We don’t often hear about magnesium – there isn’t a popular catchy way to remember what it does the way you remember calcium is good for bones or vitamin C protects against colds and flu. Nevertheless, magnesium is critical to over 350 biochemical reactions in the body, it’s a key factor in maintaining your energy levels, it helps you relax and sleep and is crucial to heart and muscle health. Because magnesium is such a versatile multi-tasker performing so many different critical roles it really is a miracle mineral. If there were Oscar awards for minerals, magnesium would win the award for best supporting act; for that’s what it does best, supporting enzymes to regulate such diverse biochemical reactions in the body as protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
Unfortunately, magnesium is also the mineral we’re often most deficient in. Modern fast-food eating habits mean we’re consuming fewer magnesium-rich foods like nuts, lugumes and wholegrains, and by over-processing and refining our foods such as grains and sugar, we remove much of their mineral content. While there are many good food sources of magnesium such as dark leafy greens, studies show that the magnesium content in vegetables has been declining from between 25% to as much as 80% over the last 60 years as a result of intensive farming practices which deplete the mineral content of soil.
Baobab powder, on the other hand is a rich natural source of magnesium, containing more than twice the amount of magnesium than leafy greens.
“Baobab fruit powder is a naturally rich source of magnesium containing twice the amount of magnesium than leafy greens”
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our cells after calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Along with calcium, magnesium an alkaline macro-mineral as relatively large quantities are required for optimal health. While most of us know the importance of calcium for bones, what is often overlooked is that magnesium is the other key mineral constituent of bone as it works closely together with calcium to maintain bone density.
The adult body contains approximately 25g magnesium, of which 50% to 60% is present in the bones while the rest is in soft tissues and less than 1% is in blood serum. As we use up magnesium on a daily basis, it’s important that magnesium is part of one’s daily diet in order to maintain the right levels.
Why do we need Magnesium?
Magnesium strengthens bones and teeth, plays an important role in muscle function including the heart muscle, is essential for the production of energy and contributes to a healthy nervous system.
Bone density: Remember magnesium’s supporting role? Calcium is poorly absorbed on its own but combined together with magnesium and vitamin D, it can then fulfil its function in maintaining bone density.
Energy production: Magnesium is present in every cell. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is the major unit of energy produced in the body. A deficiency in magnesium compromises energy production resulting in weakness, tiredness and fatigue .
Relaxation: Where calcium is required for the contracting phase of muscles, magnesium promotes relaxation of the muscles preventing cramps and spasms. Magnesium helps to resolve insomnia by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, responsible for sleep deprivation.
Heart Health: magnesium assists the heart muscle to work more effectively. It also protects blood vessels by helping to reduce calcification and is a natural blood thinner helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Nervous system health: again, magnesium works with calcium to ensure the optimal functioning of the nervous system. Without adequate levels of magnesium, nerve cells cannot communicate properly resulting in over-sensitivity, anxiety and irritability.
“Adequate levels of magnesium help to prevent osteoporosis as magnesium is required to work with calcium in strengthening bone”
What happens when we don’t get enough Magnesium?
Nutritional Therapist Diane Hill notes that typical symptoms of magnesium deficiencies include:
- Low energy levels, weakness and chronic fatigue
- back pain and tension headaches
- excessive thirst
- lowered ability to deal with stress
- muscle cramping, including increased PMS/ menstrual cramping
- high blood pressure
- heart arrhythmia
- numbness and tingling
Lack of magnesium is implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes due to the role of magnesium in glucose metabolism. Adequate levels of magnesium can also help to prevent osteoporosis as magnesium is required to work with calcium in strengthening bone.
“magnesium plays a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes”
Why EcoProducts Baobab Powder?
The relationship between calcium and magnesium is complex: the optimal balance of calcium to magnesium needs to be more or less 2:1 otherwise the 2 minerals can act antagonistically, competing with each other. So a healthy diet needs to contain foods rich in both minerals. Magnesium also interacts with potassium, helping to regulate the movement of potassium in and out of our cells. As Baobab powder is rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, a naturally balanced relationship exists between all three minerals.
Unlike vitamins, minerals such as magnesium do not lose nutritional value as a result of heating in the cooking process. However, magnesium is lost through leaching by boiling magnesium-rich foods such as spinach and other leafy greens in water.
The nutritional content is preserved in the handling and processing of baobab powder. The baobab fruit is one of the few fruits to dry out completely while still on the tree and the pods are only harvested when they fall to the ground. Baobab powder is a natural source of magnesium All we do is separate the powder from the seeds (which we press to get Baobab oil) and then sieve it to give it the wonderfully fine, silky textured powder which mixes easily into foods and drinks that EcoProducts has become known for.
Baobab powder has been safely consumed for thousands of years and Baobab fruit powder received its GRAS certification (Generally Recognised As Safe) from the FDA in 2008.
Baobab powder has a shelf life of 2 years.
How to enjoy Baobab Powder
Mix a teaspoon or two into your breakfast cereal or porridge or add a tablespoon to your favourite fruit smoothie or green drink. Click here for our recipes.
Because it’s a natural food, there’s no cut and dried formula for how much Baobab powder to consume a day. However, to enjoy the full benefits of baobab powder and for optimum results, as a general rule we recommend taking around 2 tablespoons a day. This will provide 17.4mg magnesium.
“Two tablespoons of Baobab powder (12g) will give you approximately 17.4mg of magnesium”
- Patrick Holford The Optimum Nutrition Bible 1997