What is Magnesium and What does it do for us?
Magnesium is a natural mineral that is necessary for the body to function optimally. Essential to many of the chemical processes that occur within the muscular and nervous systems, magnesium contributes to the growth of the bones and the normal functioning of the muscles and heart. The evidence is not conclusive, but many studies have suggested that magnesium may even play a role in mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. While magnesium is naturally available from food sources such as leafy green vegetables, the reduced quality of soil has resulted in lower levels of magnesium. It is common for people nowadays to be deficient in magnesium, requiring supplementation to relieve symptoms and regain optimal health.
Magnesium and Digestion
The digestive system is one of many systems in the body that can benefit from magnesium supplements. Although there are not many medical studies that have focused on the role that magnesium plays in aiding stomach problems, doctors have been recommending it to patients with digestive issues since the 1700’s at least. Common digestion complaints include constipation and dyspepsia; both of which can be alleviated with a little help. Magnesium works as a natural laxative to ease constipation. People who suffer from chronic constipation are often encouraged to drink more water, as hydration loosens the stools. Magnesium works by drawing water into the intestine, making bowel movements easier and relieving constipation.
Dyspepsia is a condition of abdominal discomfort and indigestion, with a range of possible symptoms. Symptoms may include pain in the belly, bloating, heartburn, burping and regurgitation. Most people will occasionally be affected by one or more of these symptoms, but people who have them chronically may have an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, peptic and duodenal ulcers, hiatal hernias, lactose intolerance, GERD, or stomach cancer. Sometimes symptoms are merely caused by swallowing too much air or drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. While treatment will depend on what is causing your dyspepsia, magnesium is frequently used to relieve the symptoms. It does this by working as an antacid, neutralising stomach acid and thereby decreasing the discomfort associated with heartburn, burping and regurgitation. Bloating is lessened by reducing water retention and constipation, and belly pain is improved as the muscles of the intestines relax.
By using magnesium supplements to relieve constipation and the symptoms of dyspepsia, the digestive system will begin to run more smoothly. As the digestive system improves, so does overall body health, and you should feel more energetic and alert. It is important, however, to talk to your doctor or health advisor first to ensure that you are unlikely to develop any side effects. While magnesium is safe and beneficial for most people to consume, those with kidney problems should not take magnesium supplements unless under the guidance of a doctor. It is also essential that you read the supplement label and take the correct dosage, as extremely high levels of the mineral can lead to calcium deficiency and cause toxicity, damaging the central nervous system.