There’s been a last-minute reprieve for magnesium, I’m sure Holland & Barrett will be delighted to know. Over the years I’ve occasionally dabbled with supplements and have rarely managed to complete the course. Inspired by a couple of things I read about it, I bought a month’s worth of capsules early in the New Year.
They are so big I’d likely choke to death if I swallowed them with water so I’ve been chewing one just before cleaning my teeth each night. They don’t taste great but I’ve persisted. Last night, and this is very unusual for a school night I had a great sleep, something that’s been improving barely perceptibly on and off since the turn of the year.
One of the problems with taking supplements is how do you know if they’re making any difference. Well, on this scant, hardly reliable scientifically-proven evidence, I’ve decided to buy another bottle.
The first article I read linked low magnesium levels to sleep problems which I’ve been suffering from. Apparently people with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels can the article went on to say lead to deeper, more sound sleep.
According to the science, magnesium increases GABA – gamma-Aminobutyric acid – which is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the developmentally mature mammalian central nervous system. Its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.
Having felt neuronally excited for a while I then saw another advert for it at the gym implying it can help boost exercise performance. It can also, so the producers of magnesium reckon, fight depression, lower blood pressure, help with asthma and irregular heartbeat. There is also some suggestion, usually next to a ‘Buy Magnesium’ button on a website page that you need it more as you age.
The NHS, it has to be said, isn’t much of a fan of supplement-taking generally saying that you should be able to get the 300mgs a day a man of my age needs from a normal daily diet. Trouble is I rarely eat the foods rich in magnesium which include nuts, to which I’m allergic, and fish which I generally don’t like and avocado of which Mrs Jones isn’t a fan.
Despite mine and the NHS’s scepticism I’m joining the record numbers of Britons who are buying vitamin supplements to boost their health. 24 million of us spend more than £400million a year on them. That’s nearly half the UK’s adult population, surely there must be something in it.