What it does…magnesium
What is it?
An essential mineral, magnesium is needed by every organ in the body. It’s involved in processes from protein building and energy production, to muscle function and regulating blood pressure and blood sugar. Serious deficiency is rare but the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed the average woman falls 15 per cent short of the official target of 270mg per day.
What does it do?
Improves heart health: Scientists from Harvard Medical School in the USA tracked 14,000 people. Those with the highest levels of magnesium had a 38 per cent reduced risk of dying suddenly of heart disease.
Reduces risk of diabetes: An American study of over 127,000 people found those with the highest magnesium intake had a 34 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake.
Increases bone mineral density: In an Israeli study, postmenopausal osteoporotic patients given magnesium daily had increased bone density after a year.
Boosts mood: Low brain levels of magnesium are linked with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates mood.
Prevents migraines: Magnesium helps control blood flow in the brain and studies suggest optimum levels could reduce the frequency of migraines.
When do I need it?
All through your life.
How do I get it?
Eat: Good sources include beans, nuts (especially almonds and cashews), wholegrains, dairy products and green leafy veg. You can also get it from tap water if you live in a hard water area.
Take: Supplements are available as tablets, caplets or sprays. The most easily absorbed forms are magnesium citrate, aspartate, lactate and chloride.
Be careful if….
Consult your GP if you’re taking drugs for osteoporosis or a heart condition as magnesium can affect absorption.