Tired? Not sleeping well? Looking for more energy?

Posted by Eleonor Marshall on 31 January 2015

Tired? Not sleeping well? Looking for more energy?

It’s very easy to grab quick and convenient foods when busy, stressed or low on energy. However it’s even easier to overlook simple ways to improve your health, training and recovery thus pepping up your energy levels.

Magnesium is a critical mineral responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues, but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.

See below for more reasons to increase your leafy green vegetables with your meat and rice at lunch or add to your morning smoothie. Even try throwing some nuts and seeds into your salads or stir fry in the evening.

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Magnesium’s role

Bone strength:
Although vitamin D and calcium play the biggest roll in maintaining bone integrity, researchers have found that even a mild ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to a significant amount of bone loss.

Enables energy production: Magnesium helps the body process and utilize carbohydrates better. As such, low magnesium status would be expected to have wide-ranging adverse effects on blood sugar control.

Nervous System: Magnesium plays a key role in the activity of our brain cell messages. Studies have shown that when magnesium in our diet is low, we have increased risk of depression due to these brain cell messengers.

Muscular: Magnesium plays a vital role in the functioning of muscles, especially in contraction and relaxation. One of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency is muscle spasms, tremors, cramps and weakness. Magnesium also plays a role in protein metabolism. Because protein is essential for the development of muscles, a lack of magnesium can also affect muscle growth. Many people find taking a magnesium supplement in the evening can assist with muscular relaxation and therefore improved sleep. Poor sleep quality has been shown to affect weight loss, energy levels, concentration and recovery, just to name a few.

Inflammation control: A diet low in magnesium has been linked to unwanted increases in the inflammatory process. While some amount of inflammation is necessary to support normal immune function and tissue repair after injury, chronic and low-grade inflammation has increasingly been tied to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Why are people deficient? Many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium, a highly-processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium). When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans?

Much of modern life conspires to help us lose what little magnesium we do in our diet. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in fizzy drink, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites.

This is all further complicated by the fact that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and easily lost from our bodies. To properly absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium to get the job done.

Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium

• Limit coffee, fizzy drink, salt, sugar, and alcohol

• Learn how to practice active relaxation

• Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium)

 Eat Foods High in Magnesium

Include the following in your diet as often as you can:

• Kelp, spinach, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cashews, buckwheat, quinoa, brazil nuts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, lima beans, kidney beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, and garlic.

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 You can take Magnesium Supplements

  • Some may need much more depending on their condition.
  • Most people benefit from 400mg day.
  • The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate.
  • Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements).
  • Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate.
  • Best taken before bed.
  • Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.
  • Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium.
  • People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor's supervision.