Magnesium | Information, Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

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What is Magnesium?

As the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, magnesium is essential to your good health. Approximately half of your total body magnesium is found in your bones and the other half is distributed throughout cells of your body tissues and organs. This critical mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps your bones strong.

Only 1% of magnesium is found in your blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant.1 Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.2-3 Magnesium plays a role in preventing and managing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Learn more about the many health benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium Deficient

The 1999-2000 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that substantial numbers of adults in the United States fail to consume recommended amounts of magnesium.

Research done throughout the world shows that the United States RDA for Magnesium is not sufficient to make up for the amount lost in bowel movements and sweat. Aggravating matters more, sports, physical work, mental exertion, competition or other stresses, all increase your magnesium requirements.

The shocking part is amounts actually consumed in American diets is even less than the RDA! The amounts consumed are generally far less than enough to maintain equilibrium in metabolic balance studies. For many people, dietary intake may not be high enough to promote an optimal magnesium status, which may be protective against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.7-8

    Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

    Chronic or excessive vomiting and diarrhea may also result in magnesium depletion.1,10 It is interesting to note that healthy kidneys limit urinary excretion of magnesium to compensate for low dietary intake. However, some medications cause excessive loss of magnesium in urine as a side effect. Also, poorly-controlled diabetes and alcohol abuse causes your body to lose excessive amounts of magnesium.11-18

    Magnesium Deficiency Causes

    If your digestive system or kidney function is compromised, it can significantly influence your magnesium status because magnesium is absorbed in the intestines and then transported through the blood to cells and tissues.

    The bio-availability of Magnesium is reasonable with one-third to one-half of dietary magnesium being absorbed into your body.9-10 Gastrointestinal disorders that impair absorption such as Crohn’s disease can limit your body’s ability to absorb magnesium. These disorders can deplete your stores of magnesium and may result in magnesium deficiency.

Recommended Daily Requirements of Magnesium

  • Children:
      • 1-3 years old: 80 milligrams
      • 4-8 years old: 130 milligrams
      • 9-13 years old: 240 milligrams
      • 14-18 years old (boys): 410 milligrams
      • 14-18 years old (girls): 360 milligrams
  • Adult females: 310 milligrams
  • Pregnancy: 360-400 milligrams
  • Breastfeeding women: 320-360 milligrams
  • Adult males: 400 milligram

The Best Way to Get Extra Magnesium

Eat a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables (especially dark-green, leafy vegetables with chlorophyll) to increase dietary magnesium intake. Here is a list of foods high in magnesium.

Magnesium tablets also may be recommended by your doctor, although taken alone, it can cause diarrhea.27 A more balanced approach is to take Magnesium along with your calcium supplement as the two minerals work together in several ways to maintain balance. It is always best to get any mineral from a food, so we recommend AlgaeCal®, a marine algae naturally containing a balance of magnesium, calcium, trace minerals and phyto-nutrients in a whole food complex.

It is important to have the cause, severity, and consequences of low blood levels of magnesium evaluated by your doctor. If you have kidney disease you may not be able to excrete excess amounts of magnesium, and you should not consume magnesium supplements unless prescribed by a physician.

References


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To find out how much magnesium you are getting from your diet try our bone health calculator.

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