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Magnesium is an essential mineral required by our body for optimal health and is vital for more than 300 metabolic reactions. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body with half of it found in bones and the remaining in cells.
Some of the important functions performed by magnesium include-
- synthesis of protein,
- generation and transport of energy,
- function of some of the important enzymes of the body,
- normal muscle operation,
- maintaining healthy bones,
- supports synthesis of RNA and DNA,
- regulates heart rhythm,
- responsible for a healthy immune system and nerve function.
- calming effect on the nervous system and
Magnesium deficiency is on the rise, as changes in our eating habits and the drastic decline in the magnesium content in our food sources, fail to provide the recommended daily allowance.
The easy and effective way to boost your magnesium intake is to take magnesium supplements. Read the review of top 10 magnesium supplement brands here.
Magnesium deficiency can cause inflammation, and has been linked with chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Low magnesium levels also increase the risk for osteoporosis, ADHD and insomnia.
Keeping in mind the rise of magnesium deficiency and its importance, how can you ensure that you are getting adequate magnesium?
Do you get adequate Magnesium?
One way to assess your magnesium levels is to talk to your healthcare provider and get detailed magnesium testing done. However, magnesium is commonly tested through blood serum testing and these tests are not very reliable. Only one percent of magnesium in the body is in the blood, and 0.3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not correctly find magnesium deficiency.
Here are the top signs to watch out for magnesium deficiency.
- Drinking too much carbonated, alcoholic or caffeinated drinks – Excess intake of these drinks can reduce the magnesium levels in your body, since they force the body to flush it out. Carbonated drinks contain phosphate that binds with magnesium, rendering it unavailable to the body.
Alcohol, and caffeine drinks like tea and coffee, causes the kidney to excrete magnesium along with other minerals. So even if you are eating a healthy diet, rich in magnesium, these drinks can lower magnesium levels in the body.
2. Consumption of too much sugar and processed foods – The more you consume sugar and processed foods, the more your chances of being magnesium deficient. Sugar does nothing to restore any nutrient or mineral to your body, but reduces the existing levels of magnesium by causing the kidney to excrete it.
3. Stress or surgery – Both psychological and physical stress result in lowering your magnesium levels. Lack of magnesium, adversely affects the stress level, creating a downward spiral for magnesium levels.
- Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications – Drugs like diuretics, antibiotics, asthma medications, estrogen, painkillers and certain anti-cancer medicines, can lower magnesium levels in the body by impairing absorption or by increasing excretion by the kidneys.
4. Calcium supplements – While you have been taking calcium supplements to improve your bone health, you might accidentally have been depleting your magnesium stores. Research has shown that when you are magnesium deficient, calcium supplementation may reduce effective magnesium absorption, utilization and retention.
Calcium supplementations can adversely effects magnesium levels whereas magnesium supplementation works to improves the calcium utilization. While some experts suggest taking 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, the correct ration depends on your levels and requirements.
5. Experiencing certain symptoms – If you have been experiencing classical clinical symptoms like facial tics, muscle spasms and cramps, seizures, anxiety, and irregular heart rhythms, chances are that you are deficient in magnesium. Other latent symptoms include, migraine pain, difficulty sleeping, depression, and chronic fatigue.
How to get more Magnesium
The best way to get your daily dose of magnesium is with a healthy diet. Magnesium is found in a wide variety of healthy foods, including leafy green vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts and seeds, unrefined whole grains, brown rice, hard tap water and milk among others.
While natural whole foods should be your preferred choice to boost magnesium and other nutrients, special care for absorption, knowledge of magnesium rich-food and adequate consumption to meet the daily requirement, makes it an overwhelming process. Therefore, experts today are recommending magnesium supplements for improved health.