TikTok can't get enough of magnesium – here's what you need to know about it
In the world of TikTok, trends are plentiful to the point of complete overwhelm. One craze is in vogue, another appears within seconds to dethrone it.
This is especially true when it comes to health trends on the app. And right now, TikTok is buzzing about magnesium.
The hashtag #magnesium has over 438 million views, and clips of users praising the mineral are being uploaded round the clock.
You’ll find people who swear by magnesium supplements, whether they come in the form of sprays or pills.
But as we know, many individuals on TikTok who talk openly about health are not certified experts. So, it’s crucial that you do your research before embarking on any new health focused activity.
People are claiming magnesium aids sleep and eases anxiety, but what actually is it and can it really help?
What even is Magnesium?
‘Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and plays an essential role in numerous biochemical processes,’ Dr Donald Grant from online pharmacy The Independent Pharmacy, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It’s involved in a whole host of functions — from supporting healthy nerve and muscle function to regulating blood pressure, strengthening your bones, and maintaining the rhythm of your heart.
‘However, magnesium isn’t produced by any part of your body. It must be obtained through your diet or supplementation. Luckily, it’s found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, and most cheap multivitamin formulations contain it, too.’
While somewhat low magnesium levels typically won’t leave you with any noticeable symptoms, chronically low levels can increase the risk of developing ‘high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis’, Dr Grant adds — hence why some look for solutions.
Went from 5 hours of sleep to 9 💤#magnesiumglycinate #endometriosis #ttcwithendometriosis #hormonebalance
But do magnesium products work?
Dr Grant says that while there isn’t any solid scientific research to back claims that magnesium helps sleep and anxiety, there is some anecdotal evidence, with many patients reporting positive results.
‘There’s currently no conclusive evidence that taking magnesium supplements provides any benefits for those who already have sufficient magnesium levels,’ he explains.
‘Nevertheless, anecdotally, many patients do report that magnesium improves their sleep quality, reduces anxiety and depression, and relieves muscle cramps and tension. Just note that these claims are not reflected by scientific data.
‘However, some studies indicate that magnesium has a laxative effect when taken in higher doses, making it useful for the relief of constipation. I always recommend you consult a pharmacist or doctor before taking magnesium supplements.’
Nowadays, magnesium supplements come in all sorts of forms, from sprays and gels to lotions, skin creams, and even bath salts. Dr Grant says they all serve the same purpose.
‘Visit any supplements aisle, and you’ll find magnesium in various forms,’ he explains. ‘Magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium sulfate are just a few types you’re likely to come across.
‘No matter which variety you take, they all serve the same purpose. The differences lie in their chemical structures, which affect how quickly they’re absorbed into your body.
‘For example, magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are more easily absorbed by the body, while others, such as magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate, release slowly and are less readily available for absorption from the gut. As such they are more likely to cause loose stools as a side effect.’
Dr Grant states that if you have a healthy balanced diet, there is no need to take extra magnesium. Yet, if you do wish to add the supplement to your lifestyle, he has some advice.
‘My recommendation? Go for the tried-and-tested oral tablet form. Whichever form you choose, always read the directions on the packaging.
‘For example, magnesium glycinate is often recommended to be taken with food, while magnesium citrate is often taken on an empty stomach.’
Finally, Dr Grant notes there are warnings to mention and remember.
‘While magnesium supplements are generally safe for most people, there are some potential side effects and warnings to be aware of,’ he explains.
‘High doses of magnesium can cause diarrhoea, nausea, and abdominal cramping, and it may interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics.
‘If you’re currently suffering from kidney disease or have a history of heart disease, it’s best to discuss things with your doctor first.’
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