When people hear the word magnesium they tend to think of the popular element used in the preparation of alloys and compounds. Interestingly, magnesium is also critical to the maintenance of normal health and function.
You see, while magnesium is a considered a micronutrient, and constitutes a mere 0.05% of your body weight, it is actually involved in a number of physiological processes within the body that are integral to its ability to function on a daily basis. With this in mind, in the ideal world your blood magnesium levels should sit between 0.75 and 0.95mmol/L, with an abundance also being stored in your bone and muscle tissue.
Now I can appreciate that these numbers may seem small. In fact, you might find it hard to believe that a compound found in such small amounts within your body can impact your health in such a big way.
But when it comes to this ‘Master Mineral’, that’s exactly the truth.
In a traditional sense, magnesium was thought to play a role in gastrointestinal health, and therefore its supplementation was often recommended to help treat both constipation and indigestion. But recent research has shown that magnesium is actually capable and responsible for much more than this in the human body.
In fact, magnesium manages to accomplish more than most of the other nutrients within our body combined.
Building on this a little further, recent research has shown that magnesium is essential for regulating calcium, potassium, and vitamin D levels, which can have implications for bone health . It has also been shown to play a key role in regulating heart functions (with any disruptions in its concentrations significantly increasing your risk of heart attack)
.Additionally, magnesium has also been shown to act as a muscle relaxant where it can reduce cramping , and is also crucial for normal kidney  and brain function .
So yeah, it’s kind of important…
As a result, we cannot afford to ignore a magnesium deficiency within the body (as they can cause absolute chaos, wreaking havoc with your health).
Unfortunately, the only source where we tend to obtain magnesium is our diet – and that isn’t a reliable option anymore. You see, through the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and other modern farming techniques, the world has seen a collective decline in soil quality, which has resulted in foods containing less magnesium than they once did.
Amazingly, as a result, most of the words population are actually deficient in magnesium (and have absolutely no idea).
Now you might be wondering how you can find out if you have a magnesium deficiency, and the answer is pretty simple – pay attention to your body. Your body shows pretty significant symptoms when experiencing a magnesium deficiency.
Causes of Low Magnesium Levels
Before we delve into the signs and symptoms of a magnesium deficiency, its important to touch on what can cause a deficiency.
Frequent use of antibiotics, cyclosporine, laxatives, phenytoin, diuretics, digoxin, and insulin can all reduce your magnesium levels in a big way. As a result, people using these sorts of treatments for a long time should certainly monitor their magnesium levels closely.
Additionally, as your body absorbs magnesium through your gut, any disruptions in your digestive system such as irritable bowels, viral or bacterial infections, diarrhea and vomiting, and ulcerative colitis, could all also lead to momentary magnesium loss from your body.
Some further factors that tend to result in magnesium deficiency are certain diseases such as pancreatitis, type-2 diabetes, and hyperthyroidism, and excessive consumption of carbonated drinks, coffee, alcohol, and salt.
In fact, a malfunctioning kidney, prolonged stress, heavy menstrual bleeding, and excessive perspiration could lower your magnesium levels as well.
So, the take home message here? Magnesium deficiency could have number of potential causes.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Now, in a medical sense, your doctor will not diagnose you with a magnesium deficiency (also known as hypomagnesaemia) unless your blood magnesium levels are lower than 0.75mmol/L.
However, as most of your magnesium (about 99%, in fact) is stored in your bone and muscle tissue, this may not give you a true representation of how much magnesium is within the body. As a result, it is integral that you pay attention to the symptoms that your body may be expressing.
These symptoms include:
Magnesium is a vital component of your muscle tissue, where it helps keep them strong and functioning well .
With this in mind, if you suffer from frequent muscle spasms, there is a high chance that they are caused by some degree of magnesium deficiency. Low magnesium levels can bring about a spasm in your muscles with the slightest tension, such as from sneezing, prolonged standing, or over-stretching to reach out for an object.
It is also common for these spasms to occur in the middle of the night, compelling the sufferer to stand or walk in order to get rid of them.
Abnormal Heart Rhythms
Magnesium works synergistically with another key mineral in calcium to help your heart beat rhythmically, while also ensuring the health and function of the muscle tissue that physically makes up the heart.
With this in mind, insufficient magnesium levels cause disruptions in this heart rhythm .
This actually explains why intravenous magnesium is one of the most commonly used treatments for atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmias. So, if you experience a flutter in your chest or miss a heartbeat often, you may very well have an arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm caused by low magnesium levels.
