Sarah Brereton, Nutritional Therapist
Magnesium is a macronutrient and one of the most abundant minerals in the body. Contributing to many different body functions, including normal muscle function and the maintenance of normal bones, it is essential we get enough of it in our diet.
Most of our Magnesium is found in the skeleton, making up about 60%. 25-30% of our Magnesium is found in muscles with the rest found in soft tissue and blood. Long term low intakes of magnesium and general deficiency can alter biochemical pathways and increase the risk of illness and in particular, chronic degenerative diseases. It is estimated that over 50% of the population are Magnesium deficient.
Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and acts to relieve tight, sore, and cramped muscles. It helps control muscle contraction along with calcium and acts as a muscle relaxant. It can therefore be vital in the treatment of back pain and cramps by relaxing back muscles, and help alleviate muscular tension. Magnesium is also one of the main minerals required to make bones, keep them healthy and maintain bone strength along with Calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and Vitamin K.
Let’s take a look at muscle contractions. Calcium and Magnesium are the key players in regulating muscle contractions and relaxations. In your muscles, calcium binds to proteins such as troponin C and myosin. This process changes the shape of the muscle and generates a contraction. Magnesium competes with calcium for these same binding spots to help relax your muscles. If your body does not have enough magnesium to compete with calcium, or you are under intense exercise or physical repetitive work your muscles may contract too much and not relax properly, causing cramps or spasms.
Many people only think about calcium when they think about healthy bones, when in fact, magnesium is crucial too. Calcium and magnesium work together like two peas in a pod! As we get older our ability to absorb these nutrients decreases. Compromised digestive systems and other factors like falling oestrogen for women in perimenopause, drinking alcohol and caffeine can negatively affect magnesium absorption and retention, which can mean we are surviving on skeletal amounts (pardon the pun) in the body.
Due to Magnesium’s multifunctional and vital role I’d suggest taking a good quality clean supplement daily. Capsules are generally better than powders for those with busy active lives as you have the correct dosage ready to go. However, you can also open the capsules and add magnesium into smoothies, juices, and foods if you struggle with capsule form.
Cleanmarine Magnesium is an excellent choice, suitable for everyday use. It contains 100% Pure Magnesium Citrate in vegan capsules. Best in class for purity, value, absorption and convenience.
Available at your local pharmacy and health store.