Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for overall health. Magnesium is used in over 300 biochemical processes, and helps regulate nerve and muscle and functions, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and is part of the process for making protein, bone, and DNA.
Up to 75% of us don’t get enough magnesium, even those of us who eat food rich in this mineral (like dark leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, bananas, beans, dried fruit, avocados), since we lose it if we eat too much refined sugar, caffeine, or processed food.
Signs you might have a magnesium deficiency
1. Muscle signs such as foot pain, muscles twitches (including under-eye twitching), and foot or leg cramps
2. Low or no appetite
3. Frequent headaches
4. Nausea and/or digestive issues
5. Low energy or fatigue
Signs of ongoing or more severe magnesium deficiency:
1. Abnormal heart rhythms, which can include premature atrial contractions (extra beats), premature ventricular contractions (skipped heartbeats), atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm), and tachycardia (rapid heart rate), among others.
2. Coronary spasms, a temporary, sudden narrowing of a coronary artery, resulting in a slowing or stopping of blood flow
3. Tingling and numbness because of the impact on the deficiency on the peripheral nervous system
4. Muscle cramps and contractions (more severe than experienced in the early stage of deficiency)
5. Personality changes, such as irritability, tantrums, panic attacks, depression
6. Chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders
In addition to eating more foods rich in magnesium and limiting or avoiding refined sugar, soft drinks, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol, you also could take a magnesium supplement. Because magnesium must be bound to other substances in order for you to reap the mineral’s benefits, you will see names such as magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium glycinate, among others, on supplement labels.
When choosing a magnesium supplement, Andrew Weil, MD recommends magnesium citrate, chelate, and glycinate. It is important to note that magnesium oxide is not well absorbed and can cause loose stools.
No nutrients work solo, and this is also true of magnesium. You should balance your intake of magnesium with calcium (a 1:1 ratio), vitamin K2, and vitamin D. All four of these nutrients work together.
Take a personal inventory and weigh the possibility that you are magnesium deficient. Then take steps to correct it by changing your diet, considering a supplement, and discussing your plans with a knowledgeable health professional.