What does magnesium do?
- Magnesium helps to break down fight and flight compounds such as adrenaline and noradrenaline – this helps to avoid being worked up and stressed out all the time.
- Magnesium helps with bowel regularity – taking the “trash” out everyday is so important for toxin removal.
- Magnesium is required to make serotonin, our neurotransmitter associated with happiness.
- Magnesium helps to relax the body, muscles and get a better night of rest. How you feel when you wake up can determine how your day will go or how you will influence other people’s day.
- Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause people to be “hangry” and make poor dietary choices.
- Magnesium helps with vitamin D absorption – both from the sun and from supplements.
- Magnesium helps with energy production in the mitochondria as well as DNA and protein synthesis.
Why are we deficient in magnesium?
- Highly refined and processed food
- Topsoil erosion and excess of heavy metals
- Chronic diseases – heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions
- Medications eg proton pump inhibitors – Pantoprazole or Nexium.
- Chronic stress
- Ageing – decreased stomach acid needed to absorb magnesium.
- Diabetes – type 1 and 2
How do we measure magnesium levels?
- Serum magnesium is most commonly measured – but only accounts for 1% of total body magnesium
- Intracellular magnesium gives a more accurate measurement of how much magnesium is inside a cell and available for enzyme reactions.
- 90% of total body magnesium is in our bones and muscles
Where can we source magnesium in our food?
- Leafy greens
- And…..dark chocolate!
Overall magnesium is a very important mineral that our body (and genome) has needed for millennia. Current lifestyle choices, chronic conditions and food quality can impact on magnesium availability and thus contribute to (subclinical) magnesium deficiency. This can be an under-recognised driver of cardiovascular disease.
If in doubt, get your levels of magnesium tested by your health care provider, and if recommended, support your body with a good quality supplement – you may notice a benefit in lots of areas of your life.