One of the reasons we don’t talk much about supplements is that it’s too easy to think you are “on it”, just by purchasing and taking a supplement. It creates a false sense of progress.
It’s easy to go on Amazon and buy some fish oil. Whereas monitoring and adjusting calories and macros takes time, effort, knowledge, commitment, discipline and diligence.
And guess which is responsible for 99.9% of results…(it ain’t fish oil!).
That said, if you approach it with the right mindset, there are some decent supplements that can help you along the way.
Let’s take a look at one of them – magnesium.
Magnesium deficiencies are common in the western diet because grains are poor sources of magnesium. Other prominent sources of magnesium, like nuts and leafy vegetables, are not eaten as often. It is possible to fix a magnesium deficiency through dietary changes.
Benefits of magnesium
- Has been found to help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery
- Relaxes your nerves and muscles
- Builds and strengthen bones, working with Calcium and other essential minerals
- Keeps your blood circulating smoothly
- Plays a role in prevention of osteoporosis
Types of magnesium
There are two basic categories of Magnesium, Oxides and Chelates, within each of these categories there are several branches so just think of it this way, Magnesium’s ending in “ide” and “ate.”
Oxides are cheaper to buy but far more difficult for the body to break down and can cause stomach discomfort and act more as a laxative as that is how unused Magnesium is passed.
Chelates are a more bioavailable form and the preferred Magnesium for supplementation. Look for “magnesium citrate” or “magnesium chelate”.
How much do I need?
The amount of magnesium you need is: • 300mg a day for men (19-64 years) • 270mg a day for women (19-64 years)
You should be able to get all the magnesium you need from your daily diet.
If you take magnesium supplements, don’t take too much as this could be harmful.
What happens if I have too much?
Toxicity of Magnesium from food sources is not a health risk but too much Magnesium from artificial sources, like supplements, can be a problem and may lead to diarrhoea and stomach cramping. Make sure you stay within the upper limits of the RDA.
Having 400mg or less a day of magnesium from supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.
What happens if I don’t get enough?
If you are deficient in Mg, you may experience symptoms of decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps may occur.
Deficiency is normally caused by people not eating enough Magnesium containing foods, that is a diet high in processed, man-made foods because minerals are destroyed during processing. People with digestive problems and gut inflammation will have lower body Mg because they aren’t able to absorb as much.
Can you get magnesium naturally from foods?
Natural food sources of magnesium include:
- Green, leafy vegetables, like spinach
- Beans, peas, and soybeans
- Whole-grain cereals
Eating whole foods is always best. Magnesium can be lost during refinement and processing.
When to take
Magnesium is typically non-stimulatory. If deficient, high acute doses of supplemental magnesium can be slightly sedative. So before bed is best.