Magnesium an essential element for wellbeing

It might be the ninth most abundant element in the universe but magnesium is in short supply in many people's diets. Given its importance to wellbeing, that makes it worth considering a supplement, writes Roisin Armstrong

A magnesium supplement can help with sleep difficulties
Roisin Armstrong

I'M A big fan of magnesium; of all the minerals we need to get into our bodies on a daily basis it has so many useful and beneficial properties. It is believed to be involved in more than 350 daily enzymatic reactions and it's probably the most common mineral that I find to be deficient in clients. The most common symptom of deficiency is restless leg syndrome which affects so many people.

Other common signs of a magnesium deficiency include calcium deficiency; poor heart health; general feeling of weakness; muscle cramps and tremors; frequent nausea; anxiety; high blood pressure; type II diabetes; respiratory issues; dizziness; fatigue; potassium deficiency; difficulty swallowing; poor memory and confusion.

Illnesses which may be linked to low magnesium levels in the body include chronic fatigue syndrome, ADHD, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, migraine and cluster headaches, osteoporosis (magnesium is just as essential as calcium in the production of healthy bones), premenstrual syndrome, chest pain and angina, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, hypertension and asthma. Many of these can be helped by increasing magnesium intake.

It is very likely that you are magnesium deficient if you frequently consume fizzy drinks. Most dark-coloured fizzy's contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking this stuff you are flushing magnesium out of your system.

Refined sugar can also cause the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content entirely. Sweet foods are known by nutritionists as 'anti-nutrients'; they consume nutrients when digested, resulting in a net loss. The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are to be deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.

Some drugs too, such as diuretics, heart or asthma medication, birth control pills or oestrogen replacement therapy, have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion via the kidneys.

There are many different forms of magnesium on the market and it can be confusing as to which one to take. I have always been a dreadful sleeper and have found supplementing with magnesium helps. I like Magnesium OK – a quality, well-priced product which contains vitamin B6 and zinc and is especially good to take if you suffer from any kind of hormonal imbalance. Lambert's have an excellent magnesium citrate called MagAbsorb which seems to be absorbed really well, but for the past couple of weeks I have been taking a new ionised magnesium citrate called Mag365.

This is a powder which you must first mix in hot water. It contains magnesium carbonate and citric acid – the hot water causes a reaction to take place in that it fizzes, the carbonate is driven off and the two ingredients combine, making a liquid ionic magnesium citrate.

Magnesium is a metal that has to be attached to some other element for the body to be able to assimilate it. Most tablets rely on the stomach acid to ionise the mineral, and for many people this can be challenging. The magnesium in Mag365 is sourced from seawater and is slightly acidic, making it easier to absorb. The citric acid comes from European, non-GMO sugar beet.

I can thoroughly recommend this product as both a really useful energiser and a sleeping aid. I have had a very full-on few weeks but had lots of energy to get through it and have been sleeping a lot better.

This powder is great for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets and comes in both a plain or a pleasant passion fruit flavour. There are no anti-caking or other fillers. The optimum dose is 2 teaspoons but it is advisable to start with one and gradually build up as magnesium can have quite a laxative effect.

The amount of magnesium that each person needs tends to vary a lot – the more a person thinks, the more stress they have, the amount of prescription drugs they take and the more alcohol they drink and also the more active they are, the more magnesium they will need. The amount required is also weight dependant.

Food sources of magnesium include pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, soybeans, black beans, spinach, squash, cashews, almonds, pine, Brazil and pecan nuts, mackerel, pollock and turbot, white and kidney beans, chick peas, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, goat's cheese, natural yogurt and avocado.

:: Mag365 is available in most health shops, Bannside Pharmacy, Portglenone, and from


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