What is magnesium?
You can without a doubt say that magnesium is a crucial controller for overall health and wellbeing.
Magnesium is one of the essential mineral nutrients, which means they have to be consumed regularly because our body can´t produce them by itself. A regular intake can help to cope with stress better.
Besides potassium, it´s the second most mineral in our body, amount wise!
Without magnesium, it would not be possible to produce energy. Our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Magnesium has a regulatory role like many vitamins have too. It supports enzymes to function accurately. And that leads to the majority of chemical reactions in the body.
Mineral nutrients are categorized according to the amount required in the human diet.
Macronutrients (>50 mg per kg bodyweight) including: Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Nitrogen (N), Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Sulfur (S)
Micronutrients (trace minerals) (< 50 mg per kg bodyweight) including e.g. Iodine (I), Zinc (Zn), Selenium (Se)
Benefits of magnesium
- involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in our body
- 60% of the magnesium in our body is found in bones
- helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system
- counteracts the clotting action in the blood
- is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles
Even though a lot of foods include magnesium, it is very easy to become deficient in this mineral. One of the most common reasons for a deficiency is fast food and highly processed food. Additionally, a big amount gets lost already in the planting process. Oftentimes farmland is poor of minerals which it could provide a few years ago.
Let´s take a look at our ancestors. Their diet was rich in magnesium from fresh vegetables and organic meat. The food wasn´t contaminated with pesticides like it is oftentimes the case today.
Another reason for a magnesium deficiency can be a diet rich in fat and protein. Those foods are normally low in magnesium and the fat works against a good resorption of the mineral.
Magnesium is a stress killer
Our hectic life is the reason we lose the little magnesium we get with the daily food intake. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, profuse sweating, digestion problems, antibiotics. Several studies prove that people under chronic stress lose large amounts of the mineral in their urine.
This is all further complicated by the fact that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and lost easily lost from our bodies. In order to counteract a magnesium deficiency, we need a lot in our diet. Additionally, we need vitamin D, vitamin B6, and selenium.
When we are stressed, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol. The vital mineral acts as a regulator for stress response.
Magnesium is not only a stress killer it is also beneficial for mood stabilization. Magnesium increases GABA (a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid), which helps with relaxation and sleep. Low GABA levels will prevent you from relaxation.
Magnesium plays a key role in regulating the body´s stress-response system.
Stress results in higher magnesium consumption, that includes negative stress (work) as well as positive stress (sports). Low magnesium levels result in a lower stress resistance. You can only break this vicious circle by spotting the deficiency and increase the magnesium intake.
What does exactly happen, when we are confronted with stress?
- at first, you realize higher blood pressure, the brain gets more supplied with blood, to improve decision making
- blood sugar is also increasing to provide fuel for energy production
- blood gets pumped into your arms and legs
- a proper magnesium level helps the pancreas to produce insulin; insulin then removes glucose from the blood and transports it into the cells
- with a magnesium deficiency, blood sugar levels rise and the cells don´t get any glucose for fuel
- without sufficient magnesium, our nerve cells become more excitable and over-sensitive
As we´ve learned now, an increase in stress brings a higher need for magnesium with it. Blood vessels and muscles can´t relax when this important nutrient is missing. To have a stable level of magnesium make sure to include the following foods regularly in your diet.
Foods high in magnesium
|wheat bran||490 mg|
|cashew nuts||270 mg|
|sunflower seeds||420 mg|
|chia seeds||335 mg|
|soy beans||220 mg|
|sardine in oil||205 mg|
In comparison, blueberries have 2 mg magnesium per 100 mg!
Fruit is in general not an efficient source to help your magnesium level.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is at least 500 mg.