Many of my clients often complain of muscle cramping, muscle fatigue and lack of good sleep. Seldom do they think of magnesium and even more rarely do they think they could actually be magnesium deficient. However, odds are they are! In many cases, upping magnesium intake solves many of these issues.
Magnesium is a macronutrient, which means we need more of it than other minerals - and we need it daily. Minerals are critical for our health, but since magnesium is required in over 300 different bodily functions, it's definitely one of the most important minerals your body needs.
How Does a Magnesium Deficiency Affect the Body?
Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet? More than half of Americans are magnesium deficient; some sources say that number is as high as 80 percent.
A recent study tracked 7,664 people over 10 years and found that those with the lowest magnesium levels had a much greater risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. According to the study, men and women whose urinary magnesium was among the lowest 20 percent had an increase in the risk of ischemic heart disease that was 60 percent higher than that of the remainding participants. Their risk of fatal ischemic heart disease was 70 percent higher.
Magnesium helps inhibit platelet aggregation and enhance the synthesis of nitric oxide, which helps relax the blood vessels. In addition, increased magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, a condition that significantly elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium helps your muscles relax, moves calcium out of the blood and into bones, keeps the blood circulating and the heart beating and is essential in keeping the brain and nervous system healthy. It also helps reduce anxiety.
If you have muscle cramps, particularly at night, the odds are you're lacking magnesium. If you have trouble sleeping, or often experience fatigue, you may be low in magnesium. High blood pressure and diabetes can also be symptoms of low magnesium levels. It's a critical mineral for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, which creates energy. Magnesium helps keep the heart in healthy rhythm and is necessary for cellular reproduction.
On top of that, magnesium is also good for bone health, helping move calcium from the bloodstream to the bones that need it. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of the magnesium in your body is in your bones.
The role magnesium plays in the body is so diverse, it's difficult to find a body system not affected by magnesium deficiency. Our immune system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands and brain all rely on magnesium for healthy metabolic function.
What Affects Magnesium Absorption?
Magnesium absorption is reduced by many factors including colas, coffee, salt, caffeine and refined and processed foods. Certain medications like diuretics will also deplete magnesium from our bodies.
Good Sources of Magnesium
- Cacao or Dark Chocolate
- Swiss Chard
- Oat Bran
- Rice Bran
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Black Beans
- Black strap molasses
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Flax Seeds
- Sea Vegetables
- Bell Peppers
To ensure you get the adequate amount of magnesium daily, a diet rich in a variety of foods is key.
Load up your NutriBullet with magnesium-rich foods everyday and work other foods into your diet, including salmon for dinner or a stirfy with bell peppers, greens, seeds and more!