Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein. – United States National Library of Medicine
Magnesium is one of those nutrients that many people don’t pay attention to. As it turns out, magnesium is responsible for a number of functions in the human body. Consequently, insufficient levels of magnesium in the human body can cause complications in a multitude of ways.
We’ll discuss physical and mental symptoms that may surface as a result of magnesium deficiency. Of course, to help correct any potential deficiency, we’ll discuss the recommended daily intake of magnesium in addition to good sources of the nutrient.
Here are 7 signs that you may have a magnesium deficiency:
1. Anxiety and/or Hyperactivity
Anxiety and hyperactivity are two neurological symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. The mineral is required to for proper communication between nerve cells in the brain. Further, magnesium is required to balance electrolyte levels in the body – an important factor in proper brain function.
No surprise here, considering the first sign. Depression is a complicated disease and can be initiated a number of a different ways. One of them is by a lack of nutrition and improper diet. Again, magnesium is an important element for proper brain function. Aside from anxiety and depression, low levels of magnesium in the body can also lead to changes in personality – no doubt a side byproduct of impaired cognitive function.
3. Muscle Pain
In addition to neurological symptoms, neuromuscular symptoms can surface as well. Magnesium deficiency can lead to painful muscle spasms, cramping, tics and other symptoms, such as fibromyalgia. One of magnesium’s primary functions is muscle relaxation. Along with calcium, which stimulates muscle contraction, magnesium is a primary element in proper muscle function.
4. Nausea and/or vomiting
A magnesium deficiency can complicate normal digestive and gastrointestinal function. From a mildly upset stomach to full-blown nausea and vomiting, supplement magnesium to help stabilize gastrointestinal function if you suspect a potential magnesium deficiency.
5. High blood pressure
Numerous studies have linked high blood pressure to low magnesium levels. Those with hypertension are much more likely to have insufficient amounts of the nutrient. Of course, numerous physiological functions affect blood pressure – a fact that often necessitates a trip to the family doctor for diagnosis.
Chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders may be linked to magnesium deficiency. It is thought that magnesium helps to regulate our sleep and wake cycles – an important function that ultimately determines our ability to fall and stay asleep.
7. Low energy
The absence of magnesium forces the body to work harder, which often results in both physical and psychological stress. In a study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), participants with low levels of detectable magnesium consumed more oxygen than those with normal levels. Of course, oxygen consumption is indicative of one’s physical health. Magnesium levels also affects human endurance, as low levels of magnesium adversely impacts heart and muscle health.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Of course, the best way is by eating right. Implementing traditionally high magnesium foods – dark and leafy greens, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, bananas, dry fruit, avocados, yogurt, dark chocolate, and etcetera – into our daily diets is the best preferred way of getting this important mineral. This is relatively easy, considering the numerous foods – most of them healthy – that contain good amounts of it.
Most multivitamins contain the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Additionally, a number of magnesium supplements are on the market that can help. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the world’s foremost authorities on nutrition – places magnesium intake into four tiers.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the measure that 97 to 98 percent of healthy individuals follow. The FNB breaks magnesium intake down into a simple chart, which follows.
AGE MALE FEMALE PREGNANCY LACTATION
to 6 months 30 mg 30 mg
7-12 months 75 mg 75 mg
1-3 years 80 mg 80 mg
4-8 years 130 mg 130 mg
9-13 years 240 mg 240 mg
14-18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19-30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31-50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg