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:
- An irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Food cravings
Deficiency is most likely in the elderly and those who suffer from:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Kidney disease and other gastric disorders
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)
- Peas, beans and seeds
- Soy products (tofu and soy flour, for example)
- Whole grains (like brown rice)
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.