Vitamin D, omega 3’s are the nutrients du jour but these usurped calcium and Vitamin E. You know how it goes and many of you have the old supplement bottles demonstrating these shifts. Few things bug me more than the nutrition pendulum and often the pendulum completely misses the food, vitamin or mineral I feel we should focus on (clearly I don’t write the headlines). In this case, I’m wondering why we’re not mindful of magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral present in food and the body. Magnesium is required for muscle contraction (a reminder the heart is a muscle), nerve function and magnesium plays a role in blood pressure and bone health. So it’s important. The key issue though is that under mental or physical stress cells release magnesium and it is excreted, bye bye precious magnesium. If stress is chronic or extreme you may be deficient in magnesium.
 Low magnesium can affect GI function (“going”), exercise recovery and PMS-related mood changes. In one study, after a month of magnesium supplementation participants were found to have decreased PMS and improved mood as shown via their  “Menstrual Distress Questionnaire scores”. Oh my goodness, my family would give me such poor menstrual distress scores. Magnesium is also required for metabolic reactions such as the metabolism of carbs and fats to produce energy. Magnesium is  important for athletes as low magnesium levels result in higher heart rates during exertion. 
Most people don’t consume enough magnesium. Once again, seeds are significant pumpkin, hemp (pictured above) and sesame top the list. Spinach, cacao and lentils and black beans are also good. I also love a powdered magnesium supplement called Natural Calm I take at bedtime.
         
Unfortunately, testing to see if magnesium is low isn’t all that helpful. A low percentage of magnesium is found in blood. I think the better bet is to put magnesium-rich foods front and center (1 seed a day) during your day and consider a modest amount of supplementation. That is if your bones, blood pressure, mood or bowel function matters to you.
Is magnesium on your radar? Do you supplement magnesium? If so why did you start taking it? Any “menstrual distress”? 

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