Sleep is vital to human health, playing a critical role in brain functions, including cognitive neurobehavioral performance related to memory consolidation and mood regulation.
Sleep is commonly defined as a periodic suspension of the state of consciousness during which the body recovers energy. Adults should regularly sleep seven or more hours per night to promote optimal health.
- Consistently getting less than seven hours of sleep per night is linked to negative health effects, both metabolic and behavioural. Also, poor quality and insufficient sleep is associated with impaired immune function.
- Sleeping for more than nine hours per night on a regular basis may be suitable for adolescents, individuals recovering sleep deprivation, or for those recovering from convalescence.
Achieving a healthy and restful sleep experience requires three key fundamental factors:
- Adequate duration
- Good quality
- Times and regularity appropriate to the circadian cycle
This article will examine the benefits of magnesium supplementation in those who experience a condition in which sleep is disturbed.
Magnesium is a macroelement found within the body in quantities ranging between 22 and 26 grams. Over 50% of this magnesium is mineralised at bone level. Within the body, magnesium is as a cofactor for over 300 enzymes, participating in a wide array of processes. These processes involve activities ranging from the synthesis of essential neurotransmitters at the central level, to the production and release of cellular energy.
In addition, magnesium, working in balance with calcium, contributes to the regulation of crucial functions including muscle contraction, heartbeat, coagulation and blood pressure. This mineral is essential for our health, as it contributes:
- To normal energy metabolism
- To the wellbeing of the nervous system
- To reduce fatigue and facilitate muscle relaxation
- To normalise psychological function
- To the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth
- To normalise electrolyte balance
Magnesium is particularly abundant in bran, leafy vegetables, legumes, cereals and bananas. A deficiency of this mineral is usually manifested by cramps, physical and mental fatigue, irritability and sleep disorders.
The role of magnesium on sleep
Sleep disorders typically present with difficulty in falling asleep, frequent night-time awakenings or early morning awakenings resulting in inability to fall back to sleep.
Sleep disorders are mainly divided into two groups: acute disorders and chronic disorders. The former is often transient and linked to periods of intense stress or acute pathologies; the latter is, instead, related to chronic conditions.
People who have difficulty sleeping often report a sense of psycho-physical discomfort upon awakening. This then leads to the appearance of symptoms such as excessive daytime drowsiness, irritability, poor concentration, interpersonal, social and professional problems. A lack of healthy, good quality sleep also increases the probability of developing anxious syndromes and depressive disorders.
How magnesium affects our brain and sleep-wake rhythm
On the market there are various remedies designed to improve sleep benefits, and among these is magnesium.
Among its many functions, magnesium also plays an important role in maintaining the correct electrical activity of the brain, by regulating the glutamate/GABA balance. Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter present in our central nervous system, whereas GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Like all neurotransmitters, it is essential that they keep in balance: an excess of one or the other can lead to profound morphological and functional changes that affect our mental health, and can be linked to conditions such as insomnia.
The magnesium ion acts as an agonist of GABA, enhancing the inhibitory effect of this neurotransmitter. Conversely, it acts as an antagonist against glutamate, thereby mitigating its excitatory effect. This dual action of magnesium results in an overall relaxing effect on the central nervous system, which makes it useful in those mild states of anxiety and insomnia.
Sucrosomial® magnesium: UltraMag®
Not all supplements on the market contain the same type of magnesium and this is the fundamental difference. In fact, magnesium can be found in the form of several salts:
- Inorganic, such as magnesium oxide (MgO)
- Organic, such as magnesium pidolate
- Chelates, such as magnesium bisglycinate
Among these, MgO is the one with the highest content of elemental magnesium, although its absorption is very limited by the body. Generally, magnesium, due to this limit of absorption, has a poor gastrointestinal tolerance that is frequently manifested by nausea, abdominal cramps and laxative effects.
To overcome this limit, thanks to the research, PharmaNutra Spa., UltraMag® has been created. This is an innovative ingredient based on magnesium oxide that uses the Sucrosomial® technology, where the mineral is transported by the Sucrosome® (Figure 1), a matrix composed by phospholipids and sucrose esters of fatty acids.
Figure 1. Structure of the Sucrosome®
This innovative structure allows magnesium to be absorbed by our body in greater quantities, without blocking its classic absorption route.
The dosage of magnesium in each sachet of UltraMag® is 375mg and corresponds to 100% of the Nutritional Reference Value (%NRV). For this reason, it is recommended to take one sachet per day dissolved in a glass of water, at any time of the day.
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