I've have been talking about the benefits of magnesium for years, after discovering the important role that this mineral plays in our bodies back when I founded Nourished Life. To share with you the science behind magnesium and it's benefits I spoke to Sîan Holderness (pictured above) a nutritionist, to find out more.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the body, that the body can't produce itself. Sian tells me that many Australians are not getting enough of it.
“Current data suggests that up to 80% of our population is deficient in magnesium. Without sufficient magnesium, there are over 300 biochemical reactions that are compromised in our body, the effects of this could be significant,” Sîan explains.
Sîan notes that without enough magnesium, as many as 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies could be compromised. “The main one many people will notice is a lack of energy,” she says.
She continues: “Magnesium is essential for part of the energy production cycle in our bodies. Another important aspect is that of mental health, magnesium deficiency has been links to depressive-like symptoms.”
Sîan says that early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, weakness, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps.
Conversely, Sîan explains that when you increase the magnesium in your diet, you will notice some positive changes such as better sleep, better energy, better mood, less cramping, less fidgeting. "There are so many ways magnesium positively affects our body," she says.
What's the difference between Epsom Salts & Magnesium?
Sian notes that using Magnesium salts in a bath can help relax our muscles, as the magnesium is absorbed through the skin into our blood stream. "If you can take the time to have a bath, it is a great way to relax," she tells me.
It's worth noting that there is a difference between Epsom Salts and Magnesium Flakes. While they look the same, the big difference is that Epsom Salts are Magnesium Sulfate, and Magnesium Flakes are Magnesium Chloride.
Crucially, the molecular structure of Magnesium Chloride is much more easily absorbed into the body than Epsom Salt. So although both are beneficial, you will probably find the effects of Magnesium Chloride more intense.
How to get enough magnesium
So what can you do to ensure you are getting enough magnesium? Sian says that we can increase the magnesium in our diet by eating foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables, bran, brown rice, avocado, banana, and wholemeal bread.
However, she warns that only seven per cent of Australians consume the recommended serves of vegetables.
Is there a danger that you can get too much magnesium? “The upper limit for Australian adults is 350mg – the first sign of having too much would be diarrhoea – if you notice this, just reduce the amount you are having,” Sîan explains.
Can non-alcoholic drinks help to increase magnesium intake?
It’s worth noting that alcohol consumption can deplete the body's absorption of magnesium, which is bad news if you are suffering from a deficiency.
On the other hand, Sîan says that alcohol-free drinks which contain magnesium can play a role in helping to boost magnesium intake. “it makes perfect sense to offer an alcohol-free alternative, that also supplements our bodies with such an essential nutrient.
It seems like an enjoyable way to bridge the gap between what our bodies need and what they actually get,” she adds.
3 Non-alc drinks that contain magnesium
A refreshing and easy-drinking Pale Ale brewed with Australian Hops, it has notes of caramel and a crisp and refreshing finish.
Etch Sparkling Citrus has a crisp zesty citrus flavour that is stimulating and balanced featuring lime, lemon, tropical, apple, herbaceous and grapefruit flavours.
This pure, pale ale uses only malt, yeast, hops and water, with no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.