Involved in over 300 processes within the body, magnesium plays an essential role in our everyday lives. For many New Zealander’s, it can be difficult to obtain magnesium from the diet alone, as our modern diet contains low levels of the essential mineral. As we navigate through the stressors of everyday life, our need for magnesium increases. Coffee, alcohol, sugar, increased stress, and decreased sleep, amplify our need for magnesium. Whether young or old, magnesium has a benefit for you. Here are our top 9 reasons you need magnesium today.
1. Nervous system support
For optimal rest and relaxation, a sufficient level of magnesium is needed. Magnesium has a direct influence over the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, also known as the ‘rest, repair, and digest’ mode. It is when the parasympathetic branch is active, that we are most relaxed, and if your sleep is not as sound as it should be, it could be due a lack of magnesium. Reduced or disrupted sleep can place extra pressure on the nervous system, stimulating the release of the stress hormone cortisol and making it even harder to sleep. Evidence suggests a low level of magnesium is also associated with reduced levels of dopamine, which supports relaxation, motivation, and optimum health and wellbeing.
2. Muscle tension
Magnesium is a relaxing mineral which balances the contracting effect of calcium, preventing calcium from moving too quickly through the body’s cells. Calcium activates nerves and causes them to spasm; and it can be difficult to obtain the right calcium-magnesium ratio. If you often suffer from muscular tension, it may not be that you have too much calcium, you may simply need more magnesium.
3. Head tension
Anyone who has experienced severe head tension before, knows how debilitating it can be, but did you know magnesium may have a role to play? Sufferers often have lower levels of magnesium when compared to those who have never experienced severe events. This is because magnesium has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Lower levels of magnesium are associated with the occurrence of severe head tension. Increasing your level of magnesium may reduce both the frequency and severity, no matter what age you are.
4. Healthy heart function
Magnesium is crucial for regular muscle contractions, and it has particular affinity with the heart, supporting heart contractions, rhythm, blood pressure, and blood vessel dilation. Magnesium deficiency accelerates oxidative damage, as it is needed to fight free radicals within the body. Oxidative stress, and associated chronic immune response, can interfere with blood pressure, blood lipids and heart health, therefore it is important to have high levels of both antioxidants and magnesium to provide your heart with optimal protection.
5. The female cycle
Not only can magnesium support menstruation-related issues, but it has also been shown to be effective in supporting the entirety of a woman’s cycle. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are the most deficient nutrients when issues arise, research suggesting magnesium supports digestive, breast, and weight management issues. Magnesium also helps to sooth the nervous system, providing overall relief.
6. Support healthy bones
Although calcium is usually thought of as the bone mineral, over half of the body’s magnesium is found within our bones. Adequate levels of calcium and magnesium during the early years is the to influence the development of bone mass. Both calcium and magnesium are needed for optimal bone health, together supporting bone strength and rigidity throughout life.
7. Blood sugar
Magnesium supports blood sugar levels, the secretion of insulin, and carbohydrate metabolism. Managing blood sugar levels can reduce the likelihood of impulsive eating in exchange for a quick energy-fix and therefore may help you avoid unwanted weight gain.
8. Healthy lungs
When magnesium balances the contracting effects of calcium, it supports smooth muscle relaxation and bronchodilation. Magnesium can be used to support the lungs and the occurrence and severity of an event, should one occur.
9. Physical endurance and recovery
Magnesium supports the production of ATP, which creates the energy used by muscles. The most metabolically active tissues (such as the heart) have an increased need for magnesium as it supports muscle contractions. If you are undertaking regular exercise, you may have an increased need for magnesium. During exercise, magnesium is not only used in higher amounts, but also excreted in sweat, which is commonly produced in greater amounts during physical activity. Increasing magnesium levels, will replenish energy stores, aid the recovery process through cellular repair, and calm the nervous system, allowing for beneficial rest and recovery.
Magnesium is an essential mineral in the sense that it must be obtained in the diet, however also because it is essential for good health and wellbeing. Involved in various bodily functions, adequate magnesium levels are crucial in all stages of life. Deficiency symptoms of magnesium include tingling, numbness, tiredness, and tense and twitchy muscles. Twitching is often experienced in the eye. Make sure you are aware of the deficiency symptoms, and that you are receiving the level of magnesium suitable for your health today, and in the long term.