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Wellbeing: Five telltale signs you might not be getting enough magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral on which more than 300 processes in the human body depend

From keeping teeth and bones strong, to balancing hormones and supporting a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, magnesium keeps your body ticking over. Here are some signs you could be lacking it:

Muscle cramps

Magnesium is an important tool for muscle relaxation, so when your body is depleted of it, your muscles can involuntarily contract. Twitches, tremors and cramps are all signs that you're not getting enough. If you're experiencing muscle contractions more often than usual, ask your doctor whether you might need your magnesium levels tested.

Chocolate cravings

If you're constantly hankering for a chocolate fix, it might not just be down to your sweet tooth. When our bodies crave foods, it's often because they're telling us that we're lacking in a certain nutrient, and dark chocolate is a brilliant source of magnesium; just one square contains about 24 per cent of your daily requirement. Skip the sugar-laden milk chocolate and opt for a bar that's contains at least 65 per cent cocoa – the darker the chocolate, the better the magnesium benefits.

Headaches

Studies have shown that low brain magnesium levels could be related to migraine attacks, as magnesium is needed for proper nerve function. If you regularly suffer from migraine-like headaches, it could be a good idea to invest in a daily magnesium supplement – but speak to your doctor first.

Trouble sleeping

Even a small lack of magnesium can prevent you from nodding off at night, because it plays an important role in your central nervous system. Magnesium can help to relax our muscles, while also stimulating a neurotransmitter in our bodies called GABA, which has a naturally calming effect on the brain. Try soaking in a magnesium-rich bath of Epsom salts to reap the full relaxation benefits.

Anxiety

A study in France of 264 patients with generalised anxiety disorder found that a statistically significant number of men and women reported improvements in their symptoms on a magnesium regimen. While magnesium won't cure your anxiety overnight, making sure you get enough will ensure that the 300 processes it affects are running correctly.

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