TikTok has kick-started many a beauty or food and drink trend, but it’s also becoming known for its health and wellness hacks from incline treadmill walking to protein coffee.
The newest health trend on the video sharing platform may be its easiest one to follow yet: taking magnesium supplements.
Medical professionals such as doctors as well as regular users on the app are sharing videos about the benefits of the mineral. The popularity of the content has soared with videos including the term “magnesium” being viewed over 984.5 million times on the app.
One user @seandreww posted a video claiming he took magnesium glycinate for 30 days to see the results and it received 5.7 million views.
While there are multiple different forms of magnesium, magnesium glycinate is one of the most absorbable forms and is said to be the safest option for correcting magnesium deficiencies. It’s said to help improve energy levels and sleep.
“Within just a few days, my sleep was much deeper than before,” Andrew explains. “I’m sleeping deeper but I feel extra drowsy when I wake up.
“But as I kept taking it, my energy levels became much more consistent, with less midday crashes or a reliance on caffeine to feel good.”
So, what are the benefits of magnesium? How do we know if we’re lacking the mineral in our diets and does it really help you have a better sleep?
The benefits of magnesium
According to the NHSmagnesium is a mineral that helps turn the food we eat into energy and make sure that the glands that produce hormones important for bone health, called the parathyroid glands, work normally.
“Magnesium is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body,” Nutritionist Resource member Sonal Shah explains. “Magnesium is required to give the ‘spark of life’ to metabolic functions involving the creation of energy and its transport.
“It is often nicknamed the ‘miraculous mineral’ for its multiple important functions. Some of which include maintaining strong muscle, bones, teeth, healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, regulating glucose-insulin metabolism, increasing energy levels, alleviating headaches and migraines, helping hormonal PMS symptoms and mood swings.”
Magnesium can help you sleep better
While few studies have been done on the effects magnesium can have on your sleep, one small-scale study from 2012 on 46 elderly adults found that taking magnesium supplements daily could improve sleep efficiency, sleep time and insomnia.
“Magnesium helps the body and brain to relax by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for making one calm and relaxed,” Shah explains.
“Those struggling to sleep do find taking magnesium in its glycinate form aids their sleep quality and improves restlessness in the night, including restless legs. It appears magnesium also improves anxiety and depression by regulating serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters directly related to sleep.”
Foods containing magnesium
Adult men need around 300mg per day, while adult women need 270mg, the NHS says.
“Generally, we should be able to get the magnesium we need from a healthy diet but certain groups including older adults or people with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of magnesium deficiency,” Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager at the British Nutrition Foundation says.
Benelam and Shah says foods high in magnesium include:
Nuts and seeds, particularly Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds
Wholegrain breakfast cereals
Wholegrain and seeded brown breads
Dark green vegetables such as kale, rocket, broccoli, okra, and collard greens
Watch: 7 in 10 people convinced their body is lacking key nutrients from their diet
Signs of a magnesium deficiency
A recent study of micronutrient intake for British adults found that magnesium deficiency was more common in people in their 20s, with up to 19% of young people having a deficiency, and more common in women aged 20 to 59 than men of the same age.
Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can include:
“The fact that many of these symptoms are often related to other conditions means that hypomagnesemia is often very difficult to spot,” Shah explains.
“The chances are, if you have experienced one or more of these symptoms, your body may be lacking in magnesium. It can be tested and a health professional can take an assessment of your health and explore and discuss your symptoms with you.”