Magnesium is one of the most underrated minerals you didn’t realize you’re probably deficient in.
Ideally, you should have enough magnesium to complement the calcium in your body. But, although we hear plenty of advice to get more calcium – and it’s added to many foods, we don’t hear much about magnesium.
Even though it too is essential for strong, healthy bones.
And that’s just beginning of why you need adequate levels of magnesium for optimum health, especially for good, sound sleep.
Every cell of your body needs magnesium. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral in your body.
Your bones contain about 50%-60% of it, and the rest is in your cells.
It’s a vital co-factor for the function of your enzymes, the worker-bee biocompounds in your body that carry out most of the actual work. It’s involved in up to 600 various biochemical reactions and processes in your body.
Magnesium is also an electrolyte. That means it’s essential for muscle contraction and relaxation. And the muscles affected by lack of magnesium include the Ultimate Muscle – your heart.
Signs You May Be Deficient in Magnesium
(Most Americans almost certainly are.)
* Muscle twitching. This is especially common in your legs while you sleep.
* Lack of bowel regularity.
* Feeling on edge and nervous.
* Elevated high blood pressure.
* Personality changes.
* Abnormal heartbeat.
* Chronic low energy, loss of appetite and nausea.
Dealing with stress uses up your stored magnesium. In turn, becoming low in magnesium keeps your brain from functioning optimally, which stresses you out. So it’s a negative feedback loop.
And that’s why consuming more magnesium often makes people feel better. Low levels of it are linked to depression while higher levels are linked to better moods.
In one study of 8,800 people below age 65, people with the lowest levels of magnesium had a 22% higher risk of depression.
(If you are experiencing depression, get professional help. Eat a healthy diet, but don’t rely on that to cure depression.)
Blood Sugar Levels and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Magnesium plays a role in insulin sensitivity and maintaining normal levels of blood glucose and insulin.
In one review study of over 600,000 people, those with the highest dietary intake of magnesium had a 22% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In a study of type 2 diabetics, those given magnesium supplements over a period of three months demonstrated increased insulin sensitivity compared to the control group.
48% of people with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium.
Strong Bones Need Magnesium as Well as Calcium
Research shows consuming more magnesium improves the strength of your bones, raises bone crystal formation and reduces risk of osteoporosis in older women.
Also, remember that calcium needs magnesium. Both minerals work together with Vitamin D to form healthy bones and teeth.
In fact, the overemphasis on calcium versus magnesium could be leading many, especially older women, to overconsume calcium, a heart risk.
According to a study in 2017, the optimal ratio is 2 : 1.
That is, eat twice as much calcium as magnesium – which is easiest to do if you get both from natural food sources.
Other Risks for Magnesium Deficiency
* Chronic digestive issues
* If you already have type 2 diabetes
* Older persons
What Foods Contain a Lot of Magnesium?
* Whole grains, including whole wheat and quinoa
* Beans and other legumes
* Milk and dairy
* Green leafy vegetables, including spinach
* Nuts and seeds
* Dark chocolate
Plain water can also contain magnesium, though of course how much varies a lot with the supply source.
This is a difficult field, with issues. It’s a jungle.
There’re many supplements that contain various compounds of magnesium, including:
* Magnesium aspartate
* Magnesium citrate
* Magnesium lactate
* Magnesium chloride
* Magnesium glycinate
* Magnesium orotate
* Magnesium carbonate
There is NO standard or agreement about which form of magnesium is best, or how to take it.
Because magnesium is highly active in maintaining colon regularity, it’s included in many over-the-counter laxatives.
And supplements of magnesium can work for that purpose as well – sometimes urgently soon after you take them, so be careful.
Clearly, it’s best to consume an adequate amount of magnesium on an on-going basis so you avoid the problem in the first place.
One mineral supplement company sells a product that is simply pure magnesium refined into simple atoms. If the company’s claims are true, its magnesium must be the most absorbable.
But, again, there is no consensus. I do believe food should be everyone’s first choice. But taking a supplement may help make up for a chronic deficiency, until you consume enough magnesium in your daily diet to maintain optimal levels.
There’s also magnesium in many over-the-counter remedies for heartburn and digestive problems.
If you have a medical condition, especially if you’re taking heart medications, water pills or antibiotics, check with your doctor before taking any magnesium supplement.