Magnesium is an essential mineral required for an array of bodily functions. In fact, it is responsible for up to 600 enzymatic functions. Although, present naturally in many unprocessed foods, deficiency is common and leads to an array of health conditions. Prevalence of magnesium deficiency occurs in older people, and is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Recommended intakes rang from 320-420mg for Adults, yet many Americans are only achieving intakes of around 250mg. Changes to the diet and agriculture is said to be responsible for such a decline in dietary intakes of magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiency: Side Effects
Long term deficiency in magnesium changes biomedical pathway, thus increasing the risk of illness over time. Magnesium has been shown to play a crucial role in treatment of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes and osteoporosis. Further studies, have shown, magnesium additionally plays a vital role in protecting the brain from aging and improving cognitive health. This has strong implications in the prevention, management and rehabilitation of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Stroke and Parkinson’s. Furthermore, The Institute of Food and Technologist have recognized magnesium, as one of the top 8 nutrients for brain health.
Other health conditions associated with a lack of magnesium in the diet include; depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ADHD, Epilepsy, Sleep disorders (insomnia), migraine, cluster headaches, premenstrual syndrome, angina, cardiac arrhythmias, Asthma, dental carries, liver disease, bowel disease and kidney disease.
With such a long list of associated health conditions linked to magnesium, you would assume this would generate wide spread concern. However, magnesium deficiency often goes undetected with many physicians relying on unreliable serum magnesium tests. Only 1% of magnesium present in the body in found in the blood, therefore blood tests provide an inadequate measure of all magnesium present in the body.
Where to get Magnesium
Good sources of magnesium are found in natural, unprocessed foods. Given average American consist of highly processed, unnatural and nutrient poor foods, it is not surprising deficiency occurs. Foods to consider adding to the diet to meet the Recommended Daily Allowance of 320-420mg of magnesium include; rice bran, molasses, nuts, seeds, unsweetened cocoa, rice, green leafy vegetables.
When dietary sources aren’t enough to meet recommendations, supplementation either oral or transdermal, can be helpful. As with all supplements, there are many different types that have varying absorption rates. The main forms of supplementation of magnesium are in the forms of; magnesium oxides, magnesium acid complexes and magnesium chelates. It has bee found that magnesium chelates are most effective in terms of absorption, as they rely on protein pathways from absorption compared to other form relying on solubility.
Magnesium assists in boosting energy, calming nerves and anxiety, treats insomnia, aids digestion, relives muscle pain, regulates heart beat, prevents hypertension relives and prevents migraines, prevents osteoporosis, therefore addressing deficiency is vital to gaining optimal health.
Balance is key to ensuring optimal health, with the body containing approximately 25 grams of magnesium. 50% of magnesium is stored in our bones with the rest found in our muscles, tissues and bodily fluids including the blood. Toxicity is unlikely, and an occurrence has never been reported.