Marvellous Magnesium

Barry Harpur Principal Osteopath Kinesis Clinic
Barry Harpury
Principal Osteopath
Date Posted
January 17, 2018

Do you ever have difficulty sleeping, even though you feel exhausted? Feel anxious, but you’re not sure why? Have cravings for sugar and salt no matter how much you eat? These could be signs of a deficiency in a specific nutrient: magnesium.

It is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and responsible for over 300 biochemical functions in the human body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions.

Magnesium is found in numerous food sources but modern lifestyles and diets have reduced our intake meaning the majority of people do not get the recommended daily allowance. It’s estimated that around 80% of adults are deficient in this vital mineral.

So what happens if you’re deficient?

In simple terms magnesium is used to relax the body, where calcium is used to contract or excite the body. Therefore too little magnesium can result in negative symptoms, including:

  • Muscle aches / spasms
  • Poor digestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Behavioural disorders and mood swings
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Restless leg syndrome

Other nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium and potassium

So why is it that magnesium deficiency is so common?

There are a few factors at play:

  • Due to modern farming methods soil is magnesium depleted, meaning plants growing on the soil (both vegetables and grass) are unable to uptake magnesium from the soil
  • Digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut
  • High rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilised from food

How can we get more magnesium?

Magnesium is found in various foods and in supplement form. Because magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, you can also use magnesium oil or Epsom salts to get your daily magnesium boost.

It’s always advisable to add magnesium-rich foods to your diet, as foods naturally contain other important balancing nutrients, before considering taking a magnesium supplement.

Which foods contain magnesium?

It’s found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, avocados, bananas, melon, legumes, nuts, seeds and certain whole grains. A good rule of thumb is that if a food contains dietary fibre, it also probably provides magnesium.

The top 12 foods high in magnesium are:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Black Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts

While it’s always recommended you get as much as you can from magnesium-rich food sources, magnesium supplements can help some people and it’s often recommended that adults take supplements regularly to prevent a deficiency.

If you do chose to take a magnesium supplement, it’s worth doing some research as the absorption rate differs depending on the type of supplement. Usually types that dissolve in liquid are better absorbed in the gut that less soluble forms. It’s believed that magnesium in citrate, chelate and chloride forms are absorbed better than magnesium supplements in oxide and magnesium sulfate form.

What are the health benefits of magnesium?

  • Helps Increase Energy

Magnesium is used to create “energy” in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. This means that without enough magnesium, you don’t have the energy you need and can suffer from fatigue more easily.

  • Calms Nerves and Anxiety

Magnesium is vital for GABA function – a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages through the brain and the nervous system, which produces “happy hormones” like serotonin. Certain hormones regulated by magnesium are crucial for calming the brain and promoting relaxation, which is one reason why a magnesium deficiency can lead to sleeplessness or insomnia.

  • Treats Insomnia and Helps You Fall Asleep

Magnesium supplements can help quiet a racing mind and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Helps with Digestion by Relieving Constipation

Magnesium helps relax muscles within the digestive tract, including the intestinal wall, which controls your ability to go to the bathroom. Because magnesium helps neutralise stomach acid and moves stool through the intestines, taking magnesium supplements is a natural way to help improve bowl movement.

  • Relieves Muscle Aches and Spasms

Magnesium has an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions. When you don’t acquire enough magnesium, your muscles can actually go into spasms. Magnesium helps muscles relax and contract and also enables you to move around.

  • Regulates Levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium

Together with other electrolytes, magnesium regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. This makes magnesium vital to nerve impulse conductions, muscle contractions and normal heart rhythms.

  • Important for Heart Health

Magnesium is very important for heart health. The highest amount of magnesium within the whole body is in the heart, specifically within the heart’s left ventricle. Magnesium works with calcium to support proper blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension. Without a proper balance of magnesium to other minerals like calcium, a heart attack can even occur due to severe muscle spasms.

  • Can Prevent Migraine Headaches

Because magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter function and blood circulation, it can help control migraine headache pain by releasing pain-reducing hormones and constriction of the blood vessels that raises blood pressure.

  • Can Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Magnesium is needed for proper bone formation and influences the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts that build healthy bone density.

Magnesium also plays a role in balancing blood concentrations of vitamin D, which is a major regulator of bone homeostasis.

Our bodies lose stores of magnesium every day from normal functions, such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

If you do a lot of exercise, you are more likely to be magnesium deficient, as exercise causes increased magnesium excretion in the urine and sweat. Low levels of magnesium will then impair an athlete’s ability to build and repair muscle, get energy from food and efficiently transport oxygen around the body, all of which is essential to athletic performance.

So all in all, magnesium is really quite important for all of us, and research suggests many of us are not getting the amount we need for optimal health.

Whether you try to increase amount of magnesium rich food in your diet, opt to take a supplement or use Epsom salts to increase your magnesium levels, this marvellous mineral can have a positive effect on your long-term health.

For further advise, talk to one of our Osteopaths at Kinesis Clinic who can direct you to a recommended nutritionist for further information.

