Testimonial: Kirsten’s Secret to Sleeping Well

by georgia hartmann

Women’s Health Expert

“I have always struggled with sleep. In my earlier years, it was always my overactive mind that woke me up – “what did I not get done today, what do I need to get done tomorrow?”

After I had the girls my body continued to wake the same time I used to breastfeed and I guess after 3 babies close together it became my new norm.

Fast forward a few years, my girls are 9, 7 and 4 and I’m still waking for an hour and a half every night around 1.30am. Because life was busy and I was time poor I used this time to get all my extra work down, I found it very productive but overtime it started to take its toll on me.

Luckily for me earlier this year I started working with the lovely Georgia Hartmann. Georgia was a contributor to Fluidform at Home and I organised a consultation to speak with her about my general health with a focus on my sleep.

Little did I know I had all the classic signs of Magnesium Deficiency. Within 2 weeks of taking a daily magnesium supplement recommended by Georgia I was sleeping through the night having the best sleep I had had in years.

If only I knew about Magnesium deficiency and how easily it could be rectified.”

Let's dive into the (many) roles of magnesium in the body.

Found within the bone, muscle, soft tissue, and serum, magnesium is a nutrient involved in over 300 processes within the body and it can really make its absence felt! [1]

One of magnesium’s superpowers is for rejuvenating sleep – and Kee can testify for this. As a muscle relaxant and inducer of deep sleep, magnesium has been shown to improve one’s ability to not only get to sleep, but also stay asleep and wake less tired. This is in light of magnesium’s ability to increase levels of melatonin, our ‘sleep-promoting’ hormone. [2,3] 

Magnesium also supports hormonal balance. We know that magnesium balances thyroid hormones, supports oestrogen metabolism and clearance, and is often deficient during menopause. [4]

In my clinical practice I often use magnesium to help women who have trouble losing weight, heavy periods, painful periods, premenstrual syndrome, menstrual migraines, restless legs, uterine fibroids, and hot flushes. [4,5]

By acting as a cofactor for many enzymes involved in energy metabolism, magnesium also directly influences glucose levels. This is particularly beneficial in those with elevated glucose and insulin, as commonly seen in obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes─all of which, if left unmanaged, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. [6-10]

Furthermore, due to its ability to reduce inflammation, synthesise neurotransmitters, and regulate the communication between the brain and the adrenal glands, magnesium is beneficial in relieving stress, reducing anxiety and depression, overcoming addiction and eating disorders, managing mood, and alleviating the frequency and intensity of migraines. [11-14]

A systematic review published in 2017 reports that magnesium modulates the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is activated in times of stress. So when you are consistently faced with elevated stress一be it endless deadlines; toxic relationships; excessive exercise; major life events; the list goes on一magnesium supplementation attenuates the activity of the HPA axis, effectively reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. [15]

Magnesium is also the power mineral for people who enjoy an active lifestyle and want to maintain their athletic performance, with the literature showing us that intense exercise is associated with lower magnesium levels. [16] 

It’s important to know that magnesium comes in many forms and that which is correct for you will depend on your symptoms. For example, magnesium bisglycinate has the added benefit of glycine which calms the nervous system and improves insulin sensitivity. [1,17] Whereas magnesium citrate is often used to improve bowel motions and constipation. [18]

Moreover, individual requirements of magnesium differ and we know that low doses of magnesium may not be sufficient in allowing an ergogenic effect. [16]

It is also important to know that there are many factors that influence magnesium levels in the body. So, even if you are consuming magnesium in the diet (hello almonds, cashews and leafy green vegetables), if you experience any of the following, you may have inadequate stores of magnesium: [1]

  • Pregnancy
  • Bowel disease
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Medication use such as proton pump inhibitors
  • Diarrhoea or the use of laxatives 
  • Excessive sweating from exercise
  • Elevated stress
  • Diabetes 
  • Alcohol consumption

Do you feel you need additional support on your journey to feeling great again? 

[1] Schwalfenberg, G.K., et al. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica, 2017. PMID: 29093983

[2] Djokic, G., et al. The Effects of Magnesium – Melatonin – Vit B Complex Supplementation in Treatment of Insomnia. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2019. 7(18). PMID: 31850132.

[3] Abbasi, B., et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 2012. 17(12). PMID: 23853635.

[4] Kolanu, B.R., et al. Activities of Serum Magnesium and Thyroid Hormones in Pre-, Peri-, and Post-menopausal Women. Cureus, 2020. 12(1). PMID: 32042527

[5] Parazzini, F., et al. Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review. Magnesium Research, 2017. 30(1). PMID: 28392498.

[6] Hamilton, K.P., et al. Insulin Resistance and Serum Magnesium Concentrations among Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Current Developmens in Nutrition, 2019. 3(11). PMID: 31696157.

[7] Simental-Mendía, L.E., et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Pharmacological Research, 2016. PMID: 27329332.

[8] Verma, H., et al. Effect of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes associated cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Human Nutrition & Diatetics, 2017. 30(5). PMID: 28150351.

[9] Barragán, R., et al. Influence of Demographic and Lifestyle Variables on Plasma Magnesium Concentrations and Their Associations with Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Mediterranean Population. Nutrients, 2020. 12(4). PMID: 32276338.

[10] Zhao, L., et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD): a meta-analysis. Oncotarget, 2016. 7(23). PMID: 27220885.

[11] Simental-Mendia, L.E., et al. Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Plasma C-reactive Protein Concentrations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2017. 23(31). PMID: 28545353.

[12] Botturi, A., et al. The Role and the Effect of Magnesium in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 2020. 12(6). PMID: 32503201.

[13] Serefko, A., et al. Magnesium and depression. Magnesium & Research, 2016. 29(3). PMID: 27910808.

[14] Chiu, H-Y., et al. Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician, 2016. 19(1). PMID: 26752497.

[15] Boyke, N.B., et al. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 2017. 9(5). PMID: 28445426.

[16] Heffernan, S.M., et al. The Role of Mineral and Trace Element Supplementation in Exercise and Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 2019. 11(3). PMID: 30909645.

[17] McCarty, M.F., et al. The cardiometabolic benefits of glycine: Is glycine an ‘antidote’ to dietary fructose? Open Heart, 2014. 1(1). PMID: 25332814.

[18] Jahnen-Dechent, W., et al. Magnesium basics. Clinical Kidney Journal, 2012. PMID: 26069819.

women’s  health expert

by georgia hartman

Women’s Health Expert

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