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Why Take A Magnesium Supplement?

Why Take A Magnesium Supplement?

Magnesium is an essential mineral

One that the body can not make itself, and the body requires magnesium in large amounts. This type of mineral is known as a macro-mineral. Mg is a nutrient involved in over 300 (ref) biological functions.

It is essential for energy production, for protein synthesis within muscles (including the heart), and in bones and our DNA. Magnesium also helps stabilise the body’s electrolyte balance, regulates muscle contraction and relaxation and plays a vital role in healthy nerve conduction. Magnesium is also plays a very important part in regulating blood sugar levels and converting carbohydrates to energy (by activating amino acids).

Are you susceptible to low magnesium?

In addition to dietary inadequacies, some medical conditions and medications affect magnesium absorption.

Conditions where dietary nutrients are poorly absorbed include, for example individuals suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or coeliacs. People who have undergone surgeries that involve removal of some of the digestive tract where mg absorption takes place, such as after a gastric bypass also have impaired capacity to absorb magnesium.

Other medical conditions that increase the risk of low magnesium include type 2 diabetes or people taking diuretics, commonly known as fluid tablets. In both of these instances the body increases urine output,  jeopardizing the kidney’s regulatory mechanism and interfering with the body’s electrolyte balance.

When diet is not enough

A balanced, healthy diet that includes magnesium rich foods can provide all your daily needs. These include foods like legumes, nuts, and seeds, whole grains, spinach and other dark, leafy vegetables and fortified cereals and foods. Yogurt, milk, and other dairy products contain varied amounts of Mg. Most people can reach the recommended daily dosage of 400 to 420 mg for an adult male through diet alone.

For others though, where diet alone is inadequate, a supplement is sometimes prescribed to help to keep magnesium levels healthy.

The body naturally loses a certain amount of magnesium every day when using muscles, when the heart beats, for hormone production and when sweating, with levels regulated by the kidneys. When intake isn’t enough, the kidneys help body retain magnesium by restricting the amount that is lost in the urine.

Though we only need a small amount of magnesium, it is important to replenish magnesium levels to prevent deficiency. Low magnesium intake does not typically cause any symptoms, although tiredness, fatigue and loss of appetite may be observed. Muscle tension, soreness, weakness, cramps or twitches are other early signs of low Mg. A magnesium deficiency,  diagnosed after measuring blood serum magnesium concentrations, can lead to more serious complications and this condition must be managed by a doctor.

Exercise and Magnesium

During exercise, you may need up to 10–20% more magnesium than when you’re resting because  Mg is used to help move blood sugar into your muscles and to dispose of lactate which can build up during exercise, and cause muscle fatigue (Ref 8). When muscles are low in Mg, they cannot properly relax. This means they stay in a contracted state, resulting in cramps and spasm. Adequate magnesium is essential for flexible, relaxed and healthy muscles, and magnesium supplements are often the first complementary medicine people seek to help relieve muscular cramps, pains and spasms.

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