Magnesium an element on the periodic table we can not live without. It has so many functions within the body, 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone (source) it is not a surprise most of us show symptoms of deficiency; As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.
What does it do?
It is involved in enzyme reactions in the digestive system and many other systems, helps regulate bowel movements
Helps cells to manufacture energy, will help use sugar and fat for energy so may result in weight loss,
Balances calcium, helps to relax muscles reducing pain and stiffness, regulates muscle contractions especially heart muscle, maintains muscle
Pulls water into cells and therefore is essential to rehydrate the body,
Improves insulin sensitivity and therefore is important in blood sugar balance and hormone regulation,
Reduces blood stickyness for example found in heart disease and high blood pressure,
Improves circulation, reduces pain and twitches (for example restless leg syndrome)
Enhances the immune system,
Helps to regulate temperature,
Helps transmit messages from the brain to the muscles and therefore helps to ‘turn off’ the stress response, can help induce restful sleep, also good for people with high anxiety levels
Works with calcium and Vitamin D to maintains bone structure and health,
Facilitates DNA replication (for when the body is constantly developing new cells- perfect DNA is the key to cancer prevention and prolongs ageing)
It truly is an amazing nutrient!
Where is it found?
The main place to find magnesium is in green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Refined flours, rice, sugar and other products have removed magnesium and other nutrients in the processing. These are also to be avoided as they mainly need magnesium to help process them within the body.
Green leafy veg especially dark green like spinach and Kale. Whole grainssuch as oats, buckwheat, rye, barley, rice, Quinoa, millet and chia. Beans such as black, soy (preferably fermented), Kidney and lima, Nuts and Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, Almonds, Cashews, flax seeds, sesame seeds (tahini), sunfower seeds, pine nuts, watermelon seeds. Raw cacao, coconut (mostly in dried and creamed coconut), watermelon, eggs.
Factors that deplete it;
Stress, high blood sugar, diet high in processed foods (especially soft drinks), calcium supplements without magnesium, some pharmaceuticals, soft water, alcohol and other recreational drugs. The soil is also depleted of magnesium so there is sometimes a need for supplementation. You can also use epsom salts in the bath, or make a magnesium lotion or oil (see here, here and then use the magnesium oil to make a lotion adding it here– Thanks for the idea Coconut Mama)