What's all the hype about Magnesium and Methylation?
Health World is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of supplements and vitamins to the Australian health care market. They supply common brands like Inner Health Plus along with a range of practitioner only products, like the Metagenics range available at Institute of Sports and Spines.
Health World held a conference last weekend specifically on the topics of Methylation and its impact on our health. Interestingly, on the list of countries that search for Methylation and related topics, Australia is 6th on the list. It is really quite a hot topic. Some of our team attended the conference on the weekend to update their knowledge in this area. Simply put, Methylation is involved in some of the metabolic pathways in the body and irregularities in this process can dramatically affect the health status of the sufferer.
There was loads of interesting information however, there were a couple of major points which evolved which are worthy of more attention. First B group vitamins are extremely important for both groups and secondly, that research is not showing specifically that any one form of Folic acid, folate or its derivatives are specifically more effective for either group.
Interestingly though, more data was presented on the vital role of magnesium in energy cycles and metabolism and health in general.
So why is Magnesium important?
Magnesium is important for muscular aches, pain, spasms and cramping, is involved in the productions of cellular energy and plays an important role in ironically calming our system while also providing energy for activity.
As an ion or electrolyte it is used for improving the absorption of water from our gut and for improving the function of our muscles and nerves.
Magnesium ions Mg2+ influence the equilibrium or balance of many of the cellular reactions throughout our body. By providing a plentiful supply of magnesium in our diets and supplementation we can increase the availability of magnesium ions for these cellular processes increasing the body’s ability to manufacture ATP (one of the basic components for energy production).
Magnesium and the inflammatory response
Experiments in rats have shown that a few days of magnesium ion deficiency induces a clinical inflammatory response. By increasing the availability of Magnesium to the cells decreased the inflammation. Magnesium acts to balance natural calcium concentration buffering the inflammatory reaction. Although it is quite evident that magnesium supplementation has a positive impact on immune stress and reducing inflammatory processes, the exact e-mechanism is still being investigated.
The mental mineral
Magnesium regulates neuron excitability and membrane fluidity. Some supporters argue that it is THE MOST IMPORTANT MICRONUTRIENT in relation to nerve and mental function. Deficiency symptoms of magnesium in the nervous system are relatively non-specific however they have been reported to include a huge range of mental disorders, including loss of concentration, disorientation, abstract thinking and memory failure, headaches, irritability, hyper excitability (mania), hyper emotionality, ‘plum-stone throat’, insomnia, behavioural disturbances, depression, seizures, and psychosis. Many of these disorders are commonly associated with stress and the research suggests that a Magnesium deficiency interferes with the cellular pathways that our body uses to combat stress, resulting in an exaggerated stress response. This buffering or fortifying capacity is at the heart of most of the positive impacts that Magnesium is suggested to have on the body.
So why use a Magnesium supplement?
If you want to improve athletic performance, combat muscle tightness and fatigue, cramps and stiffness, improve cardiovascular health, reduce migraine frequency and severity, increase your mental alertness, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve the quality of your sleep, a high quality Magnesium supplementation may be worth considering. While it may not be a magic elixir, there is certainly substantial research and evidence suggesting a vital role of Magnesium in our bodies and the probability is that a 1 month trial has a far greater likelihood of promoting a positive outcome rather than no response. Allergies and reactions to magnesium supplements are very rare with the only thing to worry about being loose bowels or diarrhoea from too higher dose.
Are all Magnesium supplements the same?
The simple answer is no. The simplest form of Magnesium is Magnesium oxide, it is a large molecule which is poorly absorbed into the gut, at around 9 parts per million. It is also very cheap. Most over the counter Magnesium tablet supplements are oxides. In the middle of the road for absorption are Magnesium sulphates, citrates and carbonates, which absorb at 22-34 parts per million. These are a little more expensive and a little more effective. At the top of the list are Magnesium diglycinates. These absorb at around 80 parts per million. What this means is that for a product which might cost you $40 (as opposed to the $10 magnesium oxide) it absorbs at 8 times the rate, which means that for what you can actually access and use in the body costs you half as much for the better quality supplement.
All of the Magnesium supplements we stock at Institute of Sports and Spines are high quality diglycinate quality Magnesium.
If you are looking at trying Magnesium, talk to us on your next visit for advice on what we have available.