How much do you know about magnesium?
Maybe you have memories from school involving magnesium and fun science experiments. Perhaps you know that magnesium is important to health, but you can’t quite remember why this is the case. You know it’s a mineral.
For most people, the above is about all that they know when it comes to magnesium — and that’s a problem. It’s time to delve deeper into the magnesium world; doing so is crucial to your health and well-being.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is classed as a macro-mineral, meaning that it’s a mineral that is vital to human life. The importance of magnesium really can’t be underestimated; it’s essential to almost every cellular function in the human body.
In recent years, there has been more understanding about the importance of magnesium — and also the severe levels of deficiency in the general populace. It’s estimated that only 25% of people are consuming the required amount of magnesium on a daily basis; so it’s bad news for everyone else.
Why Are People Deficient In Magnesium?
Food has become less nutritious over the past few decades, due to over-farming and mass production. This has meant that it’s simply not as possible to get as much magnesium from the standard diet as it used to be.
There are also theories involving calcium, which is added to a huge number of foods. It’s almost impossible to find a yogurt or milk that doesn’t extol the benefits of its “added calcium for healthy bones!”. Calcium is known to deplete magnesium, so if you have been consuming more calcium than you need, then it could have been reducing the magnesium in your body.
How Do I Know If I’m Magnesium Deficient?
A blood test can confirm a magnesium deficiency. A doctor will usually order a test is you exhibit any of the classic symptoms of deficiency, which are:
- Irritable, or having a quick temper
- Insomnia and other sleep-related problems
- Muscular aches and pains despite no obvious injury
- Anxiety, depression, or any other mental health condition can be exacerbated by magnesium deficiency
- Sensitivity to noise.
- Unexplained muscle spasms.
- For women, a lack of magnesium can make period pain worse or more prolonged.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it might be worth seeking medical advice. The most common symptoms to look out for are the muscle aches and spasms; magnesium has a huge part to play in muscle health, so this may be where you first notice an issue.
Furthermore, magnesium deficiency is also believed to be a major factor in a number of health conditions. If you have any of these conditions, it’s worth talking with your doctor about trying a magnesium supplement to see if you can benefit.
What Foods Are Rich In Magnesium?
If you want to ensure you’re getting enough magnesium, then examining your diet and adding in magnesium-rich foods is a good way to do so.
There are a variety of different sources of magnesium, all of which carry other health benefits as well. You will find magnesium most predominantly in dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale or broccoli. Admittedly, these vegetables aren’t to everyone’s taste, so it’s worth trying kale powder to try and ensure you get your daily allowance if you’d rather avoid the vegetables themselves.
Other options for magnesium include seafood, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and dried fruit. Adding more of these items into your diet will definitely have an impact on how you feel. However, if you’re severely deficient in magnesium, you may want to talk with a health professional and consider further supplementation.
How Should I Supplement Magnesium?
If you decide to supplement magnesium, there are a number of ways this can be achieved.
- You can take magnesium pills. These tend to be large, white tablets that you may initially find difficult to swallow. You should look for a tablet that contains 300mg of magnesium for optimal benefit. For children, around 200mg per day is sufficient, but you should always check with a doctor before giving your kids a magnesium supplement.
- You can also take magnesium in ionic form, which you mix with water. If we’re being honest, this doesn’t taste amazing — in fact, it can be outright disgusting and oddly salty. However, there’s some evidence to suggest that ionic magnesium is better absorbed, so it might be worth getting used to. The best way to balance the taste out is to use only a small amount of your daily dose per glass of water; the taste is less obvious when in small quantities. This will also encourage you to drink more water, which is never a bad thing!
- You can buy magnesium sprays, which are useful if you struggle to absorb magnesium through other forms. Magnesium is transdermal, so you should get a good dose from a spray. You can buy a premade spray or make your own from magnesium crystals; both are effective. And a fun fact: magnesium spray is an incredibly effective natural deodorant!
Is It Possible To Ingest Too Much Magnesium?
Yes, and the side effects can be very unpleasant.
It’s normal to feel a tingling sensation if you use magnesium on the skin. This should subside in a few days. If it doesn’t, then cease use and consult a doctor.
On the less pleasant end of the scale, an excess of magnesium can cause nausea and diarrhea. If you experience these symptoms after taking a magnesium supplement, then you need to lower the dose that you take in future. It’s best to start slowly when it comes to magnesium supplements, then build up to your daily optimal amount as your body adjusts.
If you feel particularly unwell after taking a magnesium supplement, then seek a medical professional for further advice.
So there we have it; everything you’ve ever needed to know about magnesium and why it’s so important. It’s worth increasing your intake of magnesium and seeing if it makes a difference to your family’s life.