There is an abundance of research suggesting that magnesium deficiency can cause brain damage and neurological dysfunction, leading to depression and altered mood. This also explains why magnesium supplementation is also recommended as an additional treatment for people suffering depression and anxiety .
Taking this into consideration, if you find yourself feeling down regularly, then it may be a sign and symptom of a key magnesium deficiency.
As magnesium plays a key role in the production of various neurotransmitters and the health of the cardiovascular system, it promotes healthy blood flow to the brain. As a result, it has been shown that individuals who suffer from frequent bouts of migraines often have lower levels of magnesium in their blood and tissues .
As a result, deficient magnesium levels are highly likely to increase the frequency that you experience headaches.
And finally, while the above 4 symptoms are the most well supported, there are some others that may occur during times of magnesium deficiency.
These may include a loss of appetite, general muscle weakness or fatigue, excessive nausea and vomiting, unexplained tremors, high blood pressure, personality changes, mental confusion, and poor memory.
Some experts also believe that restless leg syndrome could be a result of low magnesium levels.
What should you eat to improve your magnesium levels?
Now, we previously mentioned that our key source of magnesium’s actually comes form the food that we eat.
Unfortunately, the type of foods we eat in the western world today are not all that conducive towards maintaining optimal magnesium levels. As a result, most people hardly manage to fulfil their body’s magnesium requirements through their diet.
The recommended daily allowance of Magnesium for adults above 18 years of age is 400-420 mg for males and 310-320 mg for women.
However, these levels generally vary depending on various factors such as pregnancy, lactation, age, underlying medical illnesses, etc. Even if you manage to meet these requirements, other factors such as alcohol, soda, coffee, and salt in your diet, or gastro-intestinal disorders are probably making it difficult for your body to absorb all of this magnesium.
So, what should you eat and how much of it should you eat to give your body enough magnesium?
Here’s a table of foods rich in dietary magnesium and their exact magnesium content to help you make some informed decisions.
|Food||Magnesium content/ serving|
|Almonds, 1 ounce dry and roasted||80|
|Spinach, ½ a cup boiled||78|
|Cashews, 1 ounce, roasted||74|
|Peanuts, ¼ cup roasted||63|
|Soymilk, 1 cup||61|
|Whole wheat bread, 2 slices||46|
|Avocado, 1 cup||44|
|Low fat Yoghurt, plain, 8 ounces||42|
|Brown rice, cooked, ½ cup||42|
|Breakfast cereals, fortified with magnesium||40|
How Can You Correct or Prevent Magnesium Deficiencies?
If you have a magnesium deficiency (or happen to fall into one of the high-risk groups likely to develop a deficiency) or find yourself suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you probably need to supplement with magnesium as well as increase the amount of magnesium-rich foods in your.
Even if your doctor has been unable to determine the cause of your symptoms and discomfort (and the enumerable blood exams you have had to undergo have all come back with normal results), there’s still a genuine chance that magnesium is the one creating all of this havoc.
Now the key here is to find a quality magnesium supplement that works, and works well.
The Best Magnesium Supplement Product Reviews
Taking this into consideration, we wanted to give you some great options that you can implement into your diet immediately. Each of these offer a great option in their own right, in which they make up what we believe to be the best three magnesium supplement available on the market.
This magnesium supplement by Doctors Best is hands down the most popular on the market at the moment, where a huge number of consumers have applauded its effectiveness.
This particular option provides a solid dosage of 200mg per serve, making ideal for those individuals who already obtain a bit of magnesium from their diet, and simply need that extra boost.
NOW have been a favourite of ours for a long time, ultimately due to their ability to consistently produce great quality supplements with scientific evidence to support their use, at extremely affordable price points – and their magnesium supplement is no different.
Providing a highly potent dosage of 400mg per serve, this supplement ensures you cover all your bases by meeting the daily requirements in a single dosage. And as a bonus, this is also one of the more affordable options on the market, making it perfect for those on a budget.
Our final option be Nature Made has been extremely well received from those within the health industry, with people applauding its effectiveness.
Similar to our previous option by NOW, this supplement provides a highly potent dosage of 400mg per serve – you really can’t go wrong here.
When it comes to magnesium, it’s in your best interest to absolutely ensure you have enough available with your body. With it demonstrating links to heart and bone health, muscle and brain function, and mood and depression, it truly is one of the most important minerals within the entire body.
If you have had any experience with magnesium deficiency or magnesium supplementation then we would love to hear about it – so, please drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.