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6 Things You Should Know About Magnesium


Compared to nutrients like calcium and iron, magnesium is an essential mineral that is relatively unknown. Even though many people are not familiar with this nutrient and the role it plays in maintaining health, it is a very important substance that needs to be part of everyone’s daily nutrient intake. Not everyone thinks to include magnesium rich foods into their meals even if they make a dedicated effort to eat a balanced diet. Here are six important things you should know about magnesium and the role it plays in your health.

1. You might not be getting the recommended daily amount.

Teens and young adults need 310 milligrams (women) – 400 milligrams (men) each day. Adult men require 420 milligrams and adult women need 320 milligrams each day. Yet data suggests that as much as 75% of the US population receives less or significantly less than that recommended daily amount. This means there is a good chance that you are already experiencing a magnesium deficiency. Though blood testing can provide some information about the magnesium levels in your body, simple self-assessment can provide valuable clues.

2. Magnesium deficiencies manifest in many different ways.

 Do you experience muscle cramps, poor sleep, chronic pain, or facial tics? These are just a few of the signs that can indicate a magnesium deficiency. Since magnesium is a nutrient that helps support healthy nerve and muscle function, a lack of it is evidenced by problems with these tissues. Even stiff muscles can indicate a shortfall of magnesium levels in the body. Paying attention to these signs can help patients take proactive steps to address sub-optimal magnesium intake before a deficiency becomes a more severe problem. These are just some of the problems that can indicate low magnesium levels:

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Kidney stones

  • Asthma

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Angina

  • Fibromyalgia

Though these and other conditions are caused by many different factors, addressing low magnesium levels can help make them more manageable. Improving magnesium levels can improve the symptoms related to these conditions and make the disorders more responsive to other health interventions.

3. A magnesium supplement can be used to manage a wide range of conditions.

Magnesium is a potent nerve relaxant and so can be used to manage migraines, treat constipation, and improve sleep. Since this nutrient supports the proper function of nerves and muscles, it can promote relaxation when present in the correct amounts.

This nutrient is used to manage high blood pressure by naturally regulating it in conjunction with other helpful therapies. In fact, magnesium may also help reverse osteoporosis. Even though calcium is the mineral most people associate with healthy bones, magnesium allows the body to utilize calcium in the correct way. Without the right amount of magnesium, calcium supplements are simply not as effective. This is why so many over the counter calcium supplements now include magnesium in their formula.

4. Daily beverage choices can decrease available magnesium.

Even if a person maintains a healthy diet, certain choices can significantly diminish the amount of magnesium present in the body. The wrong foods and drinks can undo the balance you seek to maintain. Carbonated drinks in particular have the potential to reduce available magnesium; calcium levels are also decreased by the phosphoric acid present in soda. Excess salt, coffee, and alcohol will also decrease a person’s magnesium levels.

5. Certain foods can also decrease magnesium levels.

Beverages are not the only things known to decrease magnesium levels. Certain foods are also major culprits in diminishing the amount of this vital nutrient in people’s bodies. Refined sugar, such as what is found in pastries, cakes, desserts, and other sweet foods cause magnesium to be excreted through the kidneys. Even if you avoid cakes and cookies, you are probably encountering refined sugar in bread products of all kinds, even those that are not especially sweet.

6. Other vitamins and minerals are required for magnesium absorption.

Taking a supplement that includes only magnesium may not be the right strategy for addressing a deficit. You will need vitamins D and B6 as well as selenium to properly absorb magnesium so it can be utilized by your cells.

Though sticking with a healthy, balanced diet will help ensure that numerous sources of magnesium are encountered on a daily basis, it is possible to be deficient without even being aware of it. A well-rounded supplement is a good strategy for addressing this deficit.