Life moves quickly. Even when we try to eat a healthy diet, it is still possible to miss important nutrients. Sometimes our stress levels demand more of certain vitamins and minerals so we can safeguard against health problems. Magnesium is one of those minerals that is far more important than we have realized in the past.
Magnesium is necessary for hundreds of chemical reactions that take place in the body which keep us healthy and active. The benefits include:
- Maintaining healthy bone density and promoting bone growth. Our bones need calcium to stay strong and healthy and magnesium allows our bones to absorb it properly.
- Helping to prevent migraine headaches. It acts as a vasodilator to increase proper blood flow and promotes neurotransmitter functions during which pain-reducing hormones are released.
- Regulating sugar metabolism to prevent Type-2 Diabetes. Research has shown that people who suffer from magnesium deficiencies are at greater risk for developing Type-2 Diabetes.
- Lowering the risks of heart disease and strokes. The abilities of magnesium to dilate blood vessels and relieve stress are especially important for those at risk for heart complications or strokes.
- Relaxing and loosening tight muscles resulting from exercise or stress.
- Muscles are also found in your digestive tract. Relaxing those muscles aids in digestion and helps to relieve and prevent constipation.
- Aiding in the production and use of Melatonin, a hormone which our own bodies produce that controls our sleep-wake cycles. People with low magnesium levels also experience more stress and less restorative sleep.
- Staying active throughout your life. Magnesium activates the release of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to regulate your energy for longer, more advanced workouts.
- Combatting depression which has been linked to low levels of magnesium. It fights depression by enhancing mood and relaxing the nervous system.
- Soothing the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Not everyone suffers from PMS but for those who do, magnesium helps by relieving stress, insomnia, and bloating.
It may not be possible to identify or understand all the ways in which magnesium can benefit our health, but there is still more that is known about it.
- Chronic inflammation has been linked to low magnesium levels. One study showed that children who suffered from inflammation not only had low magnesium levels but also higher insulin, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation.
- Because of its work as a vasodilator and stress reliever, it helps reduce high blood pressure.
Magnesium also uses amino acids to create proteins, it repairs and creates RNA and DNA, and it converts food into energy. It is no wonder that the lack of magnesium can cause so many health issues.
What are the Effects of Magnesium Deficiency?
Hypomagnesemia, or magnesium deficiency, is underdiagnosed because the obvious symptoms do not show themselves until magnesium levels are dangerously low. It can be caused by the body’s own loss of magnesium or by poor diet. Even though fewer than two percent of the population will suffer from hypomagnesemia, at least seventy-five percent do not meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 400 mg per day. Symptoms of hypomagnesemia include:
- high blood pressure
- arrythmia or irregular heartbeat
- asthma or the constriction of airways
- weakened bones or osteoporosis
- mental or physical fatigue
- muscular weakness, cramping, and twitching
- some mental health conditions including depression, delirium, and hallucinations
Even if you do not suffer from hypomagnesemia that has been diagnosed by a medical health professional, it can still be possible to improve your health through the consumption of dietary supplements and foods rich in magnesium.
What are the Best Foods?
Many delicious and nutritious foods are high in magnesium content. They include:
- beans, peas, and chickpeas
- almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and Brazil nuts
- bean curd or tofu
- dark chocolate
- pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds
- fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and mackerel
- oats, wheat, and barley known as whole grains
- leafy greens, kale, and spinach
Magnesium is also added as a nutritional supplement to many processed foods such as breakfast cereals. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet should provide the recommended daily intake of magnesium, but there are supplements when diet alone fails.
Eating healthy foods is the best way to ensure that you are getting the proper amount of magnesium in your diet, but there can be problems with that strategy. Sometimes our hectic schedules do not allow for the preparation and consumption of healthy meals. We eat what we can get on the run and oftentimes, that food is lacking the nutritional value our bodies need for the long haul. Supplements can help us make up for what our diet lacks.
There are many forms of magnesium supplements.
- Milk of Magnesia contains magnesium oxide. It is a popular remedy for constipation.
- Magnesium citrate is also used for constipation.
- Magnesium chloride is a common, all-purpose supplement.
- Magnesium malate is food additive that improves flavor and acidity.
- Magnesium lactate is also used as a food additive.
- Magnesium L-threonate increases magnesium in brain cells.
- Magnesium taurate helps control and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Magnesium glycinate calms inflammation and helps to relieve anxiety and depression.
- Magnesium orotate helps improve heart health.
- Magnesium sulfate is also known as Epsom salt. Many people find comfort and relief for tired, achy muscles by soaking in warm water infused with Epsom salt.
It follows that one supplement will not be effective for every condition, but the variety of supplements available should address most if not all concerns.
Consult Your Health Care Provider
If you feel that you could benefit from adding a magnesium supplement to your diet, consult your doctor, health care provider, pharmacist, or Meridian chiropractor first. Be sure to advise him or her of your concerns, your current health condition, any medications you are taking, and any relevant medical history so that the most helpful supplement in the correct dosage amount can be suggested. To learn more about magnesium and bone health, contact a chiropractor near you.