Magnesium & Muscles

6 Signs you’re not getting Enough Magnesium

a person in exercise gear walking towards a building

Do you suffer from muscle cramps? Are your menstrual periods painful? Do you feel tired all the time? If so, you may not be getting enough magnesium.

When you do not eat enough magnesium rich foods (such as leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds), eat too much junk food or have an increased need for magnesium, you may be deficient in magnesium (1).

What’s more, long-term deficiency of magnesium may increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and even increase the progression of kidney disease (2). As a result, it is important to ensure you are getting enough magnesium.

Wondering whether you are getting enough magnesium? Here are 6 signs you’re not getting enough magnesium:

1. You suffer from muscle spasms and cramps

Calcium and magnesium are necessary for the contraction and relaxation of your muscles. If you are not getting enough magnesium, your muscles cannot relax. Instead, they get stuck in contraction mode, resulting in muscle cramps (3).

2. You have high blood pressure

Magnesium lowers blood pressure by preventing the walls of your arteries from becoming too thick. When your arteries are thick, more pressure is required for blood to flow freely through your arteries. This leads to a build-up of pressure in your arteries aka “high blood pressure”.

Supplemental magnesium has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure an average of 4.2 mm Hg, and diastolic blood pressure an average of 2.2 mm Hg (4).

3. You experience insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you are not alone; as many as 1 in 3 Australians suffer from insomnia (5). If you are older, the statistics are even worse; almost 50% of older adults suffer from insomnia (6).

Standard drugs used to treat insomnia do more harm than good, and are not recommended if you are older (6). So, what is a viable alternative? Supplemental magnesium.

Research has shown that magnesium helps you sleep better by decreasing stress hormone levels and increasing the production of melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. A study found that elderly adults given 500 mg of magnesium slept more than those given a placebo. They also had higher melatonin levels and lower cortisol levels (6).

4. You suffer from menstrual pain

Do you use anti-inflammatories or other drugs to treat your menstrual pain? The solution to your menstrual pain could be as simple as increasing your intake of magnesium.

Magnesium reduces the production of PGF-2 alpha (a substance that causes the contraction of your uterine muscles), thereby relieving menstrual pain. A study found that magnesium supplementation over a 6 month period reduced menstrual pain in 84% of patients (7).

5. You need a boost in your mood

Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood. Some of the symptoms one may experience with magnesium deficiency include anxiety, low mood and irritability (10). In fact, low magnesium levels has even been linked to an increased risk of depression (11).

6. You need a boost in energy

Magnesium is a required component in your body to active adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the fundamental unit of energy within the body for transporting energy within our cells for metabolism. When your body doesn’t have adequate levels of magnesium, the nutrients you consume are unable to metabolise into energy.

Magnesium Supplementation

If you have seen your general practitioner and have been diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency, what can you do? Getting enough magnesium can be as simple as taking a magnesium supplement.

Which magnesium supplement should you choose? Invest in a high quality magnesium supplement such as magnesium diglycinate. Magnesium diglycinate is better absorbed than other supplemental forms of magnesium such as magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.  Also, make sure your magnesium supplement is a low-diarrheal formula in order to minimize diarrhea.

Takeaway Message

If you are not getting enough magnesium, you may be suffering from high blood pressure, mood disorders, insomnia or a myriad of other health issues. Magnesium supplementation may be useful in treating or preventing these health issues.

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