person.
For more information contact Pam on 0409 989 260 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice a qualified health practitioner with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.