Paula Norris, the moving Dietitian, weighs on whether you should add a magnesium supplement to your daily line-up. With a booming supplement industry in Australia, and just about every known nutrient available in a bottle, deciding when to turn to a supplement can be overwhelming. Unsurprisingly, many of us try magnesium supplements, because along with Vitamin D and iron it is one of the more common micronutrient deficiencies. When you are magnesium deficient, your blood pressure can rise, and you can become insulin resistant.
Increased insulin resistance means our bodies are not as good at controlling blood sugar levels and are lay down fat stores more readily. Magnesium supplements are also often recommended to athletes (or just hard trainers!), because of the link between magnesium depletion and muscle cramps. But a magnesium supplement is not necessarily the best way to avoid the cramp-induced awkward walk. Why? Well, even though magnesium depletion is linked to muscle cramps, not much magnesium is actually lost in exercise. So the best thing to do is to make sure you're consuming enough magnesium, so you're not at risk of deficiency in the first place. Like many lifestyle quandaries, prevention is key.
There are also compounds in whole foods, many of which I'm sure we don't even know about yet, that help to absorb magnesium, which is a natural benefit you won't get from supplements. The good news is that, if you're keeping a balanced diet, you're probably consuming magnesium rich-foods already. These include leafy green vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, soy milk, dairy milk, yogurt, whole grains and avocado. So, regarding the supps? Usually these should not be required if you're including a variety of whole foods in your diet, they may be recommended by your doctor or dietitian if deficiency is present until you can get your diet right. As always, if you're concerned, speak to your health care professional.