Magnesium Deficiency: A Growing Problem

By Senad Jaskic
Tagged in Lifestyle and Research

According to the text, "Micronutrients: Metabolic Tuning - Prevention - Therapy", magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is essential to our health. It is required for over 300 essential metabolic reactions in the human body such as an energy production, cardiovascular system function, calcium influx into cells, vitamin metabolism, and synthesis of hormones, proteins, glutathione, and more. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for adult males, 310-320 mg/day for non-pregnant adult females, and 350 mg/day for pregnant females. Magnesium can be found in many foods, such as almonds, cashews, halibut, green leafy vegetables, cereals, oatmeal, rice, and other whole grains.

Magnesium deficiency is prevalent in the United States because the average American diet consists of highly processed foods that lack basic nutrients. Some things that can increase the risk of the magnesium deficiency include: increased metabolic requirements in pregnancy and competitive sports, prolonged stress, lack of dietary intake of magnesium, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and certain endocrine and metabolic disorders.

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: anxiety, depression, fatigue, body weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, personality changes, hyperactivity, sleep disorders, migraines and headaches, constipation, hypertension, abnormal heartbeat, among many others. As we can see, magnesium affects many areas of human physiology and is essential to our functioning.

Magnesium supplements may help with constipation, stress, insomnia, decreased appetite, muscle tension and cramps, fatigue and muscle weakness, kidney stone prevention, PMS, migraine headaches, and even high blood pressure. Overall, it is a great supplement to help with many ailments.

Different kinds of magnesium supplements on the market can be confusing; it is hard to know which kind is the best or which one to take. The most common kinds of magnesium that can be found in your local health food store are magnesium citrate, glycinate, aspartate, malate, succinate, fumarate, carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. Many different kinds... but which one is the best?

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, a well respected practitioner of functional medicine and nutrition, the forms of magnesium that absorb the best are magnesium citrate, glycinate and aspartate, and secondly magnesium malate, succinate and fumarate. He advises avoiding magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide since they are poorly absorbed and are also the cheapest form that are commonly found in health food stores. Dr. Hyman also stresses that people with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under medical supervision.

Let’s talk about a couple of the research studies on magnesium. According to this study from 2009, magnesium deficiency is so prevalent that up to 75% of Americans are magnesium-deficient. This study also mentions that the mineral content of magnesium in our food has been declining throughout the years. This is not only the case for magnesium, but for many other minerals, since our soil has become highly depleted of minerals. That is a large amount of people whom are magnesium deficient, if you ask me, especially for a mineral that is so important to many functions of the body. Another study published in 2016 was a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studies on the effects of magnesium on blood pressure. They analyzed 34 trials involving 2,028 participants. The study (details in the link above) found a causal relationship between magnesium supplementation and lowered blood pressure.

In conclusion, it is important to eat foods rich in magnesium because magnesium is an essential mineral and is involved in many metabolic reactions in the body; it is needed for almost all bodily functions. Magnesium can also be taken in supplement form, but make sure to get the form that is most easily-absorbed.



Magnesium Deficiency: A Growing Problem

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Authored by: Senad Jaskic on 15 November 2018

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