Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are you mindful of magnesium?


Vitamin D, omega 3’s are the nutrients du jour but these usurped calcium and Vitamin E. You know how it goes and many of you have the old supplement bottles demonstrating these shifts. Few things bug me more than the nutrition pendulum and often the pendulum completely misses the food, vitamin or mineral I feel we should focus on (clearly I don’t write the headlines). In this case, I’m wondering why we’re not mindful of magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral present in food and the body. Magnesium is required for muscle contraction (a reminder the heart is a muscle), nerve function and magnesium plays a role in blood pressure and bone health. So it’s important. The key issue though is that under mental or physical stress cells release magnesium and it is excreted, bye bye precious magnesium. If stress is chronic or extreme you may be deficient in magnesium.

 Low magnesium can affect GI function ("going"), exercise recovery and PMS-related mood changes. In one study, after a month of magnesium supplementation participants were found to have decreased PMS and improved mood as shown via their  “Menstrual Distress Questionnaire scores”. Oh my goodness, my family would give me such poor menstrual distress scores. Magnesium is also required for metabolic reactions such as the metabolism of carbs and fats to produce energy. Magnesium is  important for athletes as low magnesium levels result in higher heart rates during exertion. 

Most people don’t consume enough magnesium. Once again, seeds are significant pumpkin, hemp (pictured above) and sesame top the list. Spinach, cacao and lentils and black beans are also good. I also love a powdered magnesium supplement called Natural Calm I take at bedtime.

         
Unfortunately, testing to see if magnesium is low isn’t all that helpful. A low percentage of magnesium is found in blood. I think the better bet is to put magnesium-rich foods front and center (1 seed a day) during your day and consider a modest amount of supplementation. That is if your bones, blood pressure, mood or bowel function matters to you.
Is magnesium on your radar? Do you supplement magnesium? If so why did you start taking it? Any “menstrual distress”? 

15 comments:

  1. Yes- I am mindful of my magnesium! Thx for the reminder about this very important nutrient, that many people are likely deficient in. I've taken it to help with migraines, as well as muscle aches and pains, especially when my fibromyalgia was bad. Love natural vitality too b/ c many of the magnesium pills are too big. I like your advice- add more magnesium foods first, then consider additional supplementation!

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  2. Ooh I omitted migraine mention (that's what you get for writing a post morning of) but important to add. Didn't know you had fibromyalgia EA.

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  3. Oooh definitely want to look into the Natural Calm supplement! Especially with finals coming up- my stress level gets out of control

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  4. make sure to "calm" when done studying it makes me very nappy.

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  5. Natural Calm sounds good. Thank you for sharing this, Lauren .

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  6. Andrea@WellnessNotesNovember 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    To be honest, I hadn't thought much about magnesium. I do eat a lot of hemp seeds, spinach, black beans, and lentils. But I may give Natural Calm a try.

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  7. I have not thought a whole lot about magnesium, but based on what you have said I'm not sure I have to worry so much - I eat a lot of spinach and black beans, and I do take a multivitamin that contains magnesium. But, that doesn't mean I can't make an effort to bump up my use of sesame seeds a little bit. I get migraines and I have read that magnesium can help with them. Sesame crusted tuna will go on the menu next week!

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  8. Jess @ Keeping It Real FoodNovember 21, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I don't take a magnesium supplement, but I do try to pay attention to getting enough magnesium-rich foods. It's been on my radar since I developed an eye-twitch the week before a friend's wedding a few years ago—turned out to just be stress, but it was a good reminder to get enough of some of the foods you mentioned. Also, love Natural Calm. I haven't bought it in a while, but it really does help!

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  9. hate that eye twitch, lots of those stress-induced pains can be improved with magnesium.

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  10. sesame crusted tuna should go on the menu for more reasons than magnesium :) We do a salmon with black sesame seeds that you're making me think of.

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  11. it's good stuff, I think of magnesium based on athletes/pms sufferers who see great improvement with it.

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  12. of course Ayala, although you don't strike me as a "stressy type" as my acu calls me.

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  13. did I have you at PMS ha ha

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  14. I skip nights too Pearl, I find with any supplement just keep it out on the counter, it's the best reminder (though not as neat looking)

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  15. How much magnesium do you take, Lauren? I take 250 mg every other day. I am definitely mindful of how important it is, but am not sure I really NEED the extra...thanks for the post, I learned a few things!

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