by Thrive Wellness Naturopath and Nutritionist Lawrence Tredrea.
Magnesium (Mg) has a crucial role in many processes in the human body, needed for over 600 enzyme reactions.
Optimal Mg requirement from the daily diet is considered to be 320 mg/day for women and
420 mg/day for men, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Higher
requirements may be needed in other circumstances such as during pregnancy, exercise, alcohol and coffee consumption, diabetes, stress and other health ailments. Unfortunately, as most Mg comes from leafy green veggies, it is estimated that approximately 1/2- 2/3 of the western population is deficient in Mg. Glyphosate, a pesticide frequently used in the agriculture of crops, may chelate minerals including Mg and therefore may diminish the levls of Mg naturally found in food sources. Organic food, from pesticide free soils, was shown to have significantly higher Mg content than non-organic control food.
Through many steps, our body turns the carbohydrates, proteins and fat that we eat into energy. One key feature of magnesium is that it supports the production of ATP, which provides energy for all cells in the body. Additionally, it helps with DNA synthesis, which supports the growth cycle of the cells, as well as support normal muscle contractions and may be useful for decreasing symptoms of muscle cramps. Therefore those who do regular exercise may find Mg useful in their workout regime.
Mg may help in the aging process as it has been shown to decrease CRP, free radical damage, increase glutathione antioxidant defences, protects the DNA from damage, decreases the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, support cognitive health and support proper immune functions.
In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 60 female students with moderate or severe dysmenorrhea, 150-300mg of Mg was found to significantly reduce symptoms of dysmenorrhea such as cramps, headache, back pain, foot pain, depression, irritability and abdominal pain. Meta-analysis’ also shows evidence for the use of Mg for the treatment of migraines which is a condition more common in the female population.
Many mental health issues have been associated with Mg deficiency such as anxiety and depression. Many enzymes involved in the stress response and responsible for producing feel good neurotransmitters are Mg dependant. . A study of 60 patients with depression and lab-confirmed hypomagnesaemia showed that supplementation of 250mg of Mg significantly improved symptoms compared to the control group.
For those living in Hong Kong, insomnia and stress are common with an estimated 2 million people in Hong Kong suffering from insomnia. Mg helps to modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, as well as inhibiting glutamatergic receptors which overall helps prevent feelings of stress and anxiety. The use of Mg may be improved also with B vitamins such as B6.
Barbagallo M, et al. 2021, ‘Magnesium in Aging, Health and Diseases’, MDPI
Yaralizadeh M, et al. 2021, ‘Effectiveness of Magnesium on Menstrual Symptoms Among Dysmenorrheal College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial’, IJWHR
Kirland A, et al. 2018, ‘The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders’, MDPI
Wong, W & Fielding R, 2011, ‘Prevalence of insomnia among Chinese adults in Hong Kong: a population-based study’, J Sleep Res.