Should I take a magnesium supplement?

Magnesium is a vital mineral that is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It plays an important role in maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, regulating heartbeat, supporting a healthy immune system, and building strong bones. Despite its importance, many people don't get enough magnesium in their diet, and this is where magnesium supplements can be useful. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of magnesium supplements, their potential side effects, signs of magnesium deficiency, and when to take magnesium.

Why is magnesium supplement useful?

Magnesium supplements can be helpful for individuals who don't get enough magnesium in their diet. Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. However, many people don't consume enough of these foods, which can lead to magnesium deficiency. Additionally, certain medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors can also deplete magnesium levels in the body.

One of the most well-known benefits of magnesium supplements is their ability to support relaxation and promote a sense of calm. Magnesium is often referred to as the "relaxation mineral" because it plays a key role in regulating the body's stress response. By helping to reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation, magnesium supplements can be helpful for individuals who experience anxiety, stress, or difficulty sleeping.

Magnesium supplements can also support healthy bone density, particularly in older adults. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Other potential benefits of magnesium supplements include:

  • Regulating blood sugar levels
  • Supporting healthy blood pressure
  • Relieving muscle cramps and spasms
  • Reducing migraine headaches
  • Supporting heart health

What are the side effects of taking magnesium supplements?

While magnesium supplements are generally safe, they can cause some side effects in certain individuals. These side effects are typically mild and may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Headaches

It's important to note that taking too higher doses of magnesium supplements can lead to more severe side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. For this reason, it's important to follow dosage guidelines.

What are the signs of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is fairly common, and some individuals may not even be aware that they're deficient. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can vary and may include:

  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Poor memory and concentration

Individuals who are at higher risk for magnesium deficiency include those with gastrointestinal disorders (such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease), individuals with type 2 diabetes, individuals who consume high amounts of alcohol, or people / athletes who stress the body highly and regularly.

When should I take magnesium?

The timing of magnesium supplementation can depend on the individual and their goals. For individuals who experience stress, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping, taking magnesium supplements in the evening can be helpful. This is because magnesium can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

For individuals who experience muscle cramps or spasms, taking magnesium supplements before or after exercise can be beneficial. Magnesium can help to relax muscles and reduce the risk of cramping.

In general, it's best to take magnesium supplements with food to enhance absorption and reduce the risk of digestive upset. The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies based on age, sex, and other factors. Adult men typically need more magnesium than adult women. 

In conclusion, magnesium supplements can be a helpful way to support overall health and wellness, particularly for those who are leading stressful lives, stressing the body physically and mentally, those who struggle sleeping or suffer with anxiety or those who simply don't consume enough through diet alone.

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