From stress and anxiety to sleep quality, muscle function and PMS – and many more in between – magnesium is a superstar micronutrient which supports hundreds of crucial reactions (over 600, in fact) in the body.
Starting with diet
According to professional-grade supplements line Nutri Advanced, to get enough magnesium (375mg) through diet alone, you’d need to eat at least:
- 1 x medium avocado
- 225g organic cooked spinach
- 250g organic cooked black beans
- 100g organic tofu
Every. Single. Day.
Here at team TRB we absolutely aren’t getting anywhere near that intake. So supplementation, for us, to help tackle things like PMS, muscular tension and sleep/energy issues, is a must.
If your magnesium levels are depleted you’ll feel the symptoms, but very few of us can pin them down. On average, our daily intake is below the current government guidelines (read our types of magnesium 101 guide for why this may be), and while full-blown deficiency is rare, low levels can impact whole-body wellness.
1. Stress, anxiety and/or depression
Magnesium is proven to have dynamic mood-improving effects, and may even enhance the effects of conventional antidepressant treatment. Read up on what the studies are showing, and if you’re keen to try it out for yourself, we’d go for MegaMag® Calmeze which features highly absorbable magnesium glycinate with amino acids theanine, taurine and glycine, all in a delicious fruit or chamomile-flavoured powder format.
Plus, you can nab it as part of the Everyday Essentials for Stress Support bundle, which also features a one-a-day multi and fast-acting adaptogenic Resilience blend.
2. Physical/muscular tension
Magnesium is crucial for proper muscle function – you’ll be used to seeing all sorts of products on the market designed to relieve tight or sore muscles post workout, often as a topical spray. But taken orally, magnesium can pack a dynamic punch.
We like the targeted combination of an impressive 240mg (per serving) magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate in MegaMag® Muscleze – these forms have high bioavailability and are well tolerated at higher doses. And when combined with superstar ingredients like malic acid and targeted B vitamins, it can support energy production too. So for a really supportive pre- or post-workout drink (go for orange or cherry), we’re all about MegaMag® Muscleze!
3. PMS & hormonal imbalance
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) hits as an array of symptoms for so many women. One of the most common is period pain – either as acute cramping or dull radiating aches (or combination of both). Magnesium gets to work on the smooth muscle of the uterus to reduce discomfort, as well as having an effect on the prostaglandins in the body, which cause pain.
4. Cardiovascular concerns
There’s lots of really exciting research on magnesium intake (either dietary or through supplementation) and its impact on cardiovascular health. This review is packed with info. To get started with a baseline magnesium supplement for all-round support, our go-to is the glycinate form, for a highly absorbable and well tolerated boost.
Tick it off with the new reduced tablet size Magnesium Glycinate, which delivers 100mg of magnesium per tablet.
5. Poor sleep quality
So far, the vast majority of research looking into magnesium and sleep quality/quantity has been conducted on elderly adults. The results are encouraging, but it’s still unclear whether younger adults would benefit in the same way.
Following the principles of this initial research, however, magnesium may help sleep quality, particularly for people who have poor sleep-wake patterns. If you’re interested in the fascinating science of how magnesium can help to support sleep check out this article here.
For a balance of targeted, dynamic yet gentle support (we can feel the zzzs already), check out the Sleep Support Duo – pairing the magnesium-rich MegaMag® Night Formula with sleep-supporting Ashwagandha 500mg.
Or, we’re keen to try the Sleep Well blend, which combines magnesium glycinate with sleep-supporting ingredients like hops, theanine, tryptophan and lemon balm (which I swear by too for PMS support).
6. Low energy
You may have seen magnesium referred to as the ‘spark of life’, and considering its role in such a huge number of functions within the body, it’s no surprise. On the other hand, as a well-known tool for things like sleep support, recovery and anxiety relief, it can be counterintuitive to think of magnesium as a dynamic energy support. But it very-much is.
By pairing magnesium glycinate with N-Acetyl-Carnitine and malic acid, MegaMag® Energen Plus provides a one-two fatigue punch in easy-to-use powder format, for fast-acting support.
Again, the research is promising for magnesium’s anti-inflammatory value. Multiple studies have demonstrated its effects, and ability to reduce certain inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP).
Supporting your baseline magnesium levels through diet is helpful – go for extra portions of leafy greens and avocado, or indulge in dark chocolate. We like to keep topped up too with an all-round magnesium support supplement, in glycinate form.
8. Dips in sport and muscle function
In normal or optimal muscle function, magnesium works closely with calcium to help regulate muscle contraction and relaxation. While calcium gets our muscles to contract, it’s magnesium which brings things down a notch, helping them to relax immediately after. If magnesium isn’t kept topped up, our muscles can contract too much without relaxing, which may trigger painful cramps and spasms.
Alongside the muscular impact, magnesium also has a star role in optimal energy production and recovery, as we’ve talked about already.
For a high-potency boost to our workout game throughout the day, we’re into MegaMag® Muscleze from Nutri Advanced’s targeted magnesium range. It’s super-absorbable, paired with malic acid and other key ingredients like L-carnitine and B vitamins, and comes as an easy-to-down powder in natural cherry or orange flavour.
9. Headache and migraines
Again, this all comes down to the crucial part magnesium plays in so many of our body’s chemical exchanges and reactions.
This study provides an interesting conclusion on magnesium’s role in migraine support, or for more general guidance check out The Migraine Trust’s supplements advice page. This sets out helpful information on research, supplemental dosage and general considerations.
10. Blood sugar concerns
Magnesium has a key role in helping the body convert glucose (from what we’re eating) into energy. If depleted, this essential exchange is disrupted, which can contribute to blood sugar instability.
Read up here, and again, first stop would be dietary magnesium, which has been suggested to have a protective effect on insulin resistance.
There are a few things going on here, but in simple terms, magnesium is well-known as an ‘osmotic laxative’, meaning it can help relax the bowels, pull water into the intestines and, ideally, help us empty our bowels.
I keep Cal-Mag-Citrate on-hand for just this reason, especially postnatally when constipation can be an issue, and my bowels need some gentle support. It’s one of the few times I’d go for magnesium citrate – in this case, the highly absorbable format paired with its laxative properties is really helpful.
For keeping bowel motility and general chill/balance levels in tip-top working order, without the rush to the loo, for me it’s the MegaMag® Fem Balance Magnesium Powder, every time.
That’s it. 11 really common health issues and bug-bears, and the targeted magnesium supplement support to lean into.
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