Magnesium is a vital mineral for enzymatic reactions in your body such as cell growth and reproduction, adenylate, cyclase synthesis, cellular energy production and storage, and preservation of cellular electrolyte composition.
Yet the importance of magnesium often overlooked. There is growing evidence which shows that magnesium deficiency is related to diabetes mellitus and to the metabolic syndrome and also calcium stones.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in controlling nerve transmission, muscular contraction, cardiac excitability, and blood pressure.
About 60% of Americans do not consume sufficient amount as suggested in Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can lead to exacerbating chronic inflammatory stress and may contribute to chronic diseases such as hypertension, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancers.
Many weight-loss diets overlook micronutrients. Magnesium is one of the micronutrients which can have an effective role in low-energy diets which could positively affect your health.
Magnesium deficiency can be caused by alcoholic intake or some medicines such as diuretics drugs, or malabsorption typically resulting from short bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and Crohn's disease, or short intake of magnesium.
Worsening of magnesium deficiency results in numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, and coronary spasms.
Magnesium deficiency is also linked to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes mellitus since it plays a role in glucose metabolism.
Optimal magnesium intake helps to treat diseases such as PMS, headache, high blood pressure, muscle pain (or spasms), fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression.
Dietary reference intakes for magnesium
- Infants (boys and girls)
|0–6 months||30 AI(mg/day)|
- Children (boys and girls)
|1–3 years||80 mg|
|4–8 years||130 mg|
- For adults, recommended daily intake for women is about 310 and for men is 400.
Rich food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts such as almond. One ounce of almond can provide about 80 mg of the daily required magnesium.
As an example, magnesium in a 1/2 cup of spinach is about 75mg, and 55mg in a cup of oatmeal. A medium banana also has 30mg of magnesium. And one slice of whole wheat bread has 25mg of magnesium.
The intermediate sources of magnesium include meats, starches, and milk. Refined food have less amount of magnesium.
Supplementation with magnesium in the form of mineral water is another viable method of increasing intake and absorption. Actually, hard waters, with high mineral content, also can be a significant source of magnesium.
Impacting factors on magnesium absorption
Dietary intake of magnesium about 300mg per day results in just 30% to 50% absorption. Factors which decrease the amount of magnesium absorption include excessive alcohol consumption, and medications such as diuretics.
High fiber, phosphorous, and calcium intakes, especially in the form of supplements can also decrease the absorption. Studies show the phytate in high-fiber foods results in decreasing magnesium absorption.
Reports have shown that absorption improves with rich protein diets intake, and it is lower when the daily intake of protein is less than 30g.
For athletes, it's been suggested to have a higher amount of magnesium intake comparing the average person. The increased excretion in sweat and urine, as well as increased usage of magnesium by the cells for energy production results in lower magnesium levels in physically active people.
Magnesium supplementation may be required in specific conditions which may decrease magnesium absorption, as previously discussed, conditions such as taking diuretics, antibiotics, and anti-cancer medications.
If you have decided to take dietary supplements, make sure you do not exceed the upper limit, by looking at the supplement facts label for serving size and magnesium dosage. The upper limit for adult male and female is typically 350 (mg/day).
Infants do not need magnesium intake from supplements. Their requirement should be met by foods, otherwise consult a doctor.
Either liquid forms or capsules with easily absorbed magnesium powder is highly recommended.
Effects of excess magnesium
Magnesium excessive intake from foods has not been shown to be harmful. However excessive intake from supplements is harmful.
Symptoms of magnesium excess can be similar to magnesium deficiency including difficulty in breathing, muscle weakness, appetite loss, nausea. Irregular heartbeat and extremely low blood pressure also can happen.
In case of magnesium-calcium supplementation, since magnesium stimulates intestines you don't have to worry about constipation after taking calcium supplements.
To fight constipation take 200mg at night and keep increasing the dosage until you reach bowel tolerance and develop loose stools. Taking too much magnesium in a short period will cause diarrhea, so you know when you cut back the amount.