The Benefits Of Magnesium & How To Ensure You're Getting Enough
By Melissa Fine, GMB Nutritionist
You may associate magnesium with alleviating muscle cramps, but did you know that it plays a role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body? Here, we cover the basics of magnesium; why exactly do we need it and where do we get it from?
Why do we need magnesium?
Every one of our cells contains magnesium, relying on this mineral in order to work as it should.
Magnesium is needed to support the processes involved in:
- Energy, protein and DNA synthesis
- Nerve and muscle function (scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how magnesium cream can help with the latter),
- Blood sugar regulation
- Heart and bone health (more than half of the magnesium in the body resides in bone)
In light of COVID-19, it’s also worth noting that magnesium may play a role in activating the immune system.
How much magnesium should I be having?
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of magnesium for women aged 19-30 and 31-50 is 310 and 320mg per day respectively; the RDI is higher during pregnancy (ranging from 350-400mg per day, depending on age). For men aged 19-30 and 31-50, the RDI of magnesium is 400 and 420mg per day respectively, according to the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.
However, 41 per cent of adult males and 35 per cent of adult females are not meeting their daily magnesium requirements, according to the most recent findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
What are the best food sources of magnesium?
The good news is that magnesium is ubiquitous in our food supply, particularly in wholefoods like:
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, rocket and Brussels sprouts, to name a few (just half a cup of boiled spinach gives you 78mg of magnesium)
- Legumes (chickpeas, beans, and lentils)
- Nuts and seeds (30g, or a handful of cashews contains a generous 74mg of magnesium; a quarter cup of peanuts provides 64mg)
- Whole or minimally processed grains like brown rice (half a cup, cooked, contains 42mg of magnesium), quinoa, millet, and rolled oats
- Oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna
Numbers courtesy of Health Direct.
Highly processed, low-fibre foods on the other hand, like refined white flours, are typically low in magnesium.
What about non-food sources of magnesium?
We’re glad you asked! Another way to get more magnesium into you is not just via a supplement (speak to your healthcare professional about whether this option is suitable for you), but topically.
Magnesium-enriched moisturisers like Elektra Magnesium support your daily magnesium intake via skincare. More than just a moisturiser, by being massaged into the affected area, a quality magnesium cream can be absorbed via the skin and has the potential to alleviate everything from period pain to stomach cramps, and aching muscles and joints.
A magnesium cream makes for an economical option, too; just over two teaspoons of Elektra Magnesium Cream contains 250-300mg of magnesium, the equivalent amount found in a magnesium supplement.
Seeing that magnesium is essential for protein synthesis, a magnesium-enriched creams also doubles as an anti-ageing moisturiser, helping to promote the formation of collagen – the protein that keeps your skin plumped up and youthful.