Beauty may only be skin deep, but with the European Union recently authorising a list of the associated health benefits of taking magnesium, it seems this mineral is both beautiful inside and out. While traditional Chinese medicine considers magnesium “the mineral of beauty”, the US Office of Dietary Supplements says magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, with around 50 per cent being found in our bones. This explains the importance often associated between magnesium and bone density. What we don’t read too much about are the other 300 or more biochemical reactions occurring in the body for which magnesium is an essential ingredient. Unfortunately, due to poor dietary habits, pharmaceutical drug use and nutrient-depleted soils, many of us are dangerously deficient in this essential mineral. And given the role magnesium plays in the proper functioning of nearly all the systems of the body, this has serious health consequences. The health benefits of magnesium include a reduction in fatigue, balanced electrolytes essential for hydration, boosted muscle and nervous system functioning, good protein synthesis and maintenance of healthy teeth and strong bones.
Magnesium has also been found to be helpful in the reduction of high blood pressure and ensures a healthy heart, according to a 2006 study published in the journal Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Magnesium is also associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.
The best food sources include seaweeds, raw cacao, pumpkin seeds and almond butter. Sesame seeds and tahini, avocados and other leafy greens are rich in magnesium, too. For supplementation, magnesium chloride has a much better record for absorption than the more common magnesium oxide. If you would like to boost your levels even more, you could also consider taking your magnesium in your bath. Research suggests that bypassing the digestive tract leads to more efficient absorption of magnesium, so soaking in a bath with magnesium oil or flakes is an option.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to www.beutifulyou.co.uk
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