Are you magnesium deficient?
Have you experienced flickering eyelids, cramps, sleep troubles, high blood pressure, chocolate cravings, period pain, headaches or feelings of anxiety or stress? These are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency – one of the commonest nutrient issue seen in my practice.
It is estimated up to 80% of people are deficient in this essential mineral important for hundreds of important chemical reactions in our bodies.
Take the quiz: Ideal: <25; Mild deficiency: 25-50; Very likely to be quite deficient: >50**
Why would you be Magnesium deficient?
You could be deficient for 3 main reasons:
1. Insufficient intake due to eating more processed foods and less ‘whole’ foods like veggies, nuts and whole grains.
2. Inadequate absorption: If you have compromised digestive function e.g. have coeliac disease, ‘leaky gut’ or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) you may need to either address the issue, or increase intake.
3. Increased requirements: If you are an athlete, stressed, are pregnant or breastfeeding, are on certain Mg depleting medications, have certain genetic predispositions or doing activities that involve heavy sweating, your requirements are increased. Coffee depletes magnesium stores- leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good sources.
An average adult female needs around 320 mg daily; males 420 mg plus extra for sports people, in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some health conditions and medications may make those requirements higher.
Foods Rich in Magnesium:
Rich food sources of magnesium per 100gm serving per serving
• Hemp seeds – 700mg
• Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup) – 78mg
• Pumpkin seeds – 525mg
• Whole wheat bread (2 slices) – 46mg
• Flax seeds – 392mg
• Avocado (1 cup) – 44mg
• Brazil nuts – 376mg
• Baked potato – 43mg
• Kidney beans (1/2 cup) – 35mg
Do I need a supplement?
Sometimes it’s difficult to obtain adequate Mg from your diet and a supplement may be an easy fix. Sometimes you only need to take it temporarily while you address the cause – like increasing dietary intake or improving digestive health. Unfortunately all Mg supplements are not created equal – some are better absorbed than others or can cause loose bowels.
Practitioner brands of magnesium also contain supportive herbs and nutrients that can assist with increasing energy or improve sleep and mood, blood sugar imbalance, cardiovascular health (especially blood pressure), pain and hormone imbalance. Some are in tablet form and many come as a powder so you can fit more into a dose without added excipients (things that are required to make something into a tablet that you don’t really need).
Types of Magnesium:
Recommended forms for better absorption:
Magnesium Glycinate – highly absorbable and particular good for stress and muscle relaxation;
Magnesium Orotate: This form is supportive for stamina and heart health
Magnesium Citrate: Well absorbed and affordable all-rounder
Magnesium Threonate: less commonly available, and purported to improve cognitive function
Less recommended – these types that are less well absorbed & can cause loose bowels:
Magnesium Oxide, magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) and magnesium chloride (better used topically)
Want to get some expert advice?
Many supplements prescribed by a health practitioner combine vitamins, minerals and herbs to target specific issues, e.g. weight management, sleep and stress; blood pressure, hormonal imbalance or low energy. It works out more cost effective than buying 2 or 3 supplements, and you can be assured of their quality and absorption. It is best combined with a ‘health check up’ to ensure other nutrients are not low, that your digestion is working at it’s best and your diet is optimal. You may need some guided support in addition to supplements.
**If you scored over 50 in the Quiz, why not take up our offer of a complimentary chat with our Naturopath and Medical Scientist Doreen Schwegler to discuss the best way to get your health back on track https://holistic-health-pty-ltd.au1.cliniko.com/bookings#schedule
Here is a great read regarding how Magnesium supports cardiovascular health and helps insulin resistance and weight loss:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852744/