Deal with Your Deficiencies!: Magnesium
Welcome back to week 4 of our “Deal with Your Deficiencies” blog series! Today we continue our discussion of minerals, diving in to MAGNESIUM.
Magnesium is a very well-known electrolyte mineral and is one of the most commonly purchased supplements these days. Many, many people supplement with magnesium…but many, many of these people may not be getting the FULL BENEFIT of the magnesium they are taking, potentially for a variety of reasons.
By the end of this post, you will know the importance of magnesium, the symptoms of magnesium deficiency or insufficiency (they’re not the same thing!), the best magnesium-rich foods to consume, and the best way to supplement—including what form of supplemental magnesium you might benefit the most from. Ready to roll?! Let’s go!
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium is an extremely important mineral, as one that is essential for many, many bodily functions—over 600, to be exact. As the fourth most plentiful mineral in the human body, it would make sense that magnesium would be a star player in a host of important functions, including:
-Healthy brain development, memory, and ability to learn new things
-Heart muscle function and contraction
-Proper muscle relaxation
-Proper nervous system function
-Maintaining hormonal health (both male and female)
…and many, many, many more (some of which science has get to discover!).
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Despite the commonality of magnesium and readily-available nature of supplements, it is estimated that around 60% of adults do not meet even the RDA for magnesium!
So what are some of the signs of clinical magnesium deficiency (a blood magnesium level lower than 1.8 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL)?
-Muscle cramps (you knew this already from our handy graphic!)
-Osteoporosis or reduced bone density
-Muscle pain, weakness, or twitching
-Cognitive and/or mental health problems
-Nervous system problems (heightened pain perception, easily startled, etc.)
-High blood pressure
-Irregular heart beat
-Fatigue and tiredness
It’s important to remember, though, a magnesium insufficiency can be present without a full-blown clinical deficiency. If you have one or more of the symptoms listed above, you may benefit from increasing your magnesium intake. If you have 4 or more symptoms listed above, you may want to consult your healthcare provider about getting your magnesium levels checked.
Deal with Your Deficiency!
As we’ve covered in detail, FOOD is the best way to get your nutrients, and this goes for magnesium, too. Leafy greens are the BEST food source of magnesium. Fun fact: chlorophyll is the same molecular composition as human blood, except the middle molecule is MAGNESIUM instead of IRON in blood. This is a good way to remember that greens are your go-to for magnesium! Aside from leafy greens, some magnesium-rich foods include: nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, avocados, beans and legumes, salmon, whole grains, and bananas.
Sometimes, and in certain individuals, supplementation is actually advised, even when the individual consumes plenty of magnesium-rich foods. There can be a variety of reasons for this (too much to get into in this blog post!), but in these cases, it is important to make sure the magnesium you choose is in the right form for your specific needs.
Magnesium citrate is probably the most common type of magnesium. It’s not my personal favorite, mainly for the reason that it os bound to citric acid, which is usually made from moldy citrus. Yuck! Nonetheless, it’s a readily available form of magnesium, relatively cheap, and fairly well absorbed. Keep in mind, though, that mag citrate will affect your GI system and speed up bowel contractions. So if this is not a desired effect, opt for another form of magnesium.
Magnesium glycinate is another common form of magnesium, and my personal favorite. Bound to glycine, this form of mag is very cal king and relaxing to skeletal muscle and the nervous system. It is the recommended form for chronic pain and tight muscles.
Magnesium oxide is a very poorly absorbed form of magnesium, and one that should only be taken if the goal is to move the bowels…because that it will definitely do.
Magnesium threonate is not a super common form of mag, but it is effective, particularly for nervous system function and all cognitive issues, including anxiety.
Below I’ve linked a few of my favorite magnesium products—one of each of the forms discussed above.
So that’s an overview of magnesium! Next week we dive into yet another electrolyte mineral: POTASSIUM. Be sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss learning about this powerhouse of a micronutrient!
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DISCLAIMER: The statements made in this post and in any content provided by Dr. Anna Johnson and Anna's Organics Wellness are the opinions of the author only, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of a medical problem, seek medical attention immediately or consult your physician for further guidance.