Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of an important mineral that:

  • Contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • Contributes to electrolyte balance (electrolytes help regulate heart beat amongst other things)
  • Contributes to normal muscle function
  • Contributes to normal protein synthesis (our body cells use this process for important cell functions such as cell communication, structural support, and protections from harmful viruses/bacteria)
  • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
  • Contributes to normal psychological function
  • Has a role in the process of cell division (important for tissue growth and maintenance)

But many of us do not eat sufficient dark green leafy vegetables (like kale, rocket, dandelion greens, spinach), dried bean and nuts/seeds to provide enough of this important mineral to meet our body’s requirements.

What is this mineral?    

Magnesium—which is an essential cofactor in the function of at least 300 different enzymes in the human body involved in energy production, protein synthesis (needed for skin repair for example), maintenance of normal blood glucose, bone development, muscle and nerve function, normal blood pressure and normal heart rhythm. 

Many adults have low intake of magnesium: deficiencies may increase risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  And numerous health conditions associate with low magnesium status including menstrual cramps/PMS, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraine.

 The body’s requirement for magnesium increases four to six-fold when the body is under stress—physical and/or mental stress.  The electrolyte-balancing effects make magnesium useful for athletes who may lose this vital mineral via sweat and it may help to reduce the stress response to intensive exercise.

Inflammatory intestinal diseases (like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and IBS) can hinder magnesium absorption, meaning even if you are eating enough, it may not be usable by the body. And older people are often less able to absorb magnesium and excrete it more easily which means, even if they are eating enough, there may not be enough for the body’s need.

Dietary magnesium may be low due to food choices (particularly problematic are any processed food), method of cooking, depletion of magnesium in soils, and poor absorption/increased excretion.  Generally, a low percentage (possibly only 20-30%) of ingested magnesium is absorbed from the diet.

Alcohol is a magnesium diuretic—meaning it can cause a marked increase in magnesium excretion. If there is an increase in magnesium excretion from the body, there is less magnesium available for the body cells to use.  Caffeine and smoking also cause increased magnesium excretion. 

In addition, some pharmaceutical medications (for example, antacids, antibiotics, antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, proton pump inhibitors, HRT, corticosteroids, diuretics and many others) can reduce magnesium levels.

In addition to ensuring magnesium-rich foods in the diet, magnesium can also be supplemented. Absorption of supplemental magnesium depends on the form of magnesium. Magnesium malate, magnesium citrate and magnesium bisglycinate all have good absorption.  

Discuss magnesium forms with your practitioner to determine which one best suits your needs.  In the meantime, a nibble of dark chocolate will also provide some magnesium..... :-)

You can also check Rio Health Magnesium Products!