Magnesium takes part in over 300 metabolic processes in the body which makes it one of the most important minerals for your health. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of health issues and knowing the symptoms can be really helpful when dealing with this condition. Read on to find out what the most common symptoms are and how to increase your magnesium levels naturally.
What does magnesium do?
Magnesium plays an important tool for the proper function of almost every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles and kidneys. It’s a co-factor in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body. It helps prevent damage from free radicals, heavy metals and other toxins, thus playing a significant role in your body’s detoxification processes. Low magnesium levels can result in unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms and eye twitches.
The other crucial health benefits of magnesium include:
- Active transport of calcium, potassium, silica, vitamin D, and vitamin K across cell membranes
- Nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction
- Energy production
- Nutrient metabolism
- Bone and cell formation
- A precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Why is magnesium so hard to come by?
Due to modern farming techniques which include soil treatment with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, magnesium along with most other minerals are now missing from most of our topsoil.
According to research, about 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient, with only 25% of US adults getting the recommended daily amount of 310-320mg for women and 400-420mg for men. What’s more alarming is that even this amount is insufficient for preventing deficiency.
Although organic foods grown in nutrient-rich soils contain more magnesium, these are not always easy to obtain. Also, there are numerous supplements on the market, but caution must be taken as magnesium must be bound to another substance in order to be effective; otherwise there’s no 100% magnesium supplement. The substance used not only influences the absorption and bioavailability of magnesium, but also provides more targeted health benefits. The best sources are magnesium threonate and citrate because these penetrate cell membranes leading to higher energy levels.
Another thing you can do to further improve magnesium levels is take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths because Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that easily absorbs into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can be used for topical application and absorption as well. No matter what supplement you opt for, make sure to avoid those containing magnesium stearate, as this is a common but potentially harmful additive.
Fortunately, you can never have too much magnesium, but still consuming too much of it can cause some side effects like irregular heartbeat or slowed breathing. Like with vitamin C supplements, it comes to bowel intolerance resulting in diarrhea if overconsumed.
How to tell if you’re getting enough magnesium?
The commonly known “bowel test” is the best way to determine whether your magnesium levels are sufficient. Excess magnesium makes your stools become loose, which can be seen as an advantage to people with constipation, which is just one of the many symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
Signs of a magnesium deficiency
Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium is beneficial in treatment of arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as high pressure, diabetes, respiratory issues, and many more.
Magnesium operates on a cellular level and accumulates in organ and nerve tissue. So, it’s a common misconception that magnesium deficiency can be detected through a simple blood test because your blood accounts for only 1% magnesium in your body, which makes this test unreliable.
These signs can often be symptomatic of magnesium deficiency:
- Anxiety/Panic Attacks
- Bowel Diseases
- Blood Clots
- Calcium Deficiency
- Difficulty Swallowing
- High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease
- Liver & Kidney Disease
- Muscle Cramps
- Nerve Problems/Tremors
- Personality Changes
- PMS, Infertility & Preeclampsia)
- Poor Heart Health
- Poor Memory
- Potassium Deficiency
- Respiratory Issues
- Raynaud’s Syndrome
- Tooth Decay
- Type II Diabetes
How to get more magnesium?
Products containing magnesium citrate, one of the forms of magnesium supplements that’s best absorbed in the body, are available and inexpensive.
On the other hand, magnesium chloride, also known as magnesium oil (not a real oil, though), is available through various online sources, so just Google magnesium oil products to locate some. Also, you can use transdermal magnesium chloride topically as this gets easily absorbed through your skin.
In case you have magnesium deficiency symptoms, these are some of the best foods to include in your diet:
- Dried Fruit (Figs)
- Beans & Lentils (Kidney, Soy & Black Beans)
- Dark Chocolate
- Almonds & Cashews (other nuts)
- Whole Grains (Brown Rice)
- Spinach (Dark Leafy Greens)
- Pumpkin, Sesame & Sunflower Seeds