Fall is often a blur of back-to school, back-to work demands, myriad chores, endless lists and countless responsibilities... and let's face it, stress is usually at a premium! So busy are we at this time of year, it's easy to lose track of our healthy habits and resort to pre-packaged, pre-prepared foods, to save on time. Unfortunately, relying on fast food, while seemingly innocuous in the short term, can pose very real risks to health should it become routine. In fact, most pre-packaged, fast foods are incredibly nutritionally-poor, and do not supply your body with all of the essential vitamins, minerals and building blocks it needs to function and flourish. Further, relying on this kind of food too often, does nothing to help you deal with stress and more importantly, can lead to various nutritional deficiencies - one of the most common of which is magnesium deficiency.
The Facts on Magnesium
Most people today have heard of magnesium and many take it daily, either as part of their multivitamin/mineral formulation, or in isolated form. But I would hazard that the majority of people are not entirely clear on what magnesium truly is and what its benefits to health include. To begin at the beginning, magnesium is an essential mineral, and like all minerals, it is a solid inorganic substance of natural occurrence. Magnesium is also the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, with 50% of it being concentrated in bone, 25% in muscle and another 24% in various other tissues and organs. The remaining 1% is found in blood. Of vital importance to health, magnesium regulates over 300 biochemical reactions in the body through its role as enzymatic co-factor. Further, magnesium is involved in the body’s chemical reactions that generate and use ATP, which is responsible for transporting chemical energy within our cells for metabolic function. Oh, yes, and let's not forget... magnesium is of primordial importance to help the body handle stress.
Therapeutic Uses for Magnesium
In supplement form, some of the most common indications for magnesium are as a muscle relaxant to help alleviate spasms and cramps, as a supportive for mood-related conditions in periods of high stress, anxiety, depression, PMS, mood swings and chronic fatigue, as a heart health tonic, and as part of a therapeutic approach to the treatment of migraines, insomnia and osteoporosis. Some of the symptoms that can cue you into a potential magnesium deficiency include muscle twitches, spasms, anxiety, depression, constipation, high blood pressure, angina, blood sugar abnormalities, lack of energy and sleep difficulties. Talk to a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner if you feel you may benefit from magnesium supplementation.
Which Form of Magnesium is Best?
Like other minerals, in its natural form magnesium is unusable by the body. In fact, because minerals are inorganic elements, they must first be converted to an organic compound in order to be absorbable. This process is known as chelation and it occurs naturally as physiological part of the digestive process: when an inorganic mineral presents itself, a chemical process gets under way, chemically bonding the inorganic molecule to an organic one. This process and the end product is called a chelate. From here, the mineral becomes recognizable on a cellular level, as an organic compound, and becomes usable by the body. Unfortunately many things can affect the efficiency of the body’s natural chelation process. As a consequence, many forms of magnesium that are found on store shelves, often wind up being flushed out of the body without ever having been absorbed in the first place. Fortunately, science and patented technology have found a way around this by providing an organic molecule in a very stable form; one that is highly bioavailable and also easily absorbed. This ideal form of Magnesium is called a Magnesium Bisglycinate, and is your very best guarantee of superior biological activity, bioavailability and absorption.
A Few Final Tips for Selecting your Magnesium
Magnesium supplements are increasingly popular, so it isn't surprising that the choices are so varied: high potency, low potency, tablet form, caplet form, this flavor or that flavor... How do you choose? Honestly, a lot depends on personal preference. As far as I'm concerned however, I feel that the liquid form is really the ideal choice because it's convenient, readily absorbable and most importantly, because it has a far reduced risk of causing loose stools. Last but certainly not least, you'll want to choose a magnesium that is manufactured by a respected, reliable and quality source.
With magnesium on your side, you're finally ready to face the many stressful demands on the season, head on!