Your Body Needs Magnesium

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and your body can’t work properly without it.

The nutrient is essential for hundreds of metabolic processes and many other important bodily functions — from producing energy to building important proteins like your DNA .

Dietary sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Smaller amounts are found in meat and fish.

However, despite its importance, studies show that almost 50% of people in Western countries in Europe and the United States don’t get enough of this essential mineral.

Moreover, low levels of magnesium are linked to a number of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's


Why do we need Magnesium?

Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, including the metabolism of food, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, and the transmission of nerve impulses.

The human body contains around 25 gram (g) of magnesium, 50 to 60 percent of which is stored in the skeletal system. The rest is present in muscle, soft tissues, and bodily fluids.

Here are some key points about magnesium.

  • Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of hundreds of enzymes.
  • Consuming adequate magnesium might help reduce premenstrual symptoms.
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, and shrimp are some of the foods high in magnesium.
  • Magnesium supplements can interact with different drugs, so it is best to check with a doctor before taking them.


What Are the Health Benefits?

Getting enough magnesium is important for keeping your body functioning optimally. Though it’s possible to get adequate amounts of this mineral from your diet, taking a supplement may be helpful if you struggle to meet your needs through food or if you’re deficient.

Taking a magnesium supplement and correcting a deficiency has been linked to health benefits. These include:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Improves blood pressure,
  • Improves moods
  • Controls blood sugar
  • Can reduce blood pressure
  • May improve mood
  • May benefit blood sugar control
  • May reduce heart disease risk
  • May improve migraine
 

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?

Do you ever have difficulty sleeping, even though you feel exhausted? Feel anxious, but you’re not sure why? Have cravings for sugar and salt no matter how much you eat? These could be signs of a deficiency in a specific nutrient: magnesium.

What Are Low Levels Linked With?

  • ADHD
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Bone Health
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • PMT
  • Stress
  • Strokes
 

Why Are People Deficient?

Due to modern farming methods soil is magnesium depleted. Plants growing on that soil (both vegetables and grass) are therefore unable to uptake magnesium from the soil meaning when we eat them (or meat that was raised on magnesium deficient grass) we’re not getting the magnesium we need

  • Alcohol, phytate, fibre, excessive calcium and excessive phosphate all reduce magnesium absorption in the intestine.

  • Exercise also causes increased magnesium excretion in the urine and sweat meaning people who exercise regularly are more likely to be magnesium deficient. Low levels of magnesium will then impair an athlete’s ability to build and repair muscle, get energy from food and efficiently transport oxygen around the body – all essential to athletic performance.
  • Fish, meat, milk and fruits are poor sources of magnesium where un-milled grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole seeds are good sources. The latter are low in modern diets.

  • Magnesium is in drinking water in differing amounts depending where you live but in general will only contribute a small amount to your daily intake.

  • Processed foods are also low in magnesium compared to whole foods – processing removes the nutrient containing portion as when wheat is turned into white flour. In fact, some studies suggest that food processing removes almost all magnesium from foods.

  • If you take a calcium supplement and your magnesium intake is low calcium reduces magnesium absorption and retention further. However, taking a magnesium supplement helps the body use calcium.

  • Other conditions such as leaky gut can also make it more difficult to absorb magnesium.

 

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks To Taking Magnesium?

Though magnesium supplements are generally considered safe, you should check with your healthcare provider before taking them — especially if you have a medical condition.

The mineral supplement may be unsafe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications, or antibiotics .

Most people who take magnesium supplements don’t experience side effects, but it can cause gut related issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting — especially in large dose.

It’s important to note that people with kidney issues are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects related to these supplements.

Additionally, evidence to suggest that magnesium supplements benefit people who are not deficient is insufficient.