Why Do You Need Higher Daily Intake of Magnesium
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 soil contains low levels of the essential mineral. As we navigate through the stressors of everyday life, our need for magnesium increases and coffee, alcohol, 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, sufficient levels of magnesium is needed. Magnesium has a direct influence over the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, also known as our ‘rest and digest’ branch. It is when the parasympathetic branch is active, that we are most relaxed, and if you are suffering from insomnia, 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 get a good night’s sleep. Evidence suggests low levels of magnesium is also associated with reduced levels of dopamine, which assists relaxation, reduces anxieties and allows for the relaxed environment needed for optimal health.
2. Muscle Cramps
Whether it is growing pains, leg, or menstrual cramps; magnesium may be responsible. 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 muscle spasms or cramping, it may not be that you have too much calcium, you may simply need more magnesium.
Anyone who has experienced a migraine before, knows how debilitating they can be, but did you know magnesium may have a role to play? Migraine sufferers often have lower levels of magnesium when compared to those who have never experienced migraines. This is because magnesium has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and may alter the migraine threshold; lower levels of magnesium reducing the threshold, making migraines more likely to occur. Increasing your level of magnesium may reduce both the frequency and severity of migraines, no matter what age you are.
4. Healthy Heart function
Magnesium is crucial for regular muscle contractions, and it has particular affinity to the heart; helping to regulate heart contractions, rhythm, blood pressure and blood vessel dilation. Magnesium deficiency accelerates oxidative damage and is needed to fight free radicals within the body. Oxidative stress and the associated inflammation has a leading role in the development of high blood pressure, blood lipids and other heart-related complications, therefore it is important to have high levels of both anti-oxidants and magnesium to provide your heart with optimal protection.
5. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
Not only can magnesium support menstruation-related cramping and migraines, it has been effective in reducing a range of PMS symptoms. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are the most deficient nutrients found in PMS sufferers; research suggesting magnesium can reduce symptoms of bloating, breast tenderness and pre-menstrual weight gain. Magnesium also helps to sooth the nervous system, providing overall relief of painful periods.
6. Development and maintenance of 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 best opportunity to influence the development of bone mass. Both calcium and magnesium are needed for optimal bone health, together effecting bone strength and rigidity throughout life, which may influence the likelihood of bone fractures, remodelling and the development of osteoporosis.
7. Blood sugar regulation
Magnesium helps to control blood sugar levels as it regulates the secretion of insulin and influences carbohydrate metabolism. Sufficient magnesium levels are associated with a lower risk of developing type two diabetes and insulin sensitivity. Managing blood sugar levels can reduce the likelihood of impulsive eating in exchange for a quick energy-fix and therefore may help to avoid unwanted weight gain.
When magnesium balances the contracting effects of calcium, it induces smooth muscle relaxation, bronchodilation and reduces bronchospasms. Some health professionals use magnesium as a treatment option for those suffering from an asthma attack, as magnesium reduces airway hyper-responsiveness. Magnesium can be used to support the control of asthma and reduce the occurrence and severity of an attack, should one occur.
9. Physical endurance and recovery
Magnesium is involved in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate, which when broken down, creates the energy used by muscles. The most metabolically active tissues (such as the heart) have an increased need for magnesium as it regulates 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, it is 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, cramps, and small muscle twitching — 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.