Why Magnesium is Important to Your Health? It plays a role in virtually every aspect of your health. Some of the main functions are:
- Energy production, the energy storage unit of the body’s cells
- Helps promote proper digestion
- The body’s internal instructions for building proteins and new cells
- Enzyme activity, it helps enable thousands of bio-chemical processes
- It is the trigger that activates more than 300 enzymes. Enzymes regulate many body functions, including energy production and muscle contractions. Magnesium works as a signal for muscles to contract and relax. And when the muscles that line major blood vessels contract, it impacts your blood pressure.
- Magnesium helps just about every other chemical in your body do its job. It is mainly an intracellular (inside the cells) ion. Most magnesium in the body is in the skeleton, 20 to 30 percent is in muscle, and only about 2 percent is outside of cells.
The first symptoms of deficiency can be subtle – since it is primarily stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle ‘twitches’ can be the first sign. Other early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As your deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.
Start With Diet
Like with most other nutrient or vitamin deficiencies, starting with your diet is best. Among foods relatively rich in magnesium are dark leafy greens (spinach and kale), nuts and seeds (squash and pumpkin seeds), fish (specifically mackerel), beans and lentils (soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas), whole grains (brown rice, quinoa), avocados, low-fat dairy (plain non-fat yogurt, goat cheese), bananas, dried fruits (prunes, apricots, dates), and dark chocolate. Creating a balanced diet with some of the above mentioned foods will help increase the amount you get in your diet.
If you are unable to increase your magnesium levels enough with diet alone, there are supplements you can use to bridge the gap. You do not want to overwork or shock your body by immediately spiking your magnesium levels with supplement. So, it is best to slowly incorporate and gradually increase the amount of magnesium you intake via supplements. It is recommended to increase to about 300-400 milligrams per day (you can safely take up to 600 milligrams a day).
One side effect of taking too much of a magnesium supplement is increased bowel movements, and looser stools. If you experience either of these cut back on your supplement usage until your system can better handle it.
Severe deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles and unrefreshed sleep. Headaches, blurred vision, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anxiety are also early signs of depletion. So maintaining proper magnesium levels is important for many health issues.