1. Magnesium improves sleep quality
One of the most common signs of magnesium deficiency is poor sleep or insomnia. Magnesium regulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleepiness. Animal studies have found magnesium deficiency increases wakefulness and decreases slow wave sleep (SWS). Slow-wave sleep is the deep restorative sleep that allows our muscles to repair and for our body to produce growth hormones.
Studies have found magnesium supplementation reduces night-time wakefulness, improves subjective sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency and the quantity of sleep. Researchers found magnesium increased serum melatonin (the hormone that induces sleep) & reduced serum cortisol (the hormone that induces wakefulness) levels in the experimental group compared to the placebo group.
Incorporate a warm bath using “Moon Soak” into your bedtime routine. Our “Moon Soak” contains magnesium and other beautiful calming scents such as rose, chamomile and lavender. Add in a relaxing book to read, some nice candles and you’ll be struggling not to fall asleep in the bath! Those who are time poor can choose to use this product in a foot soak.
Add in a relaxing book to read, some nice candles and you’ll be struggling not to fall asleep in the bath! Those who are time poor can choose to use this product in a foot soak.
2. Magnesium and PMS symptoms
Period cramps are incredibly unpleasant to experience and some of us may experience mild cramping which makes wearing jeans uncomfortable whilst others can experience period cramps so severe that they’re unable to get out of bed without popping multiple pain relief tablets. Magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant, meaning that it helps to reduce muscular spasms that cause period cramps. Hence, it’s no surprise that magnesium deficiency is the leading cause of menstrual cramps.
This nutrient has other benefits for both the physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) including reducing fatigue, bloating, swelling and anxiety. I recommend taking vitamin B6 (30-50mg) with magnesium (300mg) as the B vitamin enhances the effects and increases the cellular uptake of magnesium.
3. Magnesium helps bowel movement
Constipation refers to when we have less than 3 bowel movements a week or when we pass dry, hard or lumpy stools. Constipation occurs when our bowel movements move too slowly in our gut and allows our stools to harden. There are multiple reasons why we may feel constipated such as low water intake, lack of dietary fibre, food intolerances, change of environment (anyone else remembers feeling backed up when we used to be able to travel?), IBS and even psychological stress.
Constipation is not only unpleasant to experience, but it also has negative effects on our hormones. When we’re constipated, it allows our metabolised hormones to be recycled into the body instead of excreted. This not only results in excess levels of female hormones in our body, but the recycled form of the hormone is more toxic.
Magnesium relaxes the bowels and has a laxative effect to soften the stools to effectively treat constipation. It also plays a role in the detoxification of excess hormones in the liver and bowels. I recommend taking magnesium taken at night as this will help promote a bowel movement in the morning as soon as you wake up (sans coffee!).
Other holistic tips on staying regular including upping your fibre intake (you can do this easily by adding in a tablespoon or two of Earth seeds into your meals), drinking enough water, using adaptogens to manage stress (find some in our Luna’s Lover) and massaging your abdomen with our Moon Eaze (our blend of pure essential oils).
4. Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels
One of the major symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance refers to when our body isn’t able to effectively respond to the hormone insulin resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Imbalanced blood sugar levels result in fatigue, irregular appetite, inflammation and weight gain. Magnesium deficiency impairs the secretion of insulin and increases insulin resistance and thus ensuring adequate levels is important to manage PCOS symptoms.
Magnesium is one of our favourite nutrients for reducing blood sugar levels and insulin regulation. Our cells require magnesium to absorb, transport and convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy. One study found high dose supplementation (600mg) with magnesium for 30 days improved glycaemic control, inflammation and fasting glucose levels in diabetic patients.
5. Magnesium helps muscle recovery and muscle contraction
When we’re physically active we increase our urinary and sweat losses of magnesium and hence physically active individuals have higher magnesium requirements. Animal studies have shown magnesium increases glucose availability (glucose is what fuels our workouts) into our muscles and helps our body clear out lactic acid which in turn improves our exercise performance and recovery.
