Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It has some really important roles relating to body & brain health and yet it is one of the minerals most commonly missing in the diet of horses & people, and one that not many people think about supplementing!
Some of the benefits of magnesium include:
- It is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is found in bone, muscles, other soft tissues, and fluids such as blood. In fact, every cell in the body contains magnesium and needs it to function!
- Of major interest to me as a massage therapist, magnesium is involved in muscle function, protein formation, and nervous system regulation.
- It also plays a role in exercise performance, with studies showing that magnesium can increase performance in athletes. Specifically, magnesium helps to remove lactate from the muscles during exercise. which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue.
- Magnesium has anti-inflammatory benefits, with low magnesium levels being linked to chronic inflammation.
- Low magnesium levels are thought to be linked to migraines, with one study showing that a low dose of magnesium provided relief from migraines faster than some common medications.
- Magnesium assists with calcium absorption and is therefore essential for bone formation and bone density.
- Magnesium is critical for the health of your muscles, which include the heart. Sufficient magnesium intake is linked with a lower risk of hypertension.
- Magnesium can help to reduce insulin resistance.
- Low levels of magnesium have been linked to anxiety.
Magnesium found be found in lots of different foods, including leafy vegetables such as kale, sea vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Other foods that can often be categorized as a good source of this mineral include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, dairy products, and fish.
Sources of magnesium for your horse include pasture & forage such as hay, although this is often not very well absorbed. Other sources can include pumpkin seeds, flax or chia seeds, and split peas.
Time to get eating some of those magnesium-rich foods! Magnesium can also be supplemented if it is thought to be deficient (please consult your doctor or vet before supplementing magnesium, particularly if there is a risk of impaired kidney function as the kidneys are responsible for excreting excess magnesium, and so supplementing magnesium in this case could cause to high levels of magnesium in the body).