Supplementing with Magnesium

Absorption of Magnesium – what to consider when choosing a supplement.

Magnesium is absorbed along the entire small intestine. It comes in many forms and some are more easily absorbed by the body than others.

Because Magnesium levels can be adversely affected by many conditions care must be taken to keep levels up to the body to avoid deficiencies which can lead to serious and chronic diseases. Supplementation can ensure that there is enough Magnesium in your system to keep your body running in top condition at all times.

Deficiency of Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for correct bone mineralisation and maintenance. Not enough Magnesium can lead to risks of osteoporosis. Deficiency levels can be common in specific groups within a population although the symptoms may be demonstrated in different ways by different individuals.

Among older people particularly, deficiencies of Magnesium are common; not only because processed foods contain low levels of the mineral, but because certain medications deplete Magnesium.

Hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach which is necessary for absorption, typically decreases with age. Although some of this lack can be attributed to aging or the presence of other medical conditions, such as diabetes, much of it can be shown to be related to inadequate diet due to the consumption of processed foods.

Depletion of Magnesium is common due to diets dependant on commercially processed foods, which contain very little of this vital mineral.

Magnesium levels are also affected by intense physical activity, certain diseases and medications which interfere with normal bodily processes such as anti-biotics and some medications for diabetes management.

If you consume hefty amounts of alcohol, caffeine drinks (including the ubiquitous Coke Cola) excess fat and protein foods (ie Macca’s) your levels of magnesium are at risk and your intake must be increased.

Excess sweating, insomnia or stress of any kind including surgery will impact negatively on Magnesium levels. Also, you need to take extra Magnesium when you on medications such as anti-biotics, hormone replacement therapy, diuretics, or birth control pills.

Magnesium is essential in all these circumstances firstly to replace the magnesium that has been lost and secondly to repair the damage caused by these situations.

You will need to supplement with Magnesium if:

  • you drink alcohol
  • take diuretics and similar medications
  • use antibiotics
  • smoke
  • have diabetes or blood sugar problems
  • kidney problems
  • use Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • use birth control pill
  • have mercury dental fillings
  • are involved in strong physical activity
  • you sweat
  • you work outside or in heated environments
  • you consume fatty foods
  • you soft drinks
  • you are an athlete
  • you play sport
  • you are osteoporotic or have bone density loss
  • you have any type of muscle aches or pains

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency can include:

  • cramps
  • heart spasms
  • nervousness
  • muscular excitability
  • formation of kidney stones
  • tremours
  • muscle spasm
  • tetany
  • angina
  • irregular heart beat
  • nausea
  • myoclonic jerks, restless leg syndrome
  • convulsions
  • oedema

Magnesium is important for other Mineral absorption

Often a Magnesium deficiency becomes evident when a person is taking vitamin supplements but does not feel any better.

Magnesium is so vital to the absorption and regulation of other important vitamins and minerals that simply adding it to existing supplement regimes can show a marked improvement.

A deficiency of Magnesium can affect the absorption and performance of other vital minerals and vitamins.

Symptoms which suggest a lack of Calcium may actually be due to an underlying lack of Magnesium which is preventing the successful uptake of Calcium.