Look around you: one in three people are magnesium-deficient and don’t even know it. This super supplement has a long list of evidence-based health benefits and is vital for hundreds of chemical processes in the body. It regulates muscle and nerve function, hormones, blood sugar levels, blood pressure control, immune health and makes protein, bone, and DNA. As we get older, we’re more prone to magnesium-deficiency, especially women. Even with a healthy balanced diet, many people’s levels can be low so supplements can help significantly.
Here’s 5 reasons why we all should be taking this magic mineral:
1. It can help supercharge your workout & speed recovery
Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. Did you know that magnesium is essential for muscle functions like oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance so it may help boost exercise performance? Studies show it does this by increasing blood sugar availability in the blood, muscles, and brain during exercise. It also gets rid of lactate in your muscles (a form of lactic acid), which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue and soreness later on. Athletes and fitness-lovers have long used it (both orally and topically) to reduce post-workout muscle pain, cramping and soreness.
Research shows that even a small magnesium deficiency can affect performance and increase the negative effects of strenuous exercise (eg. oxidative stress). When you’re going really hard, the body can need 10-20% more magnesium than when you’re resting due to urinary and sweat loss. So ensuring you’re not low on it is essential to get the most out of your workouts.
2. It can help you relax and sleep
Magnesium plays a key role in stress reduction, reducing nervous tension and mood stabilisation. Low levels can make it harder to relax as it helps regulates the body’s stress-response system. Studies show that it can be effective in reducing general stress and in helping to treat mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders. People with low levels often experience restless sleep, waking up frequently during the night and chronic insomnia. Upping your intake can help maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes deep, restorative sleep. Studies show that this can help with better quality sleep overall.
Try: With magnesium being easily absorbed through the skin, there’s lots of options. Good old Epsom Salts are the go-to for max relax time in the bath, and are available affordably at most supermarkets and chemists. We also have #LocalLove for a bunch of Aussie brands worth trying: EpZen’s range of soothing body lotions blend delicious natural essential oils with magnesium; popular wellness brand SWIISH with their Soothe For Kids Organic Magnesium Oil, safe and effective to help little ones fall sleep more easily; and lastly, Go Magnesium Sleep supplement by GO Healthy which had us nodding off in under 10 minutes thanks a blend of magnesium and calming herbs like Passionflower.
3. It can help you feel happier
Magnesium helps regulate and balance brain function and mood, with research showing that low levels may be linked to an increased risk of depression. Clinical studies show that dietary supplements may help reduce symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression, or of developing depression, in some people. Randomised trials show that 450g of magnesium daily improved mood as effectively as prescription antidepressant drugs.
4. It’s a natural pain-killer, anti-inflammatory & muscle-relaxant
Studies show that magnesium can help reduce the occurrence, pain, and symptoms of migraines, PMT/PMS, and cramps and muscle spasms (both general and post-exercise-related). Post-exercise magnesium creams, lotions, sprays and oral supplements can all help ease tight achy muscles. Plus, a nice long soak in an Epsom Salt bubble bath can do wonders. Studies show magnesium can help reduce inflammation, once of the contributing factors to ageing, obesity and chronic diseases such as prediabetes.
5. It’s good for gut health
Did you know that magnesium can also help improve digestion and relieve constipation? It encourages peristalsis, the spasms that moves food along your gut as it gets digested. When you’re low in magnesium, your bowels can become sluggish and you may have constipation and stomach cramps. If you’re feeling backed up, along with upping your magnesium, it helps to increase your water and fibre intake (more veggies, nuts. seeds, legumes). This helps balance any abnormal gut flora issues as the insoluble fibre acts as a prebiotic, feeding healthy gut bacteria.
– Consistency. As with all supplements, the time of day you take your magnesium isn’t as important as just taking it regularly. Unless it’s to specifically help with sleep, then you’ll want to take it about half an hour before bed so you can drift off to sleep easily.
– There are different types of magnesium, so do your research. Some are better suited for certain conditions eg. Magnesium Citrate is often recommended for constipation due to it’s mild natural laxative effect.
– Magnesium Oil. Super-versatile, spray it directly onto sore muscles and rub in for relief. Two lesser-known uses include rubbing it on your tummy to help with period pain and/or constipation; and rubbing it onto the soles of your feet before bed and then popping on socks for a deeper night’s sleep.
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