In recent years, Magnesium has been one of my favourite supplements. I always have some at hand so I’m never without when I need it
Functions of Magnesium
Magnesium has various functions in the body. It supports to neutralize stomach acid, supports muscle relaxation, is used for growth and maintenance of your bones, muscle function, nerve function and helps stool move through the intestine.
The list of possible benefits of adequate Magnesium consumption is huge, it ranges from supporting sleep, easing a headache, as a laxative to ease constipation, PMS, anxiety, stress reduction, reduce blood pressure, improves aerobic exercise, and may increase insulin sensitivity.
Magnesium food sources
The following foods are known to be relatively high in magnesium.
Spinach: 87mg/100g cooked – 22% of the RDA (alternatives can be other dark leafy greens)
Pumpkin seed: 550mg/100 g – 138% or the RDA (however, a portion (handful) is about 28g
Mackerel: 97mg/100 g – 24% of the RDA (other fish: turbot, halibut, Pollock, tuna and salmon)
Black beans: 74mg/100 g – 19% or the RDA ( other beans and lentils contain magnesium as well)
Dark Chocolate: 327mg/100 g – 81% of the RDA (opt for at least 80% dark chocolate)
Almonds: 281mg/100 g – 70% of the RDA (dry roasted, no added salt)
Figs: 68mg/100 g – 17% of the RDA (other dried fruit may contain magnesium in lower levels)
Avocado: 29mg/100 g – 7% of your RDA
Yoghurt/Kefir: 19mg/100 g – 5% of the RDA
Banana: 27mg/100 g – 7% of the RDA
Ways to take Magnesium?
The above is why I am so passionate about this essential mineral. It can be taken in a couple of different ways: either orally (through the mouth, by swallowing a pill/capsule or powder), via an injection (usually only used in case of severe deficiency) or trans-dermally (through the skin). I love using the latter after a hard gym session or when I wake up with a tight neck or back after ‘sleeping funny’. You can also absorb it when you have an Epsom salts bath.
Why choose to take a Magnesium supplement? Of course, I would encourage anyone to try and improve magnesium intake through their diet first. However, there are a couple of things to consider.
Soil depletion: we used to get adequate amounts of Magnesium from our diet as the soil would feed the vegetables with this mineral. Due to over farming, mass-production and pesticide use, the amounts in the soil are nowhere near as much.
Getting inadequate amounts in through diet: if we think of how much Magnesium we should eat every day, it can be a challenge to eat the right amounts every single day. Some products might not be in season, or you might have a couple of busy weeks where you know you won’t have the time to cook.
One of the important uses for Magnesium is at muscle relaxation after contraction, and there are some muscles that are in use all day every day. This is one of the reasons why your magnesium should be topped up at all times.
High blood pressure
Irregular heart rhythms
If you have any or more than one of the following signs below, you might be deficient in Magnesium. If you have any concerns, please contact your GP.
Why might you be deficient?
You might have difficulty absorbing the magnesium from your food, which can leave you in a negative. Some factors that prevent absorption can be: alcohol consumption, coffee consumption, celiac or Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis, crash dieting, anorexia.
If you are an active individual or an athlete, you will use your magnesium reserves more often due to the calcium/magnesium usage during muscle contraction/relaxation.
Medication. There is a long list of medication that depletes your magnesium. Some examples of types of medication (so, not brand names) are: acid blockers, antacids, antibiotics, antiviral agents, certain blood pressure medication, central nervous system stimulants, cholesterol agents, corticosteroids, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, immunosuppressants, osteoporosis medication.
A high sugar and processed foods diet can result in lower amounts of magnesium in your system as well.
Infants–6 months: 30 milligrams
7–12 months: 75 milligrams
1–3 years: 80 milligrams
4–8 years: 130 milligrams
9–13 years: 240 milligrams
14–18 years: 410 milligrams for men; 360 milligrams for women
19–30 years: 400 milligrams for men; 310 milligrams for women
Adults 31 years and older: 420 milligrams for men; 320 milligrams for women
Pregnant women: 350–360 milligrams
Women who are breastfeeding: 310–320 milligrams
Types of Magnesium
There are different forms of magnesium. Depending on what you want from your supplement you can opt for different products.
Magnesium Chelate: this is a highly absorbable form of magnesium and is found in foods naturally. This type gets bound to proteins and is used to restore the levels of magnesium in your body.
Magnesium Citrate: this is a magnesium combined with citric acid (Vitamin C). Magnesium Citrate is often used to improve digestion and/or prevent constipation. It may have a laxative effect in some cases when taken in high doses.
Magnesium Chloride Oil: this is one of my favourites! It is an oil form of magnesium that can be applied to skin. As your skin can’t absorb more magnesium than it can store, it is very safe to use. It is used transdermal to increase energy and endurance, relieve muscle pain. Be aware that it can feel a bit tingly or ‘grainy’ when you rub it in.
Magnesium Glycinate — is highly absorbable and is less likely to cause laxative effects than some other magnesium supplements.
Simply put: magnesium helps to relax your muscles, supports cognitive function, nerve function, balances the acid in your stomach and many other things. Depending on how you want your body to absorb it, you can take it as a supplement, or put it on your skin.