Magnesium: are you getting enough??

Magnesium is an essential mineral in human health. It is involved in a wide range of biological functions that are vital for the effective workings of the human body.

Magnesium has many uses in the body, including:

  • building strong bones by regulating the flow of calcium throughout the body
  • producing essential amino acids, the building blocks for proteins
  • activating some of the enzymes that transfer and release energy in the muscles
  • conduction of nerve impulses to the muscles for effective contraction
  • adjustment to different environmental temperatures, especially cold.

 Signs of Magnesium deficiency

  • excessive muscle tension
  • leg cramps
  • restless leg syndrome
  • muscle twitches
  • muscle weakness and lethargy
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty in adjusting to temperature change (especially when going from warm to cold)
  • Individuals who are diabetic may also notice a change in their insulin levels

Up to 86% of females and 76% of males consume less than the recommended daily intake of Magnesium. 

Benefits of Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium supplements help to support a healthy nervous system, energy production and adrenal activity and are therefore effective for athletes and active individuals and also during times of increased demand such as stress.

Magnesium is regularly used as an effective treatment for muscle cramps, generalised increased muscle tension, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, menstrual complaints and stress.  It also helps in the maintenance of normal healthy blood glucose levels, to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease.

Those who are at higher risk of nutrient deficiency may have increased complications because of magnesium deficiency – such as those with diabetes or cardiovascular issues.  Magnesium may be effective in reducing the effect of PMS, including fluid retention, mood swings, nervous tension and headaches.  Magnesium also helps to counteract the negative health effects of chronic stress.

This mineral also plays a crucial role in making bones healthy and the absorption of other minerals, like potassium and calcium. Women with increased risk of osteoporosis should be even more diligent about getting enough magnesium.

An important note is that if supplementation of used, for most people the powdered form of magnesium such as Ultra Muscleze (Bioceuticals brand) and Fibroplex (Metagenics brand) are more beneficial to the tablet form.  Benefits from the use of these powders are usually noticed within one month of use.

Australian Recommended daily intakes of Magnesium

Adult women: 310-320mg/day (increased during pregnancy).*

Adult Men: 400-420mg/day.*

Foods High in Magnesium

Most peoples’ diet is no longer sufficient to provide all the magnesium that is needed for good health.  It has been estimated that magnesium intake has declined by more than half during this century; primarily due to food processing(1).  The best way to consume the daily requirement of magnesium is by eating a varied diet that includes green vegetables and whole grains, with a focus on natural, non-processed foods.

You can supplement your diet with foods rich in magnesium including black beans, broccoli, apples, apricots, bananas, brown rice, dairy products, dark green vegetables, garlic, fish, nuts, whole grains, wheat bran, meat, fish, scallops and oysters.

Cautions and Contraindications

Excess consumption of magnesium is possible, however unlikely from diet alone.  The most common adverse reaction from high-dose supplemental magnesium is loose stools or diarrhoea(2). Magnesium overload can contribute to muscle contraction/relaxation difficulties, low blood pressure and cardiac symptoms.  For this reason, supplements should only be taken as directed by a qualified practitioner.

At Head 2 Toe Health we stock Metagenics range of Magnesium suppliments at below RRP. Please contact us if you have any questions or like some more information on how to supplement with a quality form of magnesium.

Written by Dr. Jess Harvey B.Sc. (Anat, Phys), B.Ap.Sci (Comp. Med.), Ma Osteo., Registered Osteopath and Director of Head 2 Toe Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in Brisbane also providing Acupuncture, Massage, Life Coaching and Counselling – where we aim to get you as well as possible, as fast as possible, permanently. We believe in a thorough approach to restoring and maintaining health and address many aspects of our lifestyles that can contribute to pain, stiffness, dis-ease and disease. For any further information, please contact us on info@head2toehealth.com.au or 07) 3208 8308.

This information is intended as a general guide only and is not specific for any particular condition or situation.  Please consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting a nutritional program.

*Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.

  1. Fawcett WJ, Haxby EJ, Male DA, Magnesium: Physiology and pharmacology. Br J Anaesth 1999;83:302-20.
  2. Drug Informatin: Magnesium. PDR Health. www.pdrhealth.com
  3. Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/health/diet-nutrition/articles/26052.aspx#ixzz1PJGHs5Uz