What Happens When You Are Magnesium Deficient?
The human body is a marvelous and complicated machine, and research shows that magnesium plays a crucial role in keeping it running well. Magnesium, along with fellow electrolytes calcium, potassium, chloride, and sodium are all necessary for the proper function of the brain, nerves, heart, eyes, immune system, and muscles. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, an essential component of approximately 300 biochemical reactions, and despite its importance, up to as many 80 percent of the population isn’t hitting their daily recommended intake!
A magnesium deficiency can manifest itself in a variety of common symptoms and health conditions, but is often overlooked as a possible cause. If you are experiencing any of the following, low magnesium may be to blame.
MUSCLE CRAMPS & SPASMS Cramps, back spasms and charley horses may seem random, but sore, easily fatigued muscles are one of the most common signs of magnesium deficiency.
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME & INSOMNIA Studies show magnesium can improve symptoms in those who suffer from sleep issues and chronic fatigue. Magnesium is required for the sleep-regulating neurotransmitter GABA to function properly, and chronic fatigue symptoms can be improved by magnesium supplements.
DEPRESSION, ANXIETY & MOOD Without magnesium, which protects excitatory NMDA receptors in the brain, calcium and glutamate can bombard them unchecked, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
ADRENAL FATIGUE & THYROID PROBLEMS Magnesium helps rebalance your hormonal systems and regulate the stress hormone cortisol. It is also a commonly overlooked factor in thyroid problems, as magnesium plays an essential role in thyroid hormone production.
MIGRAINES At least 50 percent of migraines are believed to be magnesium deficient, with 60 percent of chronic migraines having genetic changes that prevent them from metabolizing magnesium. Magnesium has been proven effective at preventing the brain signaling that causes aura, decreased release/prevention of pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain, and relaxing blood vessels in the brain narrowed by serotonin.
CARDIOVASCULAR ISSUES Magnesium is essential to regulating blood pressure, as it relaxes blood vessels, and deficiency in the mineral has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease by 50 to 80 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
INSULIN RESISTANCE & DIABETES Half of the U.S. population has some type of insulin resistance, though studies show that increased magnesium intake leads to decreased risk of metabolic syndrome and improved insulin sensitivity. There may also be a link between magnesium and improved triglyceride levels, a common component of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
BRAIN FOG & MEMORY PROBLEMS Magnesium is vital for brain function, helping regulate brain receptors necessary to learning and memory. It also supports the adapting, healing, and adding of neural pathways, meaning that proper magnesium levels may help slow down or even reverse cognitive decline.
LOW BONE DENSITY Research shows a strong link between magnesium deficiency and low bone density, which increases your risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Magnesium is essential in the absorption and metabolism of calcium, a crucial component of bone health.
ADHD Scientists have found a link between the disorder and magnesium deficiency in children, with studies showing a significant decrease in hyperactivity symptoms in those who supplemented with magnesium versus those who did not.
ASTHMA A bronchodilator, magnesium sulfate helps alleviate asthma by relaxing the bronchial muscles and expanding airways, allowing for greater airflow in and out of the lungs.
INFLAMMATION Responsible for most chronic conditions, inflammation and magnesium deficiency are strongly linked. Magnesium helps decrease inflammation markers CRP and NF-kB found in blood labs.
If you suspect you’re not getting enough magnesium and that it may play a role in your health issues, you can focus on adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Some examples are listed below, with a more comprehensive list here.
Spinach, 1 cup: 157 mg
Swiss chard, 1 cup: 154 mg
Dark chocolate, 1 square: 95 mg
Pumpkin seeds, ⅛ cup: 92 mg
Almonds, 1 ounce: 80 mg
Black beans, ½ cup: 60 mg
Avocado, 1 medium: 58 mg
Salmon, 1 fillet: 53 mg
Kefir, 1 cup: 50 mg
Figs, ½ cup: 50 mg
Banana, 1 medium: 32 mg
It can sometimes be hard to replenish your magnesium through diet alone, so if you are eating enough of this mineral and are still experiencing symptoms, consider utilizing magnesium supplements. Not sure which brand, which form of magnesium, how much, and when to take it? Please contact me as I can help guide you safely through the magnesium maze!