Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body! This includes a plethora of essential enzyme and hormone functions. Magnesium levels in our body impact our metabolism, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, bone and teeth structure and immune function.
Magnesium deficiency is the most overlooked health problem, especially in women who suffer adverse impacts – from sleeplessness, nausea and cramps to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. In several cases, it is because symptoms don’t show until Magnesium levels fall drastically low!
Consuming Magnesium rich foods and dietary supplements may help. The incredible mineral can ease pain, help you de-stress and relax, and boost your energy levels. All while it supports your health and vital bodily functions in the most notable way!
Who May Suffer from a Magnesium Deficiency
The question today is not so much about ‘if’ we are deficient, rather about ‘how’ deficient we are. Considering this, the causes of magnesium deficiency may vary, ranging from inadequate dietary intake to loss of magnesium from the body.
People who suffer from alcohol, caffeine and/or nicotine addiction may lose more Magnesium than others. Substance abuse hampers the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. And, stress and a hectic lifestyle may also impact the Magnesium levels in the body.
In short – barring only a significantly small portion of the population, who live near the sea and consume Magnesium rich foods, grown in Magnesium rich soils, drink Magnesium enriched water, live stress-free and alcohol/caffeine/nicotine-free, may not suffer from a deficiency. Unfortunately, all of us others need additional Magnesium.
Women are especially prone with enhanced Magnesium requirements during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause that are hardly ever met.
Common Symptoms of Hypomagnesemia
Given the statistics, there is a high chance that you may be deficient, without even realizing it. While some people experience strong symptoms, others may not notice anything at all. The best course of action is to consult with a trusted Health Coach or healthcare professional and follow their advice.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Magnesium deficiency:
- Dullness, lethargy and loss of energy: If you have been experiencing sluggishness and a general dip in your energy levels, it may be due to a Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supports energy production in the body.
- Muscle weakness and cramps: Body aches, cramps and muscle pain are all early symptoms of a Magnesium deficiency. Some people also experience severe migraines and headaches.
- PMS symptoms: If you are experiencing increased pain, cramps and spasms during your menstruation, or enhanced stress and mood-swings, it may be due to lower levels of Magnesium.
- Nausea and vomiting: Magnesium deficiency may lead to nausea, vomiting and a complete loss of appetite.
- Erratic and irregular heartbeat: Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, is a serious symptom of a Magnesium deficiency. In severe cases, people also experience palpitations, an increased risk of stroke or heart failure.
Sources of Magnesium
It is very difficult to accurately measure the amount of Magnesium in your body. Healthcare professionals may estimate your Magnesium status based on your diet and health condition.
This is why it is important to meet the recommended dietary limit. For people aged 31 years or older, the recommended limit is:
- 320mg for females
- 420mg for males
Flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cocoa beans, cacao beans, cashew nuts, hazelnuts and oats are all good sources of Magnesium. Here are some of the best sources and the Magnesium content per 100 grams:
- Almonds: 270 mg
- Pumpkin seeds: 262 mg
- Dark chocolate: 176 mg
- Peanuts: 168 mg
- Popcorn: 151 mg
Tips to Enhance Magnesium Absorption
Magnesium is a wonderful mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. Here are some simple, doable tips to increase your magnesium levels through improved absorption:
- Eat magnesium-rich foods and meet the required dietary limit.
- Eat organic, whole foods. Eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables.
- Reduce your intake of calcium-rich foods/supplements (especially two hours before and after meals.)
- Avoid high-dose zinc supplements.
- Treat your vitamin D deficiency.
- Quit or reduce smoking. Similarly, avoid or reduce drinking alcohol.