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Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D to function in the body and is another common deficiency

While it’s extremely important for your body to get adequate vitamin D which primarily comes from sun exposure, the need for magnesium in order for your body to process vitamin D isn’t known by many. We’ll walk through why you need magnesium and the best food sources and supplement forms.

The coastline of Burleigh Heads in the sunshine
Out for a walk along the lovely coastline of Burleigh Heads getting some sunlight, fresh air and vitamin D

Magnesium is another vital nutrient that shouldn't be forgotten. Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D to function properly in the body and is another common deficiency in Australians. Magnesium’s part in the puzzle with vitamin D is that it ‘activates’ vitamin D, this also helps regulate calcium and phosphate in the body. The levels of phosphate and calcium are tightly managed and regulated between a certain range to influence the growth and maintenance of bones [1]. It is estimated that more than 80% of the population are deficient in magnesium! Magnesium is required as a cofactor in over 300 bodily processes, one of these processes is the synthesis of GABA. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter and is vital in the ‘seesaw’ between excitatory neurotransmitters and inhibitory [2]. Magnesium also play a key role in the utilisation of B group vitamins for energy production.

One of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency are muscle twitches, especially the little twitches you may feel in the corners of your eyes or eyelids. Some other symptoms are depression and lethargy. And symptoms of a more chronic deficiency are irregular heartbeat (which includes both tachycardia and bradycardia), muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and even cardiac arrest [3,4].

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium

"One of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency are muscle twitches, especially the little twitches you may feel in the corners of your eyes or eyelids"

Good sources of magnesium are pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chia seeds, sesame seeds, legumes, salmon, leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.), dark chocolate and many others.

If you choose to supplement magnesium, I’d advise choosing a good quality supplement (usually a bit more expensive, but you get what you pay for right?). The most absorbable supplemental forms are magnesium glycinate (also known as magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium diglycinate) and magnesium chloride. These are the more bioavailable forms, meaning that your body is more easily able to absorb and use these forms compared to other cheaper forms of magnesium.

When choosing to supplement please do so under the advice of a qualified health professional, or even better, get in touch with us and make an appointment.

Dark chocolate is a rich source of magnesium


References

Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018;118(3):181-189. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.037

Wu C, Sun D. GABA receptors in brain development, function, and injury. Metab Brain Dis. 2015;30(2):367-379. doi:10.1007/s11011-014-9560-1

Efstratiadis G, Sarigianni M, Gougourelas I. Hypomagnesemia and cardiovascular system. Hippokratia. 2006;10(4):147-152. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22087052.

Salaminia S, Sayehmiri F, Angha P, Sayehmiri K, Motedayen M. Evaluating the effect of magnesium supplementation and cardiac arrhythmias after acute coronary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2018;18(1):129. doi:10.1186/s12872-018-0857-6

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