Magnesium plays a big role in regulating muscle contraction and relaxation in every muscle in your body. It’s one of those minerals your body just can’t do without. Magnesium is hard at work in over 300 processes within our bodies all the time. Our major organs, including our brain, heart, kidneys, and liver need magnesium to function. And let’s not forget that our heart is one very important muscular organ! Magnesium synthesizes protein and is involved in bone development, blood pressure and glucose levels.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
The RDA for magnesium is 400-420 mg for adult males and 350-360 mg for adult females. Everyone should make sure they are getting adequate levels of magnesium for optimum health. Even more so if you are working out and involved in regular physical exercise, sports, or hit the gym regularly. Your muscles and body need magnesium to get the energy to exercise, as well as quickly recover and rest after you’ve been active.
Symptoms That You May Be Lacking In Magnesium
There are a few ways your body might let you know if you are lacking magnesium. Some of the common symptoms that you may experience include:
• Muscle Cramps: Muscle cramps and spasms can be an indication that your body isn’t getting the right levels of magnesium. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium in your body and they need to be balanced. Magnesium is a relaxing mineral. Calcium is a mineral that affects muscle contraction. This means if your magnesium levels are out of balance both in terms of being too low and too high, you can experience muscle tension and twitching.
• Constipation: If you’re constipated or your bowel motions are little backed up, low magnesium may be contributing to the problem. Magnesium not only helps with the relaxing your muscles to get things in motion, but it also affects the moisture content to get things moving.
• Mood Changes: Magnesium intake can play a part in symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability and a lack of energy. Magnesium intake affects our parasympathetic neurotransmitters and hormones. These affect your mood, stress and relaxation responses.
• Insomnia: Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important part in regulating our ability to relax on all levels. It affects both our muscles and brain chemistry. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to insomnia and reduced or interrupted sleep patterns.
• Headaches: Magnesium helps relax the nervous system. This means people with low levels of magnesium may experience severe headaches, including migraines.
Food Sources of Magnesium
You get magnesium naturally through your diet. Foods high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, and whole grains. Chocolate lovers can also rejoice – dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium!
Magnesium supplements are produced in a few different forms.
• Oral: Magnesium tablets or powder taken orally are ingested and absorbed directly into your body. Magnesium supplements are produced in both one-a-day sustained-release tablets and capsules to gradually release the mineral over several hours. Or look for smaller does that you can take up to three times a day to maintain levels.
• Topical: Apply magnesium cream as a topical lotion to target specific muscles of areas of your body. Applied directly to and absorbed through your skin, creams are usually made from magnesium chloride. Magnesium creams can be great to help reduce muscle and joint tightness and cramping, and a speedy recovery after physical exercise.
• Soaks: Fancy a bath after some full on physical activity? Sit back and relax in a bath with magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom salts to soak and relax your muscles.
Targeted Types of Magnesium
Oral supplements may be one or more different types of magnesium, combined with other ingredients to help with absorption and digestion.
Body and Mind Relaxation: If you’re looking for magnesium to help you relax and sleep, look for formulations with magnesium citrate, magnesium chelate, magnesium aspartate, and magnesium phosphate. These are all easily digested types of magnesium that target the nervous system and help your body and mind relax.
Bowel Health: To help with bowel motions and regularity, look for magnesium products with magnesium hydroxide, magnesium gluconate, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium oxide. These types of magnesium have a laxative effect and work with the fluid in your body to help soften waste.
Getting Your Magnesium Levels Right
Magnesium levels and absorption are lowered by stress, processed foods, fats, caffeine, and alcohol. Medications such as antibiotics, diuretics, and drugs to treat osteoporosis also affect magnesium levels. When we sweat or perspire, magnesium is also excreted from our bodies. So if you’re working out hard or doing lots of cardio, this can also affect your levels.
Excessive magnesium intake from food is naturally eliminated through our bodies. However, if you are supplementing, you can get too much. A maximum intake of 500 mg of magnesium a day is generally recommended.
My name is Alison Hefer, I am originally from Cape Town, South Africa but I have spent the last few years in beautiful New Zealand. I write articles for various lifestyle websites including Goodhealth.co.nz and regularly contribute articles about the always changing world of SEO to Clickthrough.co.nz. I am a busy blogger/mom by day and avid writer by night. My career goal is to one day write a novel of my own. Connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.