Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?


Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults in the United States. One of the reasons we are getting less magnesium is the result of a poor diet that is high in alcohol, caffeine, sugar and highly processed foods.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is involved in over 300 essential biochemical reactions. I consider magnesium to be the ultimate “relaxer” because it is beneficial in reducing cramps, high blood pressure, stress, headaches, constipation, insomnia and anxiety. It also helps create “energy” by activating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and plays an essential role in regulating levels of calcium and potassium.

The best way to maintain healthy magnesium levels to make sure you are getting plenty of dark green leafy vegetables. Avocados, seeds and nuts, some wild fish, squash, beans, quinoa, dark chocolate, and other plant foods are also good sources of the mineral. Even though there are many food sources of magnesium some individuals have difficulty absorbing the mineral due to digestive disorders, disease states or medications. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is around 310 to 420 mg depending on age and gender, although some researchers believe we may need as much as 600 to 900 mg/day for optimal health. For this reason, some people may benefit from magnesium supplementation. The best absorbed magnesium supplements are magnesium citrate (for constipation), chelate (found in food) or glycinate, with typical dosing of 200-600 mg/day depending on individual needs.

There are few risks associated with magnesium supplementation, but if you experience diarrhea, nausea or low blood pressure you may be taking too much. If you have heart disease or kidney problems, consult your physician before taking magnesium supplements, as they can adversely affect these conditions.