2013
12.30

Magnesium

Could magnesium be the answer to your sleep problems? Read more to find out.

What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal. It is the 9th most abundant element in the known universe and the 11th most abundant by mass in the human body. From plants to animals, every living cell requires magnesium to function. Magnesium is an absolutely essential part of a healthy diet and every organ in our body need and uses it, however, only about 43% of us get the RDA (recommended daily allowance).

Can taking magnesium help with my sleep issues?
While magnesium is essential for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body, it is most commonly used as an effective natural laxative and also as an antacid for heartburn. There are a host of illnesses magnesium is thought to help with. Since magnesium helps calm nerves and relax muscles it is often used as an effective natural sleep aid. Aging, certain medication use, as well as alcohol abuse are major risk factors of magnesium deficiency. Research is showing that even a small magnesium deficiency may disrupt sleep. According to a study done in March 2012, written in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, a group of elderly patients experiencing insomnia were giving 500mg of magnesium or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The study concluded that magnesium supplements improved sleep time, sleep efficiency, and early morning awakening according not only to the patient’s questionnaires, but also in measurable blood serum levels of known sleep hormones. Click here to read the full study.

What kind of magnesium should I take?
Ideally all of our essential minerals and vitamins would come from the food we eat. While you should try to eat foods high in magnesium, it is often hard to get the proper amounts with food alone. With several different types of magnesium supplements available, it is hard to know which one to choose to help in getting a better nights sleep. According to most research, magnesium citrate is one of the most bio-available magnesium supplements available. Most people have found good results taking magnesium citrate powder before bed. As with any supplement it is a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before taking magnesium, especially if you are pregnant/nursing, taking other medications and/or have health concerns or medical conditions.

How much should I take? Can I take too much magnesium?
The recommended daily value changes according to gender and age. Here is a chart from the National Institute of Health on magnesium.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Magnesium

Age
Men
Women
Pregnant
Lactation
Age 14-18410mg360mg400mg360mg
Age 19-30 400mg310mg350mg310mg
Age 31-50420mg320mg360mg320mg
Age 51+420mg320mg

When obtained through food, your body will automatically excrete any excess magnesium. The occurrence of overdose is higher when taking very large quantities or in individuals with certain kidney diseases, diabetes, intestinal diseases, or heart diseases that do not allow the body to naturally remove excess magnesium. As always, you should check with your healthcare provider before starting supplements. Common side effects of too much magnesium are nausea and diarrhea, but it can also cause low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and fatigue.

 

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