According to Dr. Kim Yawitz, magnesium is a compound that is involved in more than 300 different chemical reactions in the body. This includes repairing DNA and producing energy. All of these chemical reactions are vital for the body to repair and protect itself. Too little is linked to severe health risks, and having enough in your body might be the key to a longer, healthier life.
What is magnesium, and why is it so important?
Magnesium is a mineral that is vital for the proper day-to-day functioning of the body. As the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it helps with a wide variety of bodily functions. One of its most important functions is that of supporting the bones and bone structure.
Besides being important for the proper growth and maintenance of bones, it is also required for the proper function of nerves and muscles. It is also prevalent in the stomach, where it helps to neutralize stomach acid and move stools through the intestine. Mostly, we get it from our diets. However, many of us are not getting enough of it, and deficiency is no laughing matter. Deficiency, according to WebMD, is linked to “diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, hereditary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke“.
But how do you know if your levels are low?
One of the major problems when it comes to low levels in the body is that in the short term, there are very few symptoms. This means that you don’t get any warning of the fact that you may need to up your intake of magnesium through either your diet or by taking a supplement. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is also often overlooked by health professionals.
It is estimated that only 2% of Americans experience or have experienced magnesium deficiency. However, one study suggests that as many as 75% of Americans are not meeting the recommended intake. Mostly, symptoms don’t appear at all until your magnesium levels are very low.
Symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Muscle Cramps and Twitches
- Mental health
- Muscle Weakness
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
Taking supplements might help
When it comes to taking supplements, some are undoubtedly better than others. However, whilst many of us do suffer from too little magnesium, it’s undoubtedly best to try and up your levels naturally before opting for a supplement. Ultimately, you should be trying to up your levels naturally by opting for a healthy, balanced diet rather than relying purely on supplements.
Though supplements (especially magnesium supplements which are so widely used throughout the body) are a good way to increase longevity, there is no doubt that nature is always best. If you do opt for a supplement, make sure you choose a good one and ask for advice if you’re unsure.
Other ways to boost your magnesium
It’s not at all hard to find in the foods that we tend to consume regularly. The key is just knowing what those foods are so that you can make sure you are getting enough. When you are looking to increase your levels of magnesium, you need to think of fiber. Because, generally, foods that are high in fiber are also high in magnesium.
Foods that are high in magnesium include: leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, dairy products, meat, nuts, dark chocolate, and even coffee
Don’t take too much though
Though it’s usually pretty safe, it’s best to avoid taking more than 350 mg per day. Taking too much could have some rather negative (though not dangerous) side effects. This includes nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, muscle fatigue, and weakness.
Before you take supplements, it’s best to chat with your doctor. Supplements can interact negatively with certain medications, including diuretics, heart medications, and some antibiotics. If you have diabetes, intestinal disease, heart disease, or kidney disease, you should talk to your doctor before adding a supplement to your routine.