Magnesium is an essential micronutrient that the body needs to carry out numerous chemical processes. It is required for more than 300 enzymes in the body, and it plays a crucial role in the production of proteins, strong bones, and control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Magnesium also helps maintain healthy muscles and nerves and acts as an electrical conductor that helps the heart beat and muscles contract.
Magnesium Deficiency Effects
Despite the importance of magnesium, many people are not getting enough of this vital nutrient. Estimates suggest that around 10-30% of people in developed countries have a magnesium deficiency. Although the symptoms of low magnesium levels can be vague, they include weakness, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. The severity of these symptoms depends on how low magnesium levels are.
If left unchecked, magnesium deficiency can lead to numerous chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, migraine, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Certain groups of people are more at risk of magnesium deficiency than others, including children, adolescents, older people, post-menopausal women, people with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and alcoholics. Additionally, certain prescription drugs and diets high in processed foods can also put people at risk of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium Rich Food
It is recommended that men aged 19-51 should get between 400-420mg of magnesium daily, while women should aim for 310-320mg. Magnesium-rich foods include almonds, cashews, spinach, avocado, black beans, peanut butter, brown rice, yogurt, dark chocolate, and salmon.
While most people can get all the magnesium they need from their diet, certain groups, including older adults and those with certain health conditions, may need to take a magnesium supplement. However, it’s important to speak with your doctor before starting supplements. People with kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.
It’s also essential to take the recommended amount of magnesium supplements, as taking too much can cause side effects such as diarrhea, low mood, and low blood pressure. Magnesium supplements won’t address the root causes of magnesium deficiency, so it’s important to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet. Remember, vitamins and minerals are better absorbed by the body when they come from whole foods.