The body not only needs vitamins to function properly, minerals are also crucial. Magnesium is the second most common mineral in the body and participates in hundreds of processes. Did you know that 20% is in the muscles and that a shortage can lead not only to muscle cramps? Curious to find out more about this particular powerhouse? Then be sure to read on.
Functions of magnesium
Magnesium has more than one specific function in the body. Let’s list the most important ones:
- Bovendien helpt magnesium bij vermoeidheid. It is a necessary mineral for the absorption and production of energy in our body. Magnesium also helps with tiredness.
- Calcium and magnesium are antagonists of each other, which means that what one does overturns the other, for example: calcium tightens muscles and magnesium provides relaxation, magnesium calms nerve cells while calcium activates them. Together they provide healthy bones, calcium for strength and magnesium for flexibility so that the risk of fractures decreases. They are a very important cobination.
- Magnesium is good for electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are minerals that carry a positive or negative electrical charge. They are crucial for certain processes in the body.
- Although magnesium is often associated with bones and muscles, it also plays an important role in supporting psychological functions.
So you see, magnesium is not only a physical but also a mental powerhouse.
Magnesium in food
Minerals cannot be produced by the body itself so nutritional intake is necessary. Almost all foods contain magnesium, but there is a big difference in quantity. The main sources of this mineral are: cocoa, bitter chocolate, nuts, bananas, shellfish, shrimps, soy beans, green vegetables and wholemeal products.
Some tasty and healthy tips for meals that are a source of magnesium:
- Add young leaf spinach and nuts to your salad.
- Experiment with homemade guacamole
- Homemade granola with bitter chocolate
- Go green with a green smoothie based on banana, spinach and almond milk
A magnesium supplement can be a good supplement when you don’t get enough of it through your diet. Choose a supplement with a unit dose between 100 -250 mg magnesium so that you can easily adjust the intake to your own needs and also in a safe way so that you remain well below the upper limit of this mineral. You can also always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Risk of shortage?
The recommended daily intake for magnesium is 375 mg. However, due to the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, the amount of minerals in the soil has decreased. As a result, our vegetables and grains contain less magnesium than before. This in combination with the current diet and the cooking of food that is also lost, has as a result that there is a risk of a shortage.
In addition to reduced dietary magnesium absorption, there are other causes that can contribute to a shortage such as stress, vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D is necessary for magnesium absorption), certain medicines such as antacids, intensive exercise, menopause and high consumption of soft drinks, sugars and coffee.
Because magnesium is involved in various processes in the body, a shortage can lead to both physical and psychological complaints. Examples are: restlessness, headaches, migraines, stress, reduced energy, stiff muscles and muscle cramps.
So many forms of magnesium, but which ones are the best?
Magnesium can be available in different forms in food supplements: oxide, chloride, citrate, malate, … The best absorbable forms are the organic forms including citrate, bisglycinate, lactate, glycerophosphate and malate.
Does your body need extra? Then go for a supplement with only organic forms such as magnesium bisglycinate, -citrate, -glycerophosphate and -malate. Inorganic forms such as magnesium oxide are barely absorbed by the body.