The Magnesium Factor

Has anyone noticed how ridiculously big the vitamin/supplement section of the pharmacy is these days? There is literally a pill for just about everything; women’s multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, vitamin c, CoQ10, garlic, Echinacea… I could be here all day!

I personally have never been much of a vitamin taker… However last week, following the advice of several I began taking a magnesium supplement.

Magnesium is known by users as the great relaxer and taken most effectively before bed each night. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have noticed any miraculous benefits YET but what I will tell you is that I haven’t slept this well in a very long time.

So what is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral essential to the efficient function of every single cell in the human body. About half of our body’s magnesium stores are found inside tissues and organs and the other half found in bone. Naturally it can be sourced from fresh produce particularly green vegetables such as spinach, nuts, seeds and whole unprocessed grains are also a good source of this vital little mineral.

These days bad eating habits, fad diets, and busy schedules are all contributing factors to the majority of us being deficient in certain vitamins and minerals including magnesium. Furthermore endurance athletes or people who perform high intensity training on a daily basis can deplete their magnesium stores rapidly leading to decreased exercise capacity and poor post exercise recovery.

Some obvious signs that you may be lacking in magnesium include muscle cramping, facial twitches and poor sleep.

Why Magnesium?

  • Magnesium is a required element for normal muscle contraction and relaxation… low magnesium levels are associated with increased incidence of muscle cramps and local muscle twitching.
  • It is necessary for the production of the body’s major energy source ATP: being deficient can lead to feeling fatigued and low on energy.
  • Healthy Bones? Magnesium is required to convert our Vitamin D stores to their active forms so they can assist with calcium absorption for healthy strong bones.
  • Magnesium is necessary for nerve transmission and ensuring balance within the nervous system.
  • One for the ladies… this little mineral has actually been found to help relieve symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)… which we all need a little help with every now and then.
  • Magnesium can assist with reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

And this is just the beginning… The health benefits of magnesium are so far reaching that a lack of it will be felt in multiple body systems.

I’m not advocating that everyone runs to the store today to buy magnesium, but for our health and longevity magnesium is an essential part of our diet.  No serious athlete or trainer can afford to overlook the benefits that magnesium brings to athletic performance and the recovery process, it could be the difference between winning and losing.

If you want more information about whether you would benefit from taking magnesium talk to your GP or pharmacist.

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