A study shows that people with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) may be magnesium deficient and supplementation may help ease symptoms such as fatigue, cramps, depression and insomnia.

The study, published in the medical journal Nutrients, found that patients with IBD had low levels of magnesium and that this mineral may play a primary role in the development of IBD.

Magnesium supplements may improve IBD

Findings show that supplementing with magnesium may improve IBD symptoms and sleep quality.

IBD is an umbrella term to describe disorders that cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It affects the gut’s ability to digest food and absorb essential nutrients which can result in malnutrition.

IBD is a prolific condition in SA

Experts advise that symptoms such as diarrhea may also contribute to nutrient deficiencies such as low magnesium and make it difficult for the body to get enough nutrients from food alone.

There are over 3,500 new cases of IBD in South Africa each year and incidents are increasing. The disease can be debilitating and affect men and women of all ages.

Magnesium is an essential mineral

Magnesium is essential for over 300 chemical processes in the body including muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system, however more than 50% of South Africans consume less than the recommended daily amount.

Deficiency can include symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, cramps, fatigue, numbness and abnormal heart rhythms and can be difficult to diagnose.

The study authors noted that magnesium deficiency may also contribute to conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and migraine headaches.

Health expert Vanessa Ascencao said IBD is commonly linked to stress, so it’s important to get enough sleep and try stress reducing exercises such as walking in nature or yoga and mind-body techniques such as meditation and deep breathing exercises.

How to get more magnesium

Adjust your diet to include more whole, anti-inflammatory foods such as pumpkin and chia seeds, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, almonds and cashews, wild caught salmon, bananas, avocados, turmeric, ginger, olive oil and dark chocolate,” said Ascencao.

In addition, try high quality, bioavailable supplements such as BetterYou Magnesium Oil transdermal body spray which is proven to provide superior absorption compared to traditional tablets or capsules, and work five times faster,” she added.