It is one of the most important minerals in the body and currently seems to be the star among dietary supplements. Videos about the health benefits of magnesium have over 1 billion total views on Tiktok. Many people who post videos like this claim that they have been able to sleep better and have less anxiety since taking magnesium supplements. Géraldine Fankhauser (43), pharmacist and general manager of the Spiez pharmacy at Spiez BE, answers the most important questions on the subject.
Does magnesium help with sleep and anxiety problems?
Yes, a magnesium preparation can help with these problems, says Fankhauser: “As magnesium helps relax the muscles and nervous system, it reduces the level of stress throughout the body.” This means you will be able to fall and stay asleep better and be less anxious. “It is beneficial to take magnesium after dinner so you can take advantage of the relaxing effect at night.” To treat severe anxiety or sleep problems, taking magnesium alone isn’t enough, Fankhauser says.
Anyone who sweats a lot during exercise excretes magnesium and therefore often has higher magnesium needs.
When else does it make sense to take magnesium?
“In life situations where the body needs a higher than average amount of magnesium and food intake is not sufficient,” says Fankhauser. This is the case, for example, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, or if you exercise frequently and lose many minerals through sweating. According to experts, older people also need more magnesium, because they often no longer eat such large portions. “Studies also show that high doses of magnesium can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks due to its positive effect on the nervous system.”
According to Fankhauser, the following magnesium intake is recommended:
- for women: 300 milligrams per day
- for men: 400 milligrams per day
- for pregnant women: 310 milligrams per day
- For breastfeeding women: 390 milligrams per day
The expert states that the fact that men in general need more magnesium than women is due to their greater muscle mass and greater energy consumption. Magnesium preparations in the form of water-soluble effervescent tablets usually have a higher dose than tablets.
Can you take too much magnesium?
“A magnesium overdose is almost impossible, because the body excretes excess magnesium very quickly through urine and feces,” says Fankhauser. For this reason, gastrointestinal discomfort such as diarrhea or flatulence are the most common side effects of excess magnesium. According to experts, people who already have low blood pressure should be careful when taking magnesium supplements. Fankhauser says: “Large amounts can cause dizziness, since magnesium lowers blood pressure.”
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What are the signs of magnesium deficiency?
According to Fankhauser, if the body lacks magnesium, muscle pain and cramps or tension in the neck often occur. Other symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include tiredness, exhaustion, nervousness, sleep disorders or cardiac arrhythmias.
What are the possible causes of magnesium deficiency?
“Magnesium deficiency usually occurs when someone goes on a diet or follows a very one-sided, unhealthy diet,” says Fankhauser. Certain underlying diseases, such as thyroid disease, could also cause the body to not absorb enough magnesium through food. According to experts, high alcohol consumption poses an additional risk of magnesium deficiency, as the mineral is increasingly excreted through the kidneys.
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