It is one of the most important minerals in the body and currently seems to be the protagonist among dietary supplements. Videos about the health benefits of magnesium have over a billion total views on Tiktok. Many people who post videos like this say that they have been able to sleep better and have less anxiety since taking magnesium supplements. Géraldine Fankhauser (43), pharmacist and director of the Spiez Pharmacy in Spiez BE, answers the most important questions on the topic.
Does magnesium help with sleep problems and anxiety?
Yes, a magnesium preparation can help with these problems, says Fankhauser: “Since magnesium helps to relax the muscles and nervous system, the stress level throughout the body is reduced.” This means you can fall and stay asleep better and are less anxious. “It’s helpful to take magnesium after dinner, so you can take advantage of the relaxing effect during the night.” To treat severe anxiety or sleep problems, taking magnesium alone isn’t enough, says Fankhauser.
Those who sweat a lot during exercise excrete magnesium and therefore often have an increased need for magnesium.
In what other cases does it make sense to take magnesium?
“In life situations where the body needs a higher-than-average amount of magnesium and dietary 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, even elderly people 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
According to the expert, the fact that men generally need more magnesium than women is due to their greater muscle mass and higher energy consumption. Magnesium preparations in the form of water-soluble effervescent tablets usually have a higher dosage than tablets.
Can you take too much magnesium?
“An overdose of magnesium is hardly possible because the body excretes excess magnesium very quickly through urine and feces,” says Fankhauser. This is why gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea or flatulence are the most common side effects of excess magnesium. According to experts, people who already suffer from low blood pressure should be careful when taking magnesium supplements. Fankhauser says, “High amounts can cause dizziness, as magnesium lowers blood pressure.”
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What are the signs of a magnesium deficiency?
According to Fankhauser, if the body lacks magnesium, muscle pain and cramps or tension in the neck often occur. Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include tiredness, exhaustion, nervousness, sleep disturbances or cardiac arrhythmias.
What are the possible causes of magnesium deficiency?
“A magnesium deficiency often occurs when someone diets or follows a very one-sided, unhealthy diet,” says Fankhauser. Some underlying diseases, such as thyroid disease, might also lead to the body not absorbing enough magnesium through food. According to experts, high alcohol consumption constitutes an additional risk of magnesium deficiency, as the mineral is increasingly excreted through the kidneys.
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