Is this common deficiency affecting you too?
Magnesium deficiency is incredibly common (some studies suggest that up to 80% of the population are not getting enough) for a range of dietary and lifestyle reasons.
If you're low on magnesium you're likely to feel tired but possibly also wired, stressed, tense and unable to relax.
You might be having trouble sleeping, be experiencing headaches, anxiety, depression, muscle cramps and restless legs.
You most likely crave sugar - especially chocolate!
Pre-menstrually, you're likely to experience mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, period pain or possibly heavy bleeding.
Or if you're menopausal, you'll likely be experiencing hot flushes, night sweats and irritability.
So why are we all so low in magnesium?
Stress is one of the biggest culprits- when you're stressed, your body uses more magnesium to help your body combat the effects of stress.
Why the chocolate cravings? Chocolate contains magnesium!
Other good food sources of magnesium are: leafy greens such as spinach, almonds, cashews, peanuts, soy beans/tofu edamame, avocado, black beans, kidney beans, banana, broccoli, potato, oats and brown rice.
Not all forms of magnesium are equal!
Magnesium supplements can effectively replenish magnesium stores during times of increased need but some forms are better than others. I generally recommend you stay away from magnesium oxide which is often found in cheaper magnesium supplements in supermarkets/pharmacies- this form of magnesium is poorly absorbed and draws water in to the bowel, hence it has historically been used as a laxative!
My preferred form of magnesium is a bis-glycinate which tends to be better absorbed without causing digestive aggravation like some forms of magnesium can. Because the magnesium in this form is bound to a calming amino acid called glycine, it has additional calming affects on the nervous system, so is extra beneficial during stress.
Some other things which can increase your need for magnesium
When you eat sugar ( or consume it in drinks or as alcohol), magnesium is required to help your body process it. This increases your need for magnesium. The more sugar in your diet, the more magnesium your body will need to offset the effects of the sugar.
Vitamin D supplementation
In order to absorb and utilise vitamin D you need to have adequate magnesium levels. Sometimes where vitamin D is consistently low despite supplementation, there may also be a magnesium deficiency involved. Supplementing with high doses of vitamin D may also lead to magnesium depletion.
Caffeine Intake -Caffeine intake increases excretion of magnesium.
Sweating such as through exercise, also increases magnesium loss and magnesium is also required to replenish muscle cells post exercise. Regular muscular soreness,muscle fatigue or muscle 'heaviness' following exercise can indicate low magnesium.