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Too tired to keep up?

Magnesium plays an important part in your body’s energy levels. 1 Every organ in the body needs magnesium, especially the heart, brain, muscles, and kidneys. 1,2 Therefore, if you feel more tired than usual, or struggle with your athletic performance, you could be deficient in magnesium. 3,4 Magnesium supplementation is used the most to help athletic performance and to overcome feeling tired or weak. 5,6

Less than 1 in 3 South Africans take in enough magnesium every day 7

Why we need magnesium 1-3,6,8

Magnesium is a nutrient the body needs to stay healthy. It plays an active role in supporting and sustaining health and life:

  • Plays an important part in the activity of more than 600 enzymes
  • Regulates muscle and nerve function
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Makes protein and DNA
  • Contributes to the health of your teeth and bones
  • Contributes to energy production and metabolism
  • Regulates levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body

DNA = Deoxyribonucleic acid (wherein your genetic make-up is contained)

What places you at risk? 6,8

  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Celiac disease
    • Enteritis
  • Age
  • Alcoholism
  • Medication
    • Long-term
    • PPI
  • Athletes
  • Diabetes mellitus

PPI = proton pump inhibitor (used to treat acid reflux)

Are you deficient? 1,3,4,6,8

In the short-term getting too little magnesium will not lead to obvious symptoms. Low intake of magnesium over an extended period of time could lead to a deficiency and more serious symptoms. Determining magnesium deficiency is difficult, as nearly all of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bone, muscles, soft tissue and less than 1% can be found in the blood.

Print this article and tick off the symptoms that apply to you. Then take it to your nearest Medicare pharmacy to find out if you are deficient and what Magnesium treatment / supplement will work best for you.
Loss of appetiteYESNO
Nausea and vomitingYESNO
Agitation and anxietyYESNO
Sleep disorders or insomniaYESNO
Low blood pressure (speak to your pharmacist about knowing your numbers)YESNO
Fast breathingYESNO
Muscle cramps and weaknessYESNO
Loss of appetiteYESNO
Cramps / pain in your legs when at rest (restless leg syndrome)YESNO
Personality changesYESNO
Irregular heart beatYESNO

How to get what you need 1,3,4,6,8

If you eat a healthy balanced diet, it is unlikely that you will become deficient, but most people don’t get as much magnesium as they should from their diets. Over all, it is rare to be deficient unless you have a disease or condition that affects your body’s magnesium balance. Food rich in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale and Swiss chard; nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes like beans, chickpeas and lentils. Some cereals and fortified foods also contain magnesium. You can also get magnesium from milk or yogurt. Speak to your Medicare pharmacist for advice on magnesium deficiency and how to treat it. It is always important to check with your healthcare provider before starting any supplementation or making any changes to your diet. Do not give a magnesium supplement to a child without a doctor’s supervision.

As a rule, fibre-rich foods are good sources of magnesium. 8

References: 1. University of Maryland Medical Center. Magnesium. [online] Jun 2015 [cited 2018 Jan 23]. Available from: URL: 2. De Baaij JHF, Hoenderop JGJ, Bindels RJM. Magnesium in man: Implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev 2015;95:1-46. 3. National Institutes of health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers. [online] Feb 2016 [cited 2018 Jan 23]. Available from: URL: 4. Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC. Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise. Mg Res 2006;19(3):180-189. 5. Werbach MR. Nutritional Strategies for Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Altern Med Rev 2000;5(2):93-108. 6. Nica AS, Caramoci A, Vasilescu M Ionescu AM, Paduraru D, Mazilu V. Magnesium supplementation in top athletes – effects and recommendations. Med Sportiva 2015;11(1):2482-2494. 7. Charlton KE, Steyn K, Levitt NS, Zulu JV, Jonathan D, Veldman FJ, Nel JH. Diet and blood pressure in South Africa: intake of foods containing sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in three ethnic groups. Nutrition 2005;21(1):39-50. 8. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Health professional factsheet. [online] Feb 2016 [cited 2018 Jan 23]. Available from: URL:

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