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Magnesium - why should we supplement?

Nutritionist Sharon Strahan became the first person to complete all 20 modules on the Pharma Nord CPD Supplement Training Course. In a guest blog, she writes about the importance of Magnesium to good health.

Nutritionist Sharon StrahanMany people say to me “I want to get all my nutrition from food and not take tablets” or they may ask me if supplements are necessary.  And I answer not all supplements are necessary in all cases, but for some people it really helps to make up for past deficiencies and move them forward towards achieving better health faster.

If I had to pick one nutrient where supplementation has really made a difference and need is so widespread, I’d say magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral which, in the human body, is a co-factor for over 600 enzymes and an activator for a further 200 more.

Enzymes are some of the chemical substances which keep the numerous chemical reactions, pathways and cycles in our bodies moving.  Magnesium deficiency can have implications on such wide-ranging areas as mood, energy, muscle function, bone and tooth health, sleep and relaxation, heart function, blood pressure, immunity, blood sugar control, protein and fatty acid synthesis – to name a few!

The food we eat these days has shown a marked decline in many critical nutrients between 1940 and 2002, including an average drop of 19% for magnesium.

Typically, if a nutritionist or dietitian wanted a client to eat more magnesium-rich foods, they might advise more leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Add to that, the fact that your usual standard Western diet fare is primarily starch and sugar and animal fat and protein.  It is precisely because many people do NOT eat enough of the good foods they need for adequate magnesium and other nutrients that they come to see a nutritionist in the first place.

And as I write this post, I’ve just had a quick check on about half a dozen organic acid test results from past clients.  (Organic acids are compounds in the urine that are produced during daily metabolism).

Every single one showed a need for more magnesium, even when all the other nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants and other minerals showed a wider variation from client to client.

One case where I saw a really dramatic improvement was with a client who had frequent migraines, UTIs, low energy, and IBS. She worked in a stressful job and the migraines especially were interfering with her work and life.

We worked on diet of course – reducing sugar and introducing more whole foods and leafy green vegetables.  An organic acids test was also done. In addition to supplementing magnesium, we also added a probiotic, and a B-complex.

After a couple of months, migraine frequency had gone from 3-4 per week to 1 a month.  Additionally, UTIs stopped, IBS calmed down considerably and energy improved. The reduction in migraines was so dramatic – and made such an impact on her quality of life.

References

1 De Baaij, J.H., Hoenderop, J.G. and Bindels, R.J., 2015. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological reviews, 95(1), pp.1-46.
2 Thomas, D. (2007) ‘The Mineral Depletion of Foods Available to US as A Nation (1940–2002) – A Review of the 6th Edition of McCance and Widdowson’, Nutrition and Health, 19(1–2), pp. 21–55. doi: 10.1177/026010600701900205.
3 Genova Diagnostics - Metabolic Analysis Profile (Organic Acids) https://www.gdx.net/product/metabolic-analysis-test-organic-acids-urine  Accessed: 30 November 2019

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