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Magnesium: The mineral you might be missing 

Magnesium is an essential yet often overlooked mineral crucial for our health, with many individuals not obtaining sufficient amounts.   

This blog will explore the significance of magnesium, its vital role in maintaining health, strategies to address nutritional insufficiency, and how to increase its intake from food or supplements.

The infinite functions of magnesium  

Magnesium is involved in over 300 bodily processes, and here are just a few examples:  

  • Muscle supporter: It acts as a muscle relaxant, helping to prevent cramps and ensuring smooth muscle function.  

  • Bone builder: It keeps your bones strong and sturdy.   

  • Energy elevator: Need a boost? Magnesium is critical in producing the energy your cells need.  

  • Heart helper: It helps your heartbeat perfectly and maintain healthy blood pressure.  

  • Mood mender: Feeling stressed or anxious? Magnesium is here to calm your nerves and boost your mood.  

  • Sugar stabiliser: It's a hero for your blood sugar levels, crucial for those with diabetes.  


The great magnesium shortage  

The normal blood magnesium level is between 0.75 and 0.95 mmol/L, and when it falls below 0.75 mmol/L, it's called hypomagnesemia.   

Magnesium deficiency can be caused by kidney and gut issues, alcohol abuse, genetic conditions, and some medications. However, the most common reason for low magnesium levels in people from Western countries is not getting enough magnesium from their diet.  


The main culprits? Poor diets, ultra-processed foods, and depleted soils.   


Our soils are losing nutrients due to over-farming, the use of pesticides and fertilisers, and soil erosion, which means our crops aren't as magnesium rich as they used to be. Even if you're eating healthy and organically, you might still be falling short!    

Ultra-processed foods, with their low magnesium content and potential increased loss through urine, are like frequent withdrawals. Over time, if you're withdrawing more than you're depositing, you end up with a deficiency. Similarly, alcohol and beverages high in caffeine can lead to increased magnesium loss through urine.  

Many of us already struggle to get enough magnesium from food, and "the stress of modern life" makes things even worse. Sustaining constant high levels of stress depletes vital resources, with our mineral stores, particularly magnesium, bearing the brunt.  


Magnesium deficiency often goes unrecognised because serum magnesium levels might not accurately reflect the body's total magnesium stores. For example, in chronic deficiency, serum levels can appear in the lowest quartile and may not drop to obvious hypomagnesemia. Functional testing, like checking magnesium levels in red blood cells or using a magnesium loading test, can offer a clearer picture of a person's magnesium status. These tests can reveal 'hidden' deficiencies, ensuring that any insufficiencies are identified.  


The fallout of deficiency  

Low magnesium levels can cause a cascade of problems:  

  • Cranky muscles: Frequent cramps and spasms.  

  • Energy drain: Constant fatigue and weakness but also sleep problems.  

  • Mood swings: Increased risk of depression and anxiety.  

  • Cardiovascular issues: Hypertension and heart issues.  

  • Brittle bones: Higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures.  


Supercharge your diet with magnesium-rich foods.  Here's where you can find your magnesium fix:  

  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.  

  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.  

  • Whole Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat.  

  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas.  

  • Fish: Salmon and mackerel.  

  • Fruits: Bananas, avocados, and figs.  

  • Dark Chocolate: A sweet treat that's also a magnesium boost!  

The supplement solution  

Sometimes, food isn't enough, and supplementing might be very beneficial, but we need to be aware of different things.  

  • Types of supplements: Magnesium oxide, citrate, taurate, and glycinate are some options, each with different absorption rates and functions.  

  • Dosage: Stick to recommended doses and consult a nutritionist or healthcare provider.  

  • Side Effects: Overdoing it can cause tummy troubles, like diarrhoea and cramps.  

Choosing the right form of magnesium depends on individual needs and preferences. For example, someone seeking to improve sleep quality might benefit more from magnesium glycinate, while someone with constipation might prefer magnesium citrate. When selecting a magnesium supplement, it's also worth considering factors such as absorption rate, tolerability, and any specific health concerns.  



Magnesium is a game-changer for your health. Packaging your diet with magnesium-rich foods and considering supplements if needed can keep your body running smoothly. Remember, always check with a nutritional therapist before making big changes to your diet or supplement routine. 

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