Magnesium is a crucial mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions, including metabolising energy from food.

What are its health benefits?

Magnesium is stored in your tissues and plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of your teeth and bones.

Magnesium’s many other benefits include:

  • It helps your muscles relax
  • It keeps your heart healthy and your nervous system tip-top
  • Because magnesium is involved in the production of insulin and the transport of glucose in the bloodstream, it helps control blood sugar levels
  • It may play a role in preventing and managing medical disorders like high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and diabetes
  • It’s used as the main ingredient in many laxatives and antacids
  • It’s used intravenously or as an injection to treat conditions such as eclampsia during pregnancy and for severe asthma attacks

Do you have a deficiency?

The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include the following side effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness and cramps
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Food cravings

Low levels are a potential factor in migraines, obesity and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) too.

Deficiency is most likely in the elderly and those who suffer from:

Poorly-managed diabetes, diuretics prescribed for high blood pressure (hypertension), some chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics can also cause a magnesium deficiency.

Find it in these foods

Magnesium-rich foods includes:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts (hazel, cashew, almond and brazil)
  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Peas, beans and seeds
  • Soy products (tofu and soy flour, for example)
  • Whole grains (like brown rice)

Protein-rich foods such as meat and fish aid the absorption of magnesium, as does calcium, phosphorus and zinc, and the vitamins B1, B6, C and D.

Recommended daily allowance

The average allowance is 300mg per day – that is, the amount you get from both your diet and any additional magnesium supplements. You may need more if you’re pregnant.

To be on the safe side, first discuss supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to determine the correct dosage for you.

Know the overdose risks

Fortunately your body is able to get rid of excessive intakes of magnesium, so side effects are rare. However, side effects from an excess can occur should you be over-supplementing with magnesium as a medication.

Avoid supplements if you have kidney disease, your body won’t excrete excess magnesium then. An overdose might cause diarrhoea, but not much is known about the long-term effects of high doses.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

Shop online at Clicks.co.za for magnesium

Looking for the most reliable and affordable magnesium supplements? Clicks.co.za is here to make stocking up on your magnesium that much easier and convenient for you.

Shop here for your other vitamins and supplements.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015