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Magnesium: The Muscle Relaxant

5th September 2018

Magnesium is a macro-mineral essential to almost all cells and is used for over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Most magnesium is stored in the bones and organs, with one of its primary functions being to keep muscles and nerves healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. It is vital for a wide range of biochemical reactions, ranging from protein synthesis to blood pressure regulation and muscle contraction.

Magnesium has also been found to have effects on the nervous system, reducing symptoms of muscle spasms and twitches. The relaxation effects it has on muscles are also seen to affect mood, reducing symptoms of anxiety and promoting good sleep. A lack of magnesium creates multiple long-term health problems for the cardiovascular, muscular and nervous systems.

What role does magnesium have in good bladder function?

Magnesium is a mineral with an important role in muscle relaxation throughout the body. Due to its relaxing effect, it may be used to ease pelvic pain caused by tight or taut muscles. This effect occurs in both skeletal muscle (why and why magnesium help’s with muscle cramps and smooth muscle (such as in the bladder, called the Detrusor muscle).

Where there is an imbalance between available magnesium and calcium, there can be symptoms of contraction with insufficient relaxation e.g. muscle cramp, spasm, twitch, flicker or ‘jump’, which often occur in the eyelids. Magnesium has been described as a ‘’natural calcium-channel blocker’’ in the body – it counteracts the effects of calcium. Muscle contraction in the body relies on electrical activity (nerve impulses) in the nerve that connects to that muscle. The end of the nerve is called the synapse. The release of a chemical called acetylcholine at the synapse is responsible for the continuation of the electrical impulse further down the chain of nerves.

Magnesium actually inhibits this release of acetylcholine at the synapse. So, when a nerve is being ‘’over-stimulated’’, magnesium can actually calm it down. It has been used for migraine headaches for this reason. In a condition called Detrusor Over-activity, the bladder contracts without you giving it permission to do so. This can be associated with a feeling of urgency and sometimes leakage of urine, known as Urge Incontinence.

Magnesium has a vital role in bone health, lowers the risk of Osteoporosis and is a cofactor needed by Vitamin D, and Vitamin K.

What role does magnesium have – Constipation and colon function?

Constipation and prolapse is often the result of a cycle of straining, incomplete emptying and progressive worsening of prolapse symptoms. Inadequate pelvic floor relaxation and release with bowel emptying is one major cause of constipation and prolapse.

The action of straining and drawing the abdomen inwards strongly increases downward pressure on the pelvic floor and actually increases tightening of pelvic floor muscles and closing of the anus. This is the direct opposite of the desired effect of releasing the anal sphincter.

Constipation with a prolapse may be characterized by hard and/or lumpy pellet-like stool consistency; Long-term straining to empty the bowel; Sense of incomplete bowel emptying; Sense of rectal blockage and/or obstruction; Needing to manually support (using fingers) to empty; and Emptying the bowels less than 3 times per week.

Magnesium is used to prevent constipation. Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines, which helps to establish a smoother rhythm. Magnesium also attracts water. The increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass. There are different types of magnesium. Magnesium citrate, in supplement form, is an osmotic laxative, which means it relaxes your bowels and pulls water into your intestines. The water helps to soften and bulk up your stool, which makes it easier to pass.

What depletes our magnesium reserves?

Diets high in refined sugars and carbohydrates will make you burn through your magnesium reserve more quickly. Magnesium is a very key component of glucose metabolism and management. Stress can zap your Magnesium surplus. Magnesium supports the stress response, it suppresses the ability of the hippocampus to stimulate the ultimate release of the stress hormone, it can reduce the release of ACTH (the hormone that tells your adrenal glands to get in gear and pump out that cortisol and adrenaline).

Excess exercise or physical activity or if you have a manual job will consume significant amount magnesium. First, you will lose magnesium when you sweat. Second, you will burn a lot more glucose for energy, which as we said increase magnesium consumption.

People who suffer from IBD, IBS, Crohns, Colitis or Diabetes tend to be more deficient in this essential mineral, due to the fact the mineral is absorbed in the colon. Magnesium loss is also associated with chronic diarrhoea. People often use magnesium glycinate instead of other magnesium supplements, as the body finds it easier to absorb magnesium in this form. It is also one of the gentlest supplements on the stomach. Unlike other forms of magnesium that have a laxative effect, glycinate is gentle on the stomach, and delivers its prime role, as a muscle relaxant.

Some of the best sources magnesium are:

Leafy greens, such as spinach or chard, but there are plenty of other foods with magnesium as well such as:

  • figs
  • avocado
  • banana
  • raspberries
  • Nuts and seeds.

Author – Gill Bauer Adore Your Floor Coach Brentwood


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