How mag­ne­sium can help you sleep

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NEWS -

Ques­tion: Does mag­ne­sium help you sleep? An­swer: Stud­ies have found a link be­tween low lev­els of mag­ne­sium, an es­sen­tial min­eral that plays a cru­cial role in a wide range of bod­ily pro­cesses, and sleep dis­or­ders. But if you are con­cerned you aren’t get­ting enough mag­ne­sium, chang­ing your diet may be a bet­ter op­tion than tak­ing a sup­ple­ment, as “there is re­ally sparse ev­i­dence that tak­ing su­per-ther­a­peu­tic doses of mag­ne­sium will give you a ben­e­fit,” said Raj Das­gupta, a pro­fes­sor of pul­monary and sleep medicine at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The min­eral is widely avail­able in both plant and an­i­mal-based foods, and the kid­neys limit uri­nary ex­cre­tion of mag­ne­sium, so de­fi­cien­cies are rare in healthy peo­ple. Leafy green vegeta­bles, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of mag­ne­sium; fish, chicken and beef also con­tain mag­ne­sium. Older adults and peo­ple with cer­tain dis­or­ders, such as Type 2 di­a­betes, gas­troin­testi­nal dis­eases and al­co­holism, how­ever, may have in­ad­e­quate amounts.

“Mag­ne­sium de­fi­ciency has been as­so­ci­ated with higher lev­els of stress, anx­i­ety and dif­fi­culty re­lax­ing, which are key in­gre­di­ents to get­ting good sleep at night,” Das­gupta said. He noted that mag­ne­sium in­ter­acts with an im­por­tant neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that fa­vors sleep.

One small dou­ble-blinded clin­i­cal trial of 43 se­niors in Tehran, Iran, who were ran­domly as­signed to re­ceive ei­ther 500 mil­ligrams of mag­ne­sium or a placebo for eight weeks found that those who re­ceived the sup­ple­ment fell asleep faster and spent more of their time in bed asleep, but their to­tal sleep time was not nec­es­sar­ily longer.

If you sus­pect you’re de­fi­cient in mag­ne­sium or want to take mag­ne­sium sup­ple­ments, talk to your doc­tor first. Mag­ne­sium can in­ter­act poorly with other drugs.

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