In 2009, the World Health Organization published a report (1) that stated that 75% of Americans consumed less magnesium than they needed. Some experts have even gone to say that there’s a nationwide mineral deficiency. This may not seem like such a big deal, until you find out that magnesium is actually the 4th most abundant mineral in the body.
Why Magnesium Is Important
Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
It also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm
How To Spot A Magnesium Deficiency
50-60% magnesium in the body is stored in the bones, which makes it complicated to diagnose nutrient needs in patients.
Certain people are more prone to magnesium deficiency, such as people with gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, alcohol dependence or adults over the age of 50.
Therefore, it’s important to look out for these signs to better communicate your needs to your doctor or naturopath.
32 Signs To Look Out For:
- Memory loss
- Potassium deficiency: may cause extreme thirst, fluid retention, and irritability
- Muscle cramps
- Heart issues
- Blood clots
- Difficulty swallowing
- Liver and kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Calcium deficiency
- Bowel disease
- Type II diabetes
- Respiratory difficulties
- Fertility/childbearing issues: Getting or staying pregnant, preeclampsia, preterm labor
- Tooth decay
- Raynaud’s syndrome: may cause cold fingers or toes, color changes in skin due to temperature changes, and numbness in extremities
- Personality changes: often similar to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium
|Birth to 6 months||30 mg*||30 mg*|
|7–12 months||75 mg*||75 mg*|
|1–3 years||80 mg||80 mg|
|4–8 years||130 mg||130 mg|
|9–13 years||240 mg||240 mg|
|14–18 years||410 mg||360 mg||400 mg||360 mg|
|19–30 years||400 mg||310 mg||350 mg||310 mg|
|31–50 years||420 mg||320 mg||360 mg||320 mg|
|51+ years||420 mg||320 mg|
*Adequate Intake (AI) source: NIH
How To Get More Magnesium
The great thing about magnesium deficiency is that you can easily reverse the condition by incorporating more magnesium-rich foods into your diet.
It’s also important to diversify your diet to include vitamin D3, vitamin B1 (thiamine), selenium (found in brazil nuts), vitamin E (can be found in avocado) and Vitamin B6 (found in lentils) to ensure proper absorption of the nutrient.
This chart of food rich in the mineral, made by Dietitians of Canada, is particularly helpful.
You can also absorb magnesium through your skin by applying special creams or magnesium oil and taking epsom salt baths.
These are really simple and easy ways to boost your mineral levels, but you’ll quickly notice how much healthier you’ll feel!