I tend to find that people underestimate the importance of Magnesium and B vitamins in the body. A lot more importance seems to be placed on Vitamins A and E, and whilst these are essential in their own right, we cannot overlook just how important magnesium and the B vitamins are, especially for active women.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a pivotal role in the body. It is super important when it comes to helping our body convert food into energy, helping our cells to create and repair both DNA as well as RNA, helps with the contraction and relaxation phase of muscle movement, aids muscle repair by helping to create new proteins from amino acids, and helps to regulate neurotransmitter production. All in all, some pretty important stuff.
For women, there are additional benefits when it comes to supplementing with magnesium in that studies have shown it to be very beneficial when it comes to dealing with PMS. The symptoms of PMS are typically water retention, abdominal cramping, irritability and tiredness. Magnesium has been shown to help with all of these. Magnesium has also been shown to help improve depression, as well as to help reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance. Why is this important to women? Because inflammation has been shown to be a driver of weight-gain in peri and menopausal women. While your body is in a chronically inflamed state, it has a tendency to hold on to weight. Likewise, the more insulin resistant your body is, the more weight you will hold, and the more you move towards the development of type 2 diabetes.
B vitamins is the collective group of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. Folate is also generally classed as a B vitamin, as is Biotin. And whilst all of these are important to our health, it is B6, B9 (Folate) and B12 that are the most crucial to women.
Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine) is essential when it comes to your metabolism and to brain health. B6 plays a pivotal role in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine and epinephrine, which are also known as our feel good neurotransmitters. Not having enough B6 means that you aren’t able to get the right levels of ‘feel good’, and can contribute to depression. Low levels of dopamine can also affect your short term memory, which could be a reason why you can never remember where you left your keys!
B12 is essential for red blood cell and energy production. Low levels of B12 can often explain why we feel so fatigued. B12 is also crucial when it comes to methylation, which is essentially the activation of every cellular process in our body. In our bone marrow, B12 helps the red blood cells mature so they can carry oxygen around our body. Studies have also shown that B12 deficiency can also contribute to depression.
Folate (B9) is responsible for brain and spinal cord health. It helps our bodies make DNA and RNA and has been shown to help inhibit cell changes in our DNA that may eventually lead to cancer. Like B12, it helps with healthy red blood cell production, and can help prevent B12 and folate anaemia. Folate is especially important in preconception and pregnancy as it can help to ensure the proper development of the spinal cord in the developing foetus, preventing spina bifida.
It is important to ensure thatB vitamins are taken in balance with each other as they work more effectively when taken together.
BA Nursing, BA Naturopathy, Adv Dip. Naturopathy, Adv. Dip Nutrition, Adv. Dip Western Herbal Medicine, A5M certified