Do you need more magnesium?
Naturopath Paul Keogh shares some of the clues that indicate you might benefit from topping up your magnesium levels.
Since magnesium plays an important role many metabolic functions, taking a magnesium supplement to correct this deficiency may help people who are overweight but otherwise healthy to maintain healthy blood sugar balance, and may also have beneficial effects on their maintenance of healthy blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
You get migraines
Studies have shown that people who get migraines often have low levels of magnesium, and women whose migraines tend to correlate with their menstrual cycle are particularly likely to be affected.
Taking a magnesium supplement may help reduce the frequency and duration of migraines.
You get PMS or period pain
The blood cells of women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) contain lower levels of magnesium than those of other women, and studies have shown that taking a magnesium supplement (especially when combined with vitamin B6) may help relieve symptoms such as cravings, fl uid retention and mood changes, as well as being effective against period pain.
You’re over 65 years old
Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that the diets of many older Australians don’t supply the recommended quantities of magnesium.
Half of all Australian men over 65 years old consume three quarters or less of their recommended dietary intake (RDI) of 420mg per day, and half of all women of the same age consume less than 80 per cent of their RDI (320mg per day).
The diets of people living in nursing homes, hostels and other forms of residential care are considered particularly likely to be magnesium deficient, but those living in their own homes are also affected.
Since magnesium is involved in such a wide variety of body processes, correcting any imbalance that’s present may have far-reaching effects on your health and wellbeing.
For example, in recently published research, older women participating in a gentle exercise program who took a magnesium supplement for several months experienced improvements in a range of aspects of physical performance that have an impact on day-to-day quality of life, including walking speed and their ability to stand up after sitting in a chair.
Choosing a magnesium supplement
Not all magnesium supplements are created equal. Some are diffi cult to absorb or are prone to causing tummy upset.
When selecting a supplement, choose a product that contains a highly bioavailable, easily absorbed source of magnesium, such as magnesium glycinate.
If swallowing large tablets is difficult for you, consider taking a powdered supplement that can be dissolved in water, smoothies or juice – these have the added benefit of being suitable to use in your drink bottle when you’re training. They also often include additional nutrients to support muscle health and exercise performance, such as the amino acids carnitine, glutamine and taurine, sometimes boosted with coconut water to support natural hydration.
Paul Keogh is the executive and technical director for Global Therapeutics P/L trading as Fusion Health. Paul is a qualified naturopath and medical herbalist with 25 years combined experience in clinical practice and the development of integrated Chinese and western herbal medicines.