Magnesium is an important part of your diet. Are you getting enough of this important mineral?
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by every organ in the body for a range of activities including bone, protein and fatty acid formation. It is also essential in activating vitamins B and D, relaxing muscles, regulating calcium levels and helping blood to clot and is required for the secretion of insulin. Many of us do not get enough magnesium in our diets. Adults require about 300 to 400 milligrams a day.
Where is it found?
Magnesium is found in varying levels in nuts, whole grains, dark green vegetables, fish and meat. Rich sources include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, bran, tofu, potatoes, spinach and baked beans.
Extensive research is continuing into magnesium health benefits, but researchers believe maintaining adequate levels is beneficial in treating and managing the following conditions: asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, migraines, osteoporosis, pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), premenstrual tension and restless leg syndrome.
Some studies indicate that magnesium deficiency increases the risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis and increasing magnesium intake may prevent the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
Magnesium is also thought to play a role in the sleep cycle.
There are no negative aspects to maintaining sufficient magnesium levels through diet or supplementation, but excessive supplementation can lead to diarrheoa and stomach upsets.
Magnesium supplements can interfere with certain medications, so check with your doctor before taking supplements.
When not to take it
People with kidney or heart disease should consult their doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
How to take it
Everyone needs to make sure they have adequate magnesium levels. See a dietitian if you think you do not get enough from your diet. Too much stress, processed food, caffeine and alcohol, or heavy periods, can lower your levels. It’s relatively easy to become mildly deficient in magnesium, but simple dietary changes or supplements can restore your levels. Magnesium chloride supplements are generally considered to be the form that allow for the greatest uptake and availability.