Little ol' magnesium. Until doing research for this post, I had no idea how much of a role it actually played within our bodies and the impact it has on our overall health.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body following sodium, potassium and calcium. I get
plenty of the latter three but not so much of magnesium, which makes me think about why my brain functions the way that it does for a reason... but I am no doctor, so I won't presume to diagnose myself!!!!
Magnesium is essential for:
- the formation of healthy bones & teeth
- the transmission of nerve impulses
- mostly the relaxation of muscles
- activating certain enzymes
- the conversion of carbohydrate, fats and proteins into energy
We need magnesium for several hundred bodily functions such as blood coagulation, insulin production, a normal heartbeat, muscle and nerve functions and support to the immune system.
Thanks to it's molecular structure though, magnesium is the hardest mineral to absorb, so we should make sure we are getting a generous amount, right? Maybe...
One of the benefits of magnesium is it's role in promoting mental and emotional health. When dietary intake is too low, magnesium deficiency results, which may promote symptoms of depression such as weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite (I never get this symptom!!) and personality changes. The same goes for excess magnesium or magnesium toxicity, which can happen if you combine intake through diet and supplements.
So, above I said we need to get a generous amount, but then again you can get too much! I guess the safe bet would be to talk to your doctor/dietitian/nutritionist/naturopath to find the right balance for you.
Also, it is not just diet that can affect magnesium levels in the body. Other reasons include:
- prolonged strenuous exercise without replenishing the minerals
- poor absorption
- magnesium and calcium require vitamins A & D to be absorbed and utilised
- not enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach - it takes acid to bring minerals into solution to be easily digested
- excessive stress will deplete the body of minerals and particularly magnesium (well that explains me in a nutshell!)
- lots of carbs, particularly refined carbs, also alcohol and too much coffee
Lordy! Is there anything that I love that I can STILL eat or drink!?!?!? I am sorry but the wine and coffee are staying...
Research appears to support the hypothesis that major depression might stem from magnesium deficiency. A 2006 study published in the journal "Medical Hypotheses" suggests that magnesium deficiency might be one of the leading causes of major depression and other mental health disorders. Another study published in the September 2002 edition of the journal "Frontier Perspectives" showed that nearly 60 per cent of depressed study participants were deficient in magnesium.
So where to get our magnesium from you ask?
In food: dark greens (think spinach, kale), fresh raw almonds, walnuts and other nuts, avocado (yay!), chocolate (double yay! BUT the good, low in sugar, dark stuff, NOT milk chocolate...)
Supplements: not all magnesium supplements are well absorbed so some of the best to go for are magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate or magnesium taurate.
Never use magnesium glutamate, aspartate, oxide, carbonate or hydroxide which will not work as they won't be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
If you go for supplements, follow the instructions on the label but basically you need to work out your own exact dosage if you are eating magnesium rich foods as well. You want to reach the highest dose that does not give you diarrhoea. This is the main symptom of toxicity and diarrhoea also prevents the absorption of minerals and nutrients, so you would need to cut back.
So, give it a go and let me know how you go... this could be the all natural therapy you were looking for! I know for me, while I am still on meds, since taking a combined b complex and magnesium supplement, I am feeling much less tired and I feel like a lot of my symptoms are improving....
Yours in the search of balance,
Mummy in Disguise
PS - sorry the post was late, I need to work on what I want to achieve with my blog and working it in around my work, business and family life! I also need to work on the reality of what I can promise and actually deliver, lol. Again, it is all about the balance.....!!!