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NUTRIENT IN FOCUS: Magnesium & our nervous system

Magnesium plays an integral role in the health and optimal functioning of our nervous system. Magnesium is a calming mineral that aids nervous system health in many ways including the following:

  • Improving sleep onset & quality

  • Reducing depression / supporting serotonin production

  • Anxiety reduction & management

  • Supporting energy production

  • Relaxing muscle tension in neck/shoulders/body

  • Reducing frequency & severity of headaches & migraines

  • Reducing the sensation of pain

  • Aiding metabolism and weight management

  • Stress reduction

Our demands for magnesium increase when our nervous system is in a state of depletion, for example in times of stress, anxiety, depression, recurrent headaches, poor sleep or low energy, especially if chronic. Physical exercise also increases our demand for magnesium, which plays a role in muscle relaxation. In such times, increasing our magnesium levels can be achieved through diet or through taking a magnesium supplement for this period of time.


Magnesium is abundant in many of our foods, including the following:

  • Seeds: Pumpkin, flax, chia

  • Banana

  • Tofu

  • Nuts: Almonds, cashew, Brazil

  • Avocado

  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, beans

  • Cacao

  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale,

  • Whole grains


If you have made the decision to use a supplement for short-term extra support, here's what to look for...

When choosing a supplement look for a form of magnesium that is most bioavailable. Bioavailability means the proportion of the nutrient capable of being absorbed and available for use or storage.

Supported by research, the citrate and diglycinate forms have shown to be the most bioavailable. When compared to magnesium oxide their solubility has each been shown to be nine times greater, with citrate slightly higher.

One distinction between the two forms is citrate solubility is less dependant on body pH (acid/alkaline) levels compared to diglycinate and therefore may be a more suitable option if experiencing reflux or digestion issues.

Citrate has also been compared to the form amino acid chelate and has shown to be more effective in increasing plasma magnesium levels short term (1 day) and longer term (2 months).

General dosage for supplementing with magnesium is 300mg of magnesium citrate per day. If increasing the dose, take smaller doses over the course of the day instead of one large dose as a high dose taken at once will not be absorbed and may cause loose stools or be lost through urine. A lower dose at intervals is more effective.

For individual guidance for your nutritional needs or for more information contact us at or +61 458 706 705.

Further tips and information can be found at and @amylloydnutrition.

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