Can a single nutrient help you sleep better, ease tension, reduce muscle and joint pain and improve heart health? The super nutrient you are looking for is magnesium, an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is vital for optimal health. Modern diets are very low in magnesium due to soil depletion and abundance in processed foods. Deficiency in our days is unfortunately very common. Research actually shows that about 80% of Americans have very low magnesium levels.
How do I know if I have low magnesium levels?
Magnesium deficiency is often the root of the following symptoms:
- High blood pressure and heart disease
- Stress and anxiety
- Irritability and nervousness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Joint pain
- Poor digestion
- Headaches and migraines
- Poor memory
- Blood sugar imbalance (including carbohydrate cravings)
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Fatigue, low energy levels
Magnesium can help you with:
Magnesium improves sleep and encourages a sense of relaxation and calmness. People who can’t sleep possibly suffer from magnesium deficiency resulting in stress, tension and muscle spasms.
Aches & pains
Magnesium fights lactic acid build-up which causes your muscles to become tight and sore. It helps cramps disappear by relaxing muscles.
Optimal Bone and Heart Health
When magnesium is lacking in the diet calcium is not properly absorbed, leading to low calcium in bones and teeth and an overabundance of calcium in joints, arteries and soft tissues. Too much calcium causes hardening of the arteries leading to cardiovascular disease and stiff joints leading to arthritis.
Magnesium is extremely important for the metabolic reactions in the body that utilize food energy to produce energy the body can use for everyday activities and body repair. It is vital for the function of enzymes that regulate digestion and carbohydrate balance. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes.
Magnesium has an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions. Magnesium deficiency leads to constipation, whereas magnesium supplementation can help the bowel muscles to relax and contract as they should to enable regular bowel movement.
Magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is found in large amounts in:
- Nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Seeds such as pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Yogurt and kefir
How much do we need?
Magnesium requirements vary according to age.
Children aged 1-3 years old need 80 mg of magnesium per day. Children aged 4-8 years old need 130 mg and children from 9 to 13 year old need 240 mg per day.
Older children from 14 years old and adults need around 400 mg of magnesium per day. More specifically women need about 320 mg and men 420 mg per day.
Take Home Message:
- Magnesium deficiency is very common
- Increasing magnesium levels can significantly improve your health by boosting your metabolism, helping you get better quality sleep and relax, improving your digestion and heart health, and boosting brain function.
- Check out the signs of magnesium deficiency listed in this article and if you suspect you are deficient increase magnesium rich foods in your diet and consider taking a magnesium supplement for one or two months.