Magnesium is a key nutrient for optimal health. When our magnesium levels are healthy, we thrive. Yet, according to recent research, up to 800,000 people in the UK are magnesium deficient. And this all-too-often undetected deficiency can be a catalyst for a whole host of health problems, from headaches and muscle cramps to fatigue and anxiety.
Seed’s Nutritional Therapist, Evie Whitehead, explains what we can do to boost our magnesium levels through good nutrition, supplements and even lying in a bath of Epsom salts.
“In our fast-paced, modern world, magnesium deficiency is a growing problem. There are four main reasons we become magnesium deficient. This includes poor nutrition; medications that deplete our natural levels (such as antibiotics and diuretics); soil depletion; and gut /digestive problems such as irritable bowel, which inhibit our ability to absorb this vital nutrient.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can manifest in many ways, such as restless leg syndrome, muscle cramps, tiredness / fatigue, depression, anxiety, nausea, headaches, migraines, constipation / digestive issues and muscle weakness. Yet, most people who experience these symptoms never consider that this deficiency may be a contributing factor.
As magnesium is used in over 300 reactions in the body, it is a critical requirement for our bodies to function optimally. This includes brain, heart and muscle movement and bone health. It is also needed for cellular respiration – the cell’s ability to create energy.
Most often I see the benefits of increasing dietary magnesium in my clients who suffer with depression, fatigue, insomnia, migraines and constipation.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO INCREASE YOUR MAGNESIUM LEVELS?
Generally, in the UK we just don’t seem to be getting enough from our diet. This is most likely due to us not eating enough plant-based, wholegrains foods. We can get magnesium from foods such as nuts, legumes, wholegrains, beans, seeds, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, rocket, lettuce). Fish is also an excellent source.
We need about 300-400mg of magnesium every day. This is equal to having ½ cup of oats, 1 tablespoons of seeds (sunflower), 1 cup of yoghurt, 1 slice of wholegrain bread, 1 cup of spinach and ½ cup of brown rice. Plus a square of dark chocolate, which is an excellent source of magnesium!!
Aim to have at least 4-5 servings of vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and beans every day to see your energy levels soar and improve your sleep.
Don’t forget you can also absorb magnesium through the skin by having a lovely, relaxing Epsom salt bath which is rich in magnesium sulfate. It can also help aid a restful night’s sleep.
Case Study: My client (41 yrs) suffered with recurrent migranes. These would be debilitating and require complete rest and darkness to recover and were occurring approximately 3-4 times per month. After removing some common dietary triggers for migraines, they reduced by over 50%. We then worked together further to focus in on hormone-balancing and supported a strong dietary protocol with supplemental magnesium complex specifically designed for migraine relief and she has now been migraine free for the past 5 months.
If you do suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned, it is useful to know that some supplemental forms of magnesium can be a really helpful in addition to a healthy diet. However, different forms have different actions in the body, which can cause tummy upsets. Therefore, it is important to get the right advice to find what will best suit your needs.
10 Signs You’re Magnesium Deficient
If you have any health concerns/conditions and would like Evie’s help and advice, please get in touch – email@example.com.
For more information about Epsom Salts, click HERE.
(Reference: Gropper & Smith, 2013, p443-449)
Rajizadeh et al. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28241991
Yablon et al., 2011 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29920023
Tangvoraphonkchai & Davenport, 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29793664