by Brent Murphy – B.Pharm (Rhodes), MPS. Solal’s Pharmacist.
According to research 75% of people following a westernised diet and lifestyle are deficient in magnesium. Although magnesium is typically found in nuts, seeds and leafy dark-green vegetables, studies show that the amount of magnesium contained in these foods is steadily declining. Magnesium is essential for over 600 metabolic reactions so the implications of a magnesium deficiency are severe, namely:
Magnesium is an essential mineral for healthy blood pressure. It also helps prevent an irregular heartbeat which is a significant cause of sudden death. One of the reasons for sudden death the day after intense night of binge-drinking is because alcohol flushes the body of magnesium. So if you are noticing an irregular heartbeat the day after the night before, it is important you take some magnesium immediately.
MOOD AND SLEEP
Magnesium also has anti-anxiety effects and it promotes restorative sleep. Recent research has also shown that magnesium helps restore healthy intestinal bacteria that are linked to improved mood (healthy gut bacteria stimulate the body to produce more serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter hormone).
A lack of magnesium also depletes the body of vitamin D, an essential immune-supportive and heart-protective vitamin. Interestingly magnesium’s effect on immune response may explain why people with asthma often have low magnesium levels, since asthma is caused by a malfunctioning immune response.
Exercise depletes magnesium which is needed by the muscles for optimal energy supply and to prevent muscle cramps. Some medicines (such as hormone replacement medicines, cortisone and some blood pressure medicines) also deplete the body of magnesium stores.
Recent research suggests that supplementing with magnesium may be more important than calcium for bone health. This is because magnesium helps vitamin D improve bone density, and it helps prevent calcium loss
BUT WHICH FORM OF MAGNESIUM IS BEST
Magnesium comes in many forms and not all are absorbed from the intestine very well. If magnesium is not absorbed, it can’t provide any health benefits. Unabsorbed magnesium also causes diarrhoea. For athletes who use magnesium for cramp prevention and muscle function, diarrhoea is the last thing they need, since diarrhoea flushes the body of essential electrolytes needed for muscle performance.
The GLYCINATE form of Magnesium is a highly absorbable form of magnesium which is bound to a food-based amino acid called glycine, not a poorly-bioavailable form of magnesium, typically obtained from rocks and commonly found in many magnesium supplements (human beings have never eaten rocks as part of our diets; neither should we eat powdered rocks in supplements).