Written by Jamie Bantleman
Magnesium is a key nutrient that has a wealth of different benefits and should be used by most people. It is the second most common nutrient which developed countries are deficient in. This is clearing running behind Vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight that we receive. A deficiency in Magnesium can induce high blood pressure and can reduce insulin sensitivity, therefore can also raise the risk of diabetes in the form of Type II.
Magnesium has been found to have a positive effect on reducing the risk of depression, ADHD and other cognitive issues, this is due to it having a calming effect on the body by reducing the level of cortisol exposure in the body.
Cortisol is a stress hormone found in the body, although it is not completely negative it can have some detrimental issues if elevated at the wrong times. Increased cortisol at the right times are upon waking and when we are working out, however, other times in the day we should be looking to reduce cortisol, especially at night when we are trying to sleep. This is when magnesium is ideal, with its calming effects it can help improve quality and longevity of sleep. Although magnesium isn’t a supplement that has been proven to directly reduce body mass, lack of sleep has. Therefore, consuming a supplement which supports sleep quality, may, in turn, aid weight-loss.
When taking Magnesium, you should opt for strands which do not include oxide or chloride. Oxide and chloride have been found to have a negative effect on the bowel, causing diarrhoea and stomach cramps due to a lower absorption rate. Research suggests that dosages between 200mg – 400mg provide a positive outcome, however, if sleep quality is poor it is recommended that you consume magnesium approximately 30-40 minutes before bed.
Magnesium in the body can also aid enzyme function and therefore improve the way you synthesise proteins; in doing this, you can look to utilise the macronutrients consumed much more effectively and can help you recover and build muscle tissue. A by-product of this can be to improve strength and further aid the development of body composition.
Alongside this, it also aids cellular enzyme function which in turn will help improve the way in which calcium and vitamin D work together. This is by improving the absorption of vitamin D which will later enable calcium to work effectively within joints. Therefore, a lack of magnesium means that vitamin D cannot work effectively and therefore calcium cannot take effect on the joints. This further suggests that magnesium also has a major effect on joint and bone health.
I previously mentioned that magnesium can have a great effect on insulin sensitivity. If we are deficient in magnesium we will find that insulin sensitivity is reduced and glucose utilisation is negatively impacted, this will then result in an increase of body fat and a reduction in recovery rate post-workout. Further to this, insulin resistance can lead to a host of health issues including diabetes, hypertension and other heart-related diseases.
Anyone looking to both enhance physical health, performance and mental wellbeing should always look to be taking magnesium on a regular basis.