Magnesium Supplements: Benefits, Deficiencies & Side Effects
Magnesium supplements are vital if you are interested in remaining youthful with increased energy and vitality. There is a lot of talk about antioxidants, omega oils, calcium and several other nutrients and yet we may have overlooked the missing link in our diets, the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions carried out within the body (over 350 in fact!) and interestingly the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are identical to those found in old age and include irregular heartbeat, clogged arteries, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, low energy levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and can be found in the teeth, bones and red blood cells. In fact half is found in bone and the rest in soft tissue in the body. The body rigorously maintains about one percent of its magnesium within the blood making blood tests notoriously difficult to identify a deficiency. It activates more enzymes systems in the body than iron and zinc combined. It is estimated that a staggering 70 percent1 of the adult population may be magnesium deficient. People at serious risk of magnesium deficiency include the elderly, diabetics, those on low calorie diets, those over-indulging in alcohol and those engaged in heavy exercise2.
Given the facts on magnesium deficiency, why are our diets simply not capable of providing us with this vital mineral? In the early 1900’s, our foods and water supplied us with sufficient magnesium. Unfortunately, nowadays our drinking water is filtered stripping vital minerals including magnesium, and modern farming methods have depleted the soils. In fact, magnesium levels in our water and foods are half what they were hundred years ago. Foods rich in magnesium include pumpkin seeds and spinach2 but one would have to eat a lot to even remotely try and counter deficiencies and frankly only supplementation will help to address this deficiency.
Benefits of Magnesium
Low Energy & Fatigue:
Magnesium is a key mineral in the enzyme processes that convert food into energy. Several studies indicate that individuals with low magnesium levels use more energy and therefore tire quickly. Magnesium is critical for both the synthesis and secretion of insulin which helps to break down glucose into energy at a cellular level. More often than not, diabetics are deficient in magnesium and there is justification in the use of magnesium supplements in diabetes not only to improve glucose tolerance but also to reduce the risk of many diabetic complications. Research indicates that magnesium deficiency may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome as cellular functions slow down.
PMS & Hormonal Imbalances:
Premenstrual Syndrome is a name given to varied physical and emotive symptoms such as abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, irritability and anxiety that occur two to seven days before the onset of menstruation. Sufferers of PMS have significantly lower levels of magnesium suggesting a clear association. In fact research by Dr David Thomas showed sufferers of severe PMS will tend to have common elements within their diet. They will consume only half the average intake of iron and zinc. They will consume only a quarter of their necessary magnesium and will consume almost 80% more dairy and a staggering 275% more sugar!
The inability to sleep may also be linked to magnesium deficiency. If you find it difficult to sleep or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with muscle spasms, cramps or stiffness, you may benefit from magnesium supplements. Several studies indicated that magnesium supplements were found to benefit sleep quality by decreasing the release of cortisol, the stress hormone that is responsible for sleep deprivation.
Although calcium is the most abundant skeletal mineral and the best known nutrient for maintaining bone density, new research has indicated that magnesium supplements may be of great value in both the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. The fact is that calcium is very poorly soluble on its own. It requires primarily sufficient quantities of magnesium and vitamin D in order for it to be absorbed into the bone. Magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and affects the hormone that regulates calcium balance in the body. Research indicates that osteoporotic women have less bone magnesium and that magnesium intake is a significant statistical predictor of bone mineral content.
Cramps & Spasms:
Like calcium, magnesium is essential for the proper function of muscles. Calcium is responsible for the contraction phase of muscles whilst magnesium is needed for the relaxation phase. Painful cramping at night and irritating twitches in the eyelids are usually the first signs of magnesium deficiency. Restless Leg Syndrome, a poorly understood neurological disorder, responds favourably to magnesium supplementation.
Many studies indicate that there is a relationship between low levels of magnesium in the bloodstream and preventing and treating stress headaches. Magnesium’s benefits appear to be related to its muscle and nerve relaxing properties. In cluster headaches, people suffer from up to 20 bouts of pain daily in a single siege that can last for months. Magnesium infusions may end those cluster headaches with some relief often within a seven day period.
Anxiety, Nerves & Irritability:
Magnesium works with calcium for the optimal function of the nervous system. Without adequate magnesium, the nerve cells cannot give or receive nerve impulses resulting in sensitivity to all types of stimuli such as lights may appear too bright, noises too loud and emotional reactions exaggerated. A deficiency in magnesium can result in the symptoms of anxiety and irritability since magnesium is required for the manufacture of adrenal stress hormones.
Kidney stones, one of the most painful urinary disorders, have beset humans for centuries. A kidney stone is a hard mass of chemicals from urine. The most common type of kidney stone contains calcium oxalate. Studies indicate that magnesium helps prevent recurrence of calcium oxalate kidney stones due to its effects on solubilising calcium in urine.
Magnesium is necessary for the elasticity and dermal protection of the skin and you will notice a smoothing and softening. In fact those suffering from psoriasis and eczema will experience a reduced irritation, redness and repair by taking a quality magnesium supplement and using magnesium flakes in the bath.
What is the best form of magnesium?
By now you will have realised the crucial role of magnesium in the body’s processes, understood how deficiencies arise and that dietary intake from foods is simply not achievable. This leads us to accept that many of us will need to take magnesium supplements to prevent a magnesium deficiency and receive magnesium’s benefits. However, it becomes difficult to select which magnesium supplement we should choose out of the many magnesium supplements that are available on the market which include magnesium tablets & capsules.
Magnesium supplements often contain magnesium glycinate, citrate, taurate, malate, chloride and other forms of magnesium. Whilst each individual magnesium compound may have some specific benefits, for example magnesium citrate for gut cleansing, the best magnesium supplements for overall health tend to have a few magnesium compounds often as a complex and so help to improve the overall health of the body.
So how do we know which magnesium supplements are going to provide us with the best overall health benefits? Magnesium Complex by VH is an advanced magnesium supplement that contains eight forms of magnesium compounds including magnesium glycinate, aspartate, citrate, malate, orotate, gluconate & BHB to provide the full spectrum of magnesium’s benefits mentioned above.
Magnesium Complex works to provide short term and long-term benefits which include cleansing the gut, enhancing energy, calming the nervous system, improving sleep quality, and relaxing muscles to name a few3.
- A study by the laboratory Mineral Check found that 70 percent of 8,000 people tested had a lower than expected magnesium levels.
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
- Magnesium contributes to a normal energy yielding metabolism, to the normal functioning of the nervous system, to electrolyte balance, to normal protein synthesis and to normal psychological function. Magnesium also has a role in the process of cell division. As well as the above, magnesium contributes towards normal muscle function and to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth, as well as to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
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