Magnesium. A Naturopath’s Favourite Mineral.
Magnesium is one of the minerals I prescribe most often in my naturopathic practice because it is so important for a wide variety of functions in the body. While we tend to most commonly think of magnesium as boosting calcium absorption, this mighty mineral does much more than that. Here are some of the amazing uses for magnesium:
- Supports energy and mood – magnesium is a cofactor for many enzyme reactions in the body that regulate the production of various agents including: ATP – the body’s energy units;and Serotonin – an important mood stabilizing neurotransmitter.As a result, low magnesium contributes to fatigue and depression.
- Regulates stress hormones – insufficient magnesium worsens anxiety and panic attacks as result of elevated glutamate, an excitatory molecule.
- Regulates bowel movements – low magnesium levels lead to constipation and often restoring levels can normalize bowel function.
- Prevent blood clots – magnesium helps to thin the blood much like blood thinning medication without the side effects.
- Improves asthma – magnesium decreases bronchial spasms in the lungs and as a result can improve breathing.
- Regulates blood pressure – magnesium prevents blood vessel spasms which helps to regulate overall blood pressure.
- Muscle tension and other musculoskeletal conditions – magnesium is an important nutrient for muscle relaxation. Low levels are associated with increased muscle tension and trigger point formation leading to back pain, neck pain etc. In addition, muscle cramping is a sign of low magnesium in the body.
- Decreases menstrual cramping – magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant and as a result is very useful in decreasing uterine spasm that cause pelvic pain in women during menstruation.
- Improves insomnia – magnesium is required for serotonin production which in turn makes melatonin which regulates sleep.
There are many other functions for magnesium including regulating insulin, supporting heart function, improving osteoporosis and preventing tooth decay.
Magnesium can be found in a few select foods including nuts, seeds, eggs, dark green vegetables, kelp, legumes, bananas and fish.However, the recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 350mg per day, but this is just enough to prevent deficiency. To address the above health conditions, higher dosing is often required.Also, there are a number of different forms of magnesium, but your Naturopath can prescribe the correct type and dose of magnesium for your needs.
You can book your appointment with Naturopath Dr. Tara Andresen at one of her Toronto clinics by visiting our appointments page.