Osteopath Reviews

Keeping people active and pain free in Guildford
I came to Zaneta with severe lower back pain and symptoms of sciatica. She was able to quickly diagnose the root cause as weakness stemming from pregnancy and labour. The treatments provided significant relief from the pain and she has been equipping me with functional exercises to improve strength and ensure that it doesn't flare up again. I've been amazed by the results so far, Zaneta has been fantastic.
Hannah E
Hannah E
I cannot recommend the Kinesis Clinic highly enough. Earlier this year I came to Barry on the recommendation of my son for muscle pain in different areas of my body. To date he has worked a miracle and seem to be relatively pain free. Throughout this process I have tried other practitioners and none compare with Barry and his in depth knowledge. One of the most impressive things is the knowledge of his individual patients and the attention he gives you. I must also add that Lucy on reception is a real asset and is always willing to help in any way for the benefit of the clients.
Maureen kulik
Maureen kulik
There's simply no one better than Kinesis. If you're looking for an osteopath, you've found the answer! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Marc Gorman
Marc Gorman
I had been in pain for 7 years and thought that was what life had to be like, and then I found Barry! He worked out immediately what my issue was (a long list of people had failed!!) and in one session reduced my pain significantly. Over 4 sessions he has made significant progress on my hip and shown me what the plan is going forward. Finding Barry literally changed my life and I couldn't be more grateful to him.
Ellie Apperly
Ellie Apperly
I went to see Barry for rehab after fracturing my spine. He’s an excellent Osteopath, taking time to understand the issues, and provide the right treatment and a tailored home exercise program. His YouTube exercise videos are also very helpful to follow. My mobility and strength improved significantly as well as much less discomfort. Thank you Barry!
I had a reoccurring shoulder dislocation injury due to playing various contact sports and after numerous operations my shoulder was weak, the muscles trembled as I tried to strengthen it. After struggling with it for over 10yrs I went to see Zaneta in the clinic. The main problem for me was the trembling and shaking as I tried to exercise and lack of flexibility. Zaneta used some instrument (big stainless-steel spoon in my non-medical world) to breakdown the scar tissue. After a few weeks my shoulder was unrecognisable. I can now exercise without the shaking, meaning I can strengthen it. Interestingly, I now have a greater range of movement than my ‘good’ shoulder.
Richard Leader
Richard Leader
Ms Zaneta helped me a lot, especially when my back was falling apart after pregnancy! Huge thanks!
Ola Dos
Ola Dos
Gareth has provided to me a fantastic and very personal service regarding my shoulder and lower back problems. I would thoroughly recommend him – well done
Peter Craig
Peter Craig
I can't praise Jason highly enough, I've been seeing him for a few months and he's helped me so much, he's much more than my osteo, he's also a counsellor, business coach and all round great listener.Whenever I leave our session I feel better inside and out.
Susan Walsh
Susan Walsh
Unparalleled treatment from Barry and his team. I've sifted through many physiotherapists and osteopaths for disc related problems in the past two years before being saved by Barry; an erudite and scholarly practitioner who draws on his immense, esoteric knowledge and experience to inform sessions. Barry precisely and effectively reads/listens to my body; no session is the same and I'm always in awe of the variety of techniques he uses to diagnose and pinpoint areas of concern. His methods are subtle yet sublime: he often releases and manipulates muscle/tissue/joints from a number of points in my body where a link to the referred pain perhaps appears tenuous for a layperson like myself...I've been redirected from possible surgical intervention to non surgical treatment and management where I finally feel more stable and strong. Gareth and Jason have also played a significant part in treating me over the year and I honestly couldn't recommend them enough!
Cannot rate Barry and the clinic higher, I have met everyone there and they are all professional but very friendly. They have been great at fitting me in, supporting me and making me feel like a valued customer. Have recommended to a number of friends that have had the same experience.
Lisa Collins
Lisa Collins
I am so grateful to the whole team at Kinesis Clinic for all of the treatment I have had with them over the past 2.5 years following an accident. For the past year, Barry has helped me to heal my neck, and the dizziness associated with the injury. I feel that he really cares about his patients' recovery, and has so much wisdom to share. He has helped me to see how my mind and emotions also play a role in recovering, and this has prompted me to change patterns in my life that were worsening my symptoms. His approach to treatment has been gentle, but very effective. I can't recommend Kinesis Clinic enough. Thank you :)
Megan McInnes
Megan McInnes
The team is very welcoming and supportive with all your needs. I see them every 2 weeks just get my body sorted out to help with any niggle that come up. I would definitely recommend kinesis Clinic and there team to help you with any problems your having. Weather is sports related or your haven’t any past injuries this the team to help you.
omololu abiodun
omololu abiodun
Jason is a professional, friendly and brilliantly talented osteopath. I started treatment at the clinic for upper back/shoulder pain and migraines a few years ago and I have experienced a significant improvement in pain levels/migraines since then. Initially I had regular appointments but now I just book when needed. I get immediate relief with each session, and the positive effects often last for weeks afterwards. Out of all the treatments I have tried, Jason’s osteopathy practice at Kinesis Clinic is by far the most effective. I am so glad I found the clinic and I would now not go anywhere else. Highly recommend.
Kate M
Kate M
Gareth at the Kinesis Clinic is an amazing Osteopath. He has helped me to provide effective solutions for over 2 years with different muscular and neural issues I have had as an elite athlete. He is extremely knowledgeable in his field and can expertly used different treatments such as manual and laser therapy for rehabilitation. He always adapts his approach and provides personal home programmes to follow which greatly help too. I would definitely recommend him for anyone who wants to use the Kinesis clinic for the first time.

Let's treat your pain today

Barry Harpur

Principal Osteopath

Taking the first steps to becoming pain free is a commitment that we respect.

My team and I are here to reassure you that you will be treated with respect, care and honesty.

Please book your appointment and we’ll be ready to help you become pain free, move and feel great again.