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Has the spark gone out? Magnesium mini-series blog 1

Friday March 1, 2019
Has the spark gone out? Magnesium mini-series blog 1

Magnesium burns brightly once alight and this attribute can be likened to its catalytic effect upon over 300 body functions.  In this small series of blogs we discuss the important role of magnesium in the body, the different types of magnesium available, common misunderstandings, 'clean label' magnesium and the different types of delivery method available.

Implicated in electrolyte balance, hormone production and metabolism, energy production, relaxation of muscles in addition to a regulatory role at the cellular level[1], magnesium is the jack of all trades.  As a result, a low magnesium status has been linked to low mood, poor sleep, fatigue, stress and hormonal imbalance to name a few.

Worryingly, magnesium is not as prevalent in the diet as it used to be[2].  In the rush to expand food production volume and simplify food preparation, attention to nutrient density has been lost. 

Current large scale agricultural methods deplete the soils of nutrients, while such methods rely on chemical fertilisers rather than organic matter for remineralisation; a nutrient shortage is promoted.  Additionally, nutrient depletion occurs in processed and fast food production methods, specifically the removal of hull or germ from grains and high temperature, or in-tin cooking of poor quality foods.  

Considering magnesium’s role in detoxification; certain medication, excessive alcohol or substance use, besides smoking all further add to the depletion of stores.  Yet elements of a healthy lifestyle too can run magnesium stores dry, such as; endurance exercise and sauna.  However, for these activities it can useful to consider electrolyte formulations such as those derived from the pristine salt plains of Utah to replenish mineral stores.

Unsurprisingly therefore, few individuals meet the recommended Dietary Reference Values (DRV) for magnesium intake.  The National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2016 reported that men aged 19-64 on average achieved 98% of the recommended intake, while females of the same age achieved 87%.  Those 65 years and above, on average achieved 88% and 84% respectively for males and females[3].   Remember that the DRV is simply the amount required to offset deficiency symptoms; not provide optimum intake.

The key to optimal magnesium status is the necessity to consume magnesium rich foods daily.  But getting that optimal level can take some experimentation and planning, especially for those where it may be not so straight forward, for example; those with hormone imbalance, fatigue, stress, myalgia conditions or undertaking endurance training.  For these individuals a powder formulation of magnesium may offer greater flexibility in finding a dosage that suits their requirements.


There is a great deal more to consider with this important nutrient: in our next blog we will explore the different types of magnesium.


Author: Jenny Carson is a Nutritional Practitioner and Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is currently studying for MRES in Public Health.


 [1] Brink, E.J., & Beynen, A.C., 1992, Nutrition and magnesium absorption: a review. Prog Food Nutr Sci. 16(2):125-62.

[2] Fan, M.S., et al, 2008, Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 22(4):315-24.

[3] Public Health England, 2016, National Diet and Nutrition Survey Years 5 and 6.  NatCen Social Research, UK. 


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsEnergy, Fatigue


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