The world of nutrition is a confusing place. There are so many vitamins and minerals you need to get enough of and try to balance them all out in your diet. Everyone knows about the importance of vitamin C or calcium, but what about the lesser-known nutrients? Magnesium, for instance, isn’t talked about as much as it should be because it has a huge effect on your health. It works in the background to make a lot of things work properly, and having a magnesium deficiency can cause major health problems.

Magnesium and Other Nutrients

Most people are aware of the need to get enough calcium in their daily diets, but fewer people are aware of the relationship between calcium and magnesium, especially regarding the fact that if you’re not getting enough magnesium, your calcium absorption might be compromised thanks to the way the two nutrients are absorbed by the body.

In much the same way, studies suggest that the amount of magnesium may also affect the absorption of vitamin D as well. In other words, just because you’re getting enough of certain nutrients doesn’t mean your body is actually taking them in properly. This is why a balance of vitamins and minerals is so crucial. (Source)

Healthy Bones

Despite not being very well known, magnesium is actually the fourth most abundant mineral in the body after calcium, phosphorous and sulfur. Of all of the magnesium found in the body, a majority of it is found in the bones. This means that getting enough magnesium, among other nutrients, contributes to greater bone health and mass. (Source)

Enzyme Supporter

Besides the magnesium found in bones, it is actually found in pretty much every cell of the body. This is because it contributes to a huge amount of different reactions and functions, more than 300 in fact. It is involved in making muscles move, DNA production, and many functions in the nervous system and brain, among others. A deficiency in magnesium therefore affects all of these roles. (Source)

Mental Health

Studies suggest that many cases of depression are caused by a magnesium deficiency. It is believed that most modern food does not contain enough magnesium to support the average person’s needs and could be a cause behind the large number of depression cases. Supplements have been shown to improve symptoms of depression as well as anti-depressants do in some cases. (Source, Source)

Diabetes Benefits

Magnesium has more than a few links to diabetes and related diseases. It is thought that those who are resistant to insulin actually lose a lot of magnesium in their urine. Low levels of magnesium are linked to the ability of insulin to help blood sugar, and supplementing magnesium has been shown to improve blood sugar levels. (Source, Source)

Deficiency Symptoms

Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become more fragile, and it is believed that a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D causes it. However, as we’ve seen, a lack of magnesium can inhibit the absorption of both nutrients, so it stands to reason that a magnesium deficiency can be the cause of osteoporosis. Studies seem to back this up as well as we continue to study magnesium’s exact role. (Source)

Fatigue

Studies have mostly confirmed that magnesium deficiency has a role in chronic fatigue. Patients who suffer from chronic fatigue had their red blood cell magnesium checked and found that they had less of it than their healthier counterparts. Another study showed that supplementing chronic fatigue patients with magnesium helped energy levels. Creating energy is just one of the many reactions that magnesium assists within the body, so make sure you’re getting enough magnesium if you feel yourself lagging. (Source)

 

Headaches

If you suffer from migraines, you’ve probably tried every option out there to treat and prevent them. Magnesium may be an answer for you. A double-blind placebo study revealed that magnesium not only reduced the frequency of migraines but also reduced the duration of them. Another study revealed that migraine and tension headache sufferers had lower levels of magnesium. (Source, Source)

High Blood Pressure

Multiple studies have shown a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure when supplementing with magnesium in individuals who have known hypertension.  Supplementing with magnesium can be an effective first-line therapy for preventing hypertension

Sources

There are many food sources to get magnesium into your diet. A healthy diet with a wide range of foods will provide an adequate amount of magnesium without much thought from you. Here are the best sources.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a surprising source of a lot of nutrients for something that a lot of people discard while carving jack-o-lanterns. They’re a great source of many minerals, including magnesium. 100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains more magnesium than you even need in a day. So if you want a quick and healthy snack, try roasting some pumpkin seeds or finding a delicious trail mix that includes them. (Source)

Spinach

Dark leafy green vegetables, as opposed to leafy vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, are some of the best foods you can eat with a huge array of nutrients. Spinach is one of the best sources of magnesium when it comes to calorie density. 100 grams of raw spinach contains 20% of the daily magnesium that is recommended, for only about 20 calories. Swap out your lettuce in your salad or on your sandwich with spinach for an easy magnesium boost, or wilt chopped spinach into any pasta dish. (Source)

Avocado

Avocados are known as a superfood for being a good source of healthy fat. If you like your avocado toast or guacamole, rest assured that you’re getting a ton of great benefits, including magnesium. 100 grams of raw avocado contains 7% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium. (Source)

Dark Chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, good news! Get some dark chocolate and benefit from all of the wonderful nutrients it provides. 60-69% dark chocolate is a good source of many minerals, just like pumpkin seeds. 100 grams of dark chocolate contains 44% of your daily magnesium. Just keep an eye on the calorie count if you intend to indulge your magnesium this way: 100 grams contains more than 600 calories. (Source)

Magnesium Citrate Supplements

If you still struggle to get enough magnesium into your diet, there are always helpful supplements to make up for it. Many people take magnesium citrate supplements to help digestion and constipation. It is always wise to ask your doctor before you start with vitamin and mineral supplements. (Source)

 

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