Magnesium can benefit both strength and cardiovascular activities. One study found that individuals who were given magnesium supplements had significant improvements in strength gains compared to the individuals who did not. In aerobic exercise, a higher intake of magnesium has been shown to increase our maximal aerobic capacity i.e., allowing us to perform at our most optimal aerobic capacity. Hence, if we want to smash out that F45 class, we should ensure that we have enough magnesium in our diet!
6. Magnesium improves mood and reduces anxiety
Low dietary magnesium intake has been linked to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression and supplementation has shown to decrease symptoms of depression in randomised controlled trials. Low levels could result in imbalanced neurotransmitters and reduced serotonin (“happy hormone”).
Magnesium decreases serum cortisol levels and acts on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to help inhibit feelings of anxiety and regulate the stress response. In a 2008 study, magnesium supplementation has even been shown to be as effective as imipramine (an antidepressant) for newly diagnosed depressed individuals!
Individuals who are stressed have more magnesium requirements as chronic stress results in increased magnesium excretion from the body. Hence, individuals going through exam time, a period of personal stress or if it’s Mercury in retrograde will benefit greatly with magnesium.
7. Magnesium contributes to increased bone density
Magnesium is essential for the absorption and activation of vitamin D in the body and thus plays an important role in maintaining strong bones. Studies have observed a positive correlation between magnesium and bone mineral density in both females and males.
Postmenopausal women who supplemented with magnesium for a month saw a reduced rate of bone turnover markers. High bone turnover markers indicate an increased risk for bone fractures. One of the risk factors for osteoporosis/low bone density is a deficiency in bone supporting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium.
One of my go-to smoothies is made using “Luna’s lover“, a handful of spinach, a few tablespoons of “Earth seeds” and nut milk that’s been fortified with both vitamin D and calcium. It contains some of the best bone supporting nutrients and is a perfect (and delicious!) snack to have during that dreaded 3 pm slump.
8. Magnesium reduces migraines
Migraines are the most common form of headaches and affect around 1 in 10 people. Women are three times more likely to experience migraines compared to men and one of the reasons why is due to the connection between migraines and our female sex hormones. Imbalanced hormones can often cause and contribute to our headaches, and migraines are most often experienced in the week leading up to our periods or during perimenopause and menopause.
Whilst the exact cause of migraines is unknown, it’s likely caused by a multitude of reasons with magnesium deficiency as one of the well-known causes. When we’re deficient in magnesium, our brain blood vessels constrict, our pain sensitivity increases and our tolerance to stress reduces. One study found 600mg of magnesium taken daily has shown to cut the frequency of migraines by 40% in 3 months.
9. Magnesium supports cardiovascular health
Magnesium deficiency has been associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular disorders and events such as hypertension, heart disease, hardened arteries and heart attacks. Low magnesium levels in the blood cause the blood vessels to constrict and spasm, preventing normal blood flow and potentially resulting in cardiac events.
Magnesium relaxes the blood vessels to improve blood flow and vasodilation. It also has antioxidative effects on the blood vessels and protects the vessels from damage by oxidative stress. One 2016 study found daily supplementation of 368mg of magnesium for 3 months reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Another meta-analysis study revealed an additional 100mg of magnesium to reduce the risk of various heart diseases including strokes, heart failure and all-cause mortality. For reference, 100mg of magnesium could look like 1 cup of edamame, 20 cashew nuts or ¾ of a cup of boiled spinach.
10. Magnesium supports brain function
Magnesium is involved in multiple brain processes that support brain plasticity. Brain plasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change and reorganise neural pathways in response to a new experience. This allows us to process new information to learn and memorise new things. Also, magnesium keeps blood vessels in the brain flexible to facilitate energy (fuel) to brain cells.
One study published in 2008 found a positive correlation between magnesium content in hair to academic performance. Individuals who are deficient in magnesium are more likely to present with cognitive deficits, have poor academic performance and are more likely to have neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Other options to increase your body stores of magnesium are to use our Moon Boost spray or soak in Moon Soak in the evening and supplement with magnesium. An effective supplementary dose of magnesium is 250-350mg although this therapeutic dose will vary depending on the type of magnesium used. Furthermore, please refer to your healthcare provider before using any supplement.
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