Did you know that an estimated 80% of the UK population is deficient in magnesium? In fact, magnesium is one of the most common nutrition deficiencies in the UK and in athletes this deficiency can be even greater partly due to the fact that it is used in the production of energy. But what does magnesium even do? How do you know if your deficient? I'm here to answer these questions for you (hopefully).
What does magnesium do?
Magnesium is such a key mineral in the body - it is essential for so many bodily functions including muscle contraction, nerve function, bone maintenance/growth, blood pressure regulation and hormone regulation. Because our body uses magnesium so regularly we must make sure we are always replenishing it through our diet. Unfortunately though the majority of us don't get enough of it from food alone which is probably partly due to the fact that we tend to eat a lot of processed foods with little nutritional value.
What are the main deficiency symptoms?
- Muscle cramps
- Poor sleep
- Poor digestion (constipation)
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue (lack of energy)
*It is important to note here that whilst these are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency, experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn't mean you definitely have a magnesium deficiency*
Foods with high magnesium content
- Pumpkin seeds (and sunflower seeds)
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate (woooo)
Do you need a magnesium supplement?
It completely depends on your lifestyle. Personally, I supplement magnesium due to my high energy expenditure from exercise and it makes a huge difference to the recovery of my muscles after the gym. But this doesn't mean you HAVE to supplement it - if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above then perhaps give it a go for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference. You also don't have to take tablets... have a bath with warm (not hot) water and epsom salts - it's the same thing! I actually use a transdermal magnesium spray as opposed to tablets because it absorbs more efficiently into the body but all 3 options are worth giving a go!