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Mighty Magnesium – What does increasing magnesium intake mean for our day to day life?

Magnesium is a commonly prescribed supplement with plenty of evidence behind it. For most, it is a safe supplement to use if dietary intake is inadequate. According to the Australian Government Ministry of Health, the recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium is on average 320mg/day for females and 420mg/day for males. Approximately 70% of the population in Australia are deficient in magnesium. A magnesium deficiency does not pose an immediate threat or danger, however it can slow down a lot of the processes that your body needs to stay strong and healthy. Magnesium acts as a cofactor molecule meaning it helps over 600 chemical reactions within the body. 

What does increasing magnesium intake mean for our day-to-day life? It may be something you consider if you relate to any of the following: 

1. Improved athletic performance and recovery.
Increasing levels of magnesium can improve muscle recovery by increasing amounts of blood sugar in your muscles and removing lactic acid build up. This can mean increased power and endurance with quicker recovery time.

2. May help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Magnesium’s role in our nervous system regulation means it plays a very important role in brain function and mood. A small 8-week study found that taking 500 mg of magnesium daily led to significant improvements in symptoms of depression in people with a deficiency in this mineral.

3. Supports blood sugar levels and heart health.
A review reported that magnesium supplements improved blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in people at risk for type 2 diabetes. It may also help in managing high blood pressure which reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

4. Decreases inflammation.
High levels of inflammation in the body can lend to an array of acute and chronic pain and illness. Magnesium appears to lower levels of inflammatory markers and oxidative stress on the body (our bodies’ aging process). 

5. Prevents migraine attacks.
Studies have found that using a magnesium supplement instead of regular pain medication can be more effective in preventing the onset of a migraine. It can lessen severity and intensity. It is suggested that a large percentage of migraine sufferers have a magnesium deficiency.

6. Promotes bone health
This is no surprise considering 60% of your body’s magnesium sources are found within bone. Those with a lower percentage of magnesium within their bones have a higher incidence of developing osteoporosis and therefore increase fracture risk.

7. Improves sleep
A review in older adults with insomnia found that magnesium supplements decreased the time it took people to fall asleep by an average of 17 minutes. This is due to its role in regulating neurotransmitters that are vital to quality and duration of rest.

As with any vitamin or mineral, it should ideally be consumed through diet first. Magnesium is found in the following foods (ordered from high levels to lower):

  1. Pumpkin seed
  2. Chia seeds
  3. Spinach, boiled
  4. Almonds and cashews
  5. Black beans
  6. Edamame
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Brown rice
  9. Salmon
  10. Avocado

  With the warmer weather approaching, you may like to try this salmon salad veggie bowl or a vegan pumpkin seed pesto with basil and parsley over your next pasta or salad.

If you are considering using supplements to meet your magnesium intake, it is important you choose the right form. Magnesium citrate and glycinate are the most bioavailable and widely tolerated forms. While it is a safe supplement to take, it is important to consult your doctor or medical professional first, particularly if you are using diuretics, antibiotics or proton pump inhibitors (commonly used to treat reflux). 

If you have any further questions about the use of magnesium supplements in supporting a healthy body, you can contact me at rachel@premiersportsmedicine.com.au. Our dietician Maddie can help you incorporate magnesium rich foods into your diet, you can find her at maddie@premiersportsmedicine.com.au

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