The eighth most abundant element on the plant, magnesium has a role in numerous bodily functions. Energy levels, muscle contractions and the transport of nutrients are all underpinned by good magnesium levels. What role does it have to play on our circulation, though? Let's find out!
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @ActiveLouise Ask Louise
29 May 2020
Is magnesium good for circulation?
There are three particular areas relating to circulation that good magnesium intake can influence. These are:
Colds hands and feet
As well as taking a look at how magnesium influences these circulatory issues, this blog will offer a few tips for increasing your magnesium intake and getting the most out of a supplement!
Cold hands and feet
We know magnesium deficiency contributes to circulatory problems like cold hands and feet, as well as Raynaud's syndrome. This affects circulation to the extremities and is characterised by pain, numbness, tingling and difficulty moving the area. It can also cause the skin to turn white in colour and the area to experience extreme pain as circulation returns.
Low magnesium contributes to muscle cramp and tension which, in turn, causes the diameter of the arteries (which deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to body tissues) to reduce in size. With less room to manoeuvre, blood circulation becomes sluggish and, therefore, contributes to cold hands and feet.
If you suffer from this kind of problem, it isn't just magnesium that could prove helpful. Take a look at my blog 'The best supplements for cold hands and feet' for more information on nutrients to support your circulation.
Tip! Our magnesium reserves fall whilst we are digesting refined sugar. It takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolise 1 molecule of sucrose; and 56 molecules for 1 molecule of fructose. So, you’ll have to limit your sugar intake at the same time as upping your magnesium load to really reap the benefits of this mineral.
Headaches are perhaps one of the more surprising symptoms of low magnesium. When we lack magnesium, it can cause contractions in the arterial walls. When blood vessels in the head and neck are constricted in this way, headaches and migraines can result.
Research has emphasised this link between headaches and low magnesium and has suggested the mineral could have a role in the treatment of such problems.1, 2 A review conducted in 2012 by the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology also stated that in some cases, we could prevent headaches and migraines by keeping up a sufficient intake of magnesium. As a result of it being safe to consume and lacking in side effects, magnesium was also said to be a better option than many existing medications used for the prevention and treatment of headaches.3
Magnesium is important for heart health for a whole host of reasons.
Studies have indicated, for example, that increased levels of magnesium can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.4
This may be linked to the fact that magnesium could have a positive effect on blood pressure. A meta-analysis studied data from 22 separate trials and found that magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.5
Studies have also shown that magnesium could be beneficial in the treatment of arrhythmia.6 This is a condition causing abnormalities in the heart's rhythm.
The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood from inside the heart to the heart muscle. These arteries contain smooth muscle and so require magnesium to help them dilate.
Top sources of magnesium
It is possible to get a good amount of magnesium through your diet. It is found in lots of foods, though the key is to choose fresh options as much as possible. The more processed a food item is, the less likely it is to hold crucial nutrients like magnesium.
So, what are the best magnesium-rich foods?
Nuts and seeds
Vegetables: cauliflower, green leafy veg, avocado
Wholegrains (the less processed the better)
Advice for the cook… Cooking can deplete the magnesium levels in veg, so it’s best to keep food crunchy, or to use the water veg was cooked in for sauces etc.
My self-care tip: Top up your magnesium stores after exercise
Find out why our levels of important nutrients may decline during and after exercise, plus learn a few tips for keeping your nutrient intake up.
Should I take magnesium supplements?
Some people may wish to try a supplement to help increase their magnesium levels. Magnesium can be depleted by stress, fizzy drinks, caffeine, dehydration, stress, sweat, alcohol and calcium, so we can see why a top-up may be necessary!
There are different kinds of magnesium supplements available. Magnesium glycinate is a good option as it is well absorbed and bioavailable. This makes it ideal for those needing to correct a deficiency. It doesn't cause laxative effects and is considered 'GI friendly'.
Another option is magnesium citrate, which is magnesium combined with citric acid. This too is well absorbed and can be found in our Balance Mineral Drink.