Magnesium is essential for many body functions. We need magnesium for energy production, brain function, sleep, blood sugar regulation, healthy bones, heart health, cell signaling and hormone production. It is necessary to convert vitamin D and calcium into their active forms and it enhances the uptake of vitamin B6 and potassium.
While our body’s demand for magnesium is high, our soils are depleted resulting in our food containing low levels of magnesium. This combined with low intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole food and increase consumption of processed foods, it is no surprise magnesium deficiency is very common.
Our magnesium levels are further depleted by consumption of sugar, caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol, poor gut health and by chronic stress.
Signs of magnesium deficiency include:
Slow muscle recovery after exercise
Reduced ability to manage stress
Abnormal heart rhythms
Magnesium is found in many foods but is highest in leafy green vegetables, figs, bananas, avocados, raw cacao, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.
While it is preferable to get our nutrients from our food, our body require a lot of magnesium, especially during times of growth, stress or excessive exercise and supplementation may be necessary. Supplementation can also be indicated for a number of conditions including:
Low mood and mild depression
PMS and hormonal imbalance
There are different forms of magnesium. Some are more suitable to certain conditions than others and some are better absorbed than others. Magnesium can also be applied topically, this can be especially useful for anyone experiencing trouble sleeping or localized muscle pain.