Can magnesium help with tiredness?
One of the most vital minerals, magnesium is needed for a number of bodily functions including energy production, nerve transmission and insulin metabolism. Magnesium is also known to impact cellular and tissue integrity, and may even influence sleep.
As magnesium is so in demand, it is important to keep levels topped up to prevent the onset of tiredness and fatigue.
In this article I take a look at this in more detail, by explaining:
- Why magnesium can help with tiredness
- Which is the best magnesium supplement
- How much magnesium should you take?
- When is the best time to take magnesium?
- Other tips for improving magnesium levels.
How can magnesium help with tiredness?
From energy production to muscle function, magnesium is involved in a wide range of bodily processes. This means a deficiency can easily lead to tiredness and fatigue as these processes simply aren't being carried out efficiently.
These are the basics when it comes to explaining why magnesium can lead to low energy, but let's find out a little more about this connection.
Magnesium aids energy production
Magnesium is required for the production and stability of something called the ATP molecule, which provides energy for basic bodily processes. These processes range from making enzymes to processing and transporting nutrients.
Another key role of magnesium is to convert the glucose in food into energy. Therefore, getting enough magnesium can help keep energy levels stable and prevent the onset of tiredness.
Magnesium relaxes the muscles
Magnesium is involved in transmitting nerve signals and it acts as muscle relaxant.
90% of the body's magnesium is also found in the muscles and bones so, if levels get low, magnesium is pulled from these areas.1 This has a noticeable effect, often leading to muscle cramps and twitches. This discomfort is likely to keep you awake at night and may make you tired come morning.2
Keeping up your magnesium intake may prevent such problems from occurring and improves the chances of a good night's sleep. Foods with good levels of magnesium include spinach, kale and avocado.
Magnesium can improve sleep
Getting enough magnesium may promote better sleep by sending nerve signals that help the muscles and brain relax. Interestingly, research shows that this is still happens when people are stressed and sleep becomes particularly difficult to come by.3 So, there is extra reason to get more magnesium when you're stressed!
Evidence also suggests that magnesium can improve symptoms of insomnia such as poor-quality sleep, waking early in the morning and struggling to get to sleep.4
So, by improving sleep quality, magnesium reduces the chances of you feeling tired during the day.
Magnesium helps cells function
The body's processes of detoxification also require energy that is supplied by the ATP molecule. This molecule, as I mentioned, relies on magnesium to function properly.
This means that, without enough magnesium, toxicity will build in cells and reduce their functions. As the human body contains approximately 100 trillion cells, if ours are lacking energy and underperforming, then we will be too.
So, keeping magnesium levels up is sensible when trying to address problems with low energy.
Which magnesium supplement is best for fatigue?
As well as supplements, food and drinks can be a good source of magnesium. Shellfish, nuts and seeds and dark leady green vegetables are all perfect examples of magnesium-rich foods, as are pulses, avocado and cauliflower.
While I always say that getting vital nutrients from fresh food sources is best, a magnesium supplement can help boost levels in the body and improve energy.
When choosing a magnesium supplement, a liquid or powder one is preferable as this is easier for the body to absorb than tablets.
Certain forms of magnesium are also thought to be more readily absorbed than others. Pure magnesium citrate is a better option than magnesium oxide, for example, which isn't very easy for the body to take in. Magnesium gluconate is another favourable option to look out for.
Balance Mineral Drink contains magnesium citrate and carbonate, plus it comes in powder form so it is definitely a good option to consider. As well as magnesium, Balance contains zinc, calcium, vitamin D, potassium and calcium so you can keep other important nutrients topped up as well.
How much magnesium should I take for energy?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 200-400mg. We would recommend that anyone suffering from symptoms of a magnesium deficiency should aim to reach the upper half of this RDA.5
It is important to note that any magnesium supplements must be taken continuously, rather than just every so often, in order for it to have a noticeable effect.
Should I take magnesium in the morning or at night?
Due to the muscle-relaxing effects of magnesium, there has been some suggestion that supplements work better when taken at night as they promote better sleep. Another theory is that magnesium supplements are more effective when taken at night when the body is already doing its repair work.
Unfortunately, however, there is no actual evidence to suggest that either of these theories are correct and that magnesium is more effective when taken at this time. Therefore, when taking a magnesium supplement, it is best just to follow the guidance of whatever product you are using.
How can I raise my magnesium levels?
In addition to eating magnesium-rich foods and topping up with supplements, several other steps can improve magnesium levels.
- Drink less fizzy juice – the chemicals in fizzy juice bind to magnesium and get rid of it.
- Reduce sugar intake - it takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolise 1 molecule of sucrose so sugar uses up magnesium.
- Eat fresh - a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds will top up your magnesium intake.
- Cut down on processed foods – these are less likely to contain important nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, zinc and more.
- Address stress – stress drains stores of magnesium. A gentle remedy such as Stress Relief Daytime could help here, or take a look at our pages on stress treatments for more information.
- Lower caffeine intake – this is a diuretic so drains magnesium.