Magnesium is an important mineral that many people may not be getting enough of. It is thought that up to 80 per cent of us may be deficient in this mighty mineral. What does this mean and should we be doing anything about it?
There are many factors that may be responsible for depleted magnesium levels including poor soil quality, high sugar or processed food consumption, chronic stress, and regular alcohol consumption to name just a few. Magnesium is so important because the body relies on it as a co factor for hundreds of enzyme reactions. These enzymes reactions are required for many different functions such as the conversion of carbohydrates for energy production, regulation of blood sugar, healthy DNA synthesis, strong bones, blood sugar balance and a healthy nervous system. We also need magnesium to help regulate calcium, vitamin D and hormones so as you can see getting enough magnesium is very important for our general health and wellbeing. When we are not getting enough magnesium we can feel tired and depleted.
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Symptoms of low magnesium are not obvious and may present as a variety of different symptoms including any of the following –
Aching or cramping muscles
Inability to cope with stress
PMT type symptoms
High blood pressure
When we are not getting enough magnesium our energy levels become depleted. To counteract this fatigue we often crave energy boosters such as sugar and stimulants like caffeine in coffee. These cravings for coffee, sugar or chocolate can be a sign that your body is in need of more magnesium. Chocolate is a natural source of magnesium which explains why we often crave it when magnesium is low however the best source is found in dark chocolate or raw cacao rather than the sweet, milk chocolate which has little if any magnesium left.
We can find Magnesium in many different foods such as –
Green leafy vegetables
Low vegetable intake, alcohol, intensive exercise, low protein intake, zinc supplementation, anti-acid medication, diuretics, stress and sugar can deplete the body of this important mineral. No wonder we are left feeling frazzled, depleted, and anxious in need of our next stimulant or sugar fix!
When it comes to boosting this wonder nutrient, a wholefood diet rich in magnesium is the healthiest way to go. When levels become chronically depleted however supplements can be very effective to boost energy levels and rebalance the nerves. Magnesium supplements can be hard to absorb via the gut particularly for those with gut disorders such as IBS and celiac disease. Choose powder supplements that can be mixed with water and then drunk over tablets which tend to be harder to breakdown and absorb. Magnesium supplements can be easily purchased from pharmacies and health food stores however it is always advised to seek professional recommendation prior to taking any form of supplementation.