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While not commonly known, magnesium is a critical mineral for the health and wellbeing of the human body. It is vital for the production of DNA and proteins, and for the healthy functioning of the metabolic system, the cardiovascular system and nervous system, and the energy systems (i.e. aerobic and anaerobic systems). Magnesium has an important role in regulating blood sugar, and in moving blood sugar into muscles. It is important for the health of teeth, and bones, for healthy muscle function, as well as optimizing blood pressure. Magnesium also plays a critical role in the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen to the body’s tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide, which they carry to the lungs to be released.
A magnesium deficiency is not always obvious. You may be deficient in magnesium and not even realize it. Symptoms can be subtle, such as mild irritability, constipation, fatigue. More serious symptoms include an irregular heart rate or palpitations, muscle weakness, chronic migraine or osteoporosis.
People more at risk of a magnesium deficiency are older patients, people with gastrointestinal diseases, diabetics, and people with alcoholism. If you are concerned you may be deficient, you can request this test be included in your routine blood test. I recommend this for people who have any of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and everyone over 60.
Foods Rich in Magnesium
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Grain in the whole food form - not processed grains
- Leafy green vegetables – Kale is a particularly good source.
Additional greens are spinach, mustard greens, collard greens.
- Soybeans and soy milk
- Nuts - specifically almond and cashews
- Some wild-caught fish, specifically salmon and halibut
Calcium and magnesium complement each other, working in tandem in the intestinal track in order to be fully effective. So be sure you are getting a good supply of both.
Foods Rich in Calcium
Here are a few foods rich in calcium that you can easily add into your diet:
- Chia seeds
- White beans
- Leafy green vegetables - kale, broccoli, arugula, collard greens and mustard greens.
- Soy - beans, tofu (firm) and soy milk
- Seeds - sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
How much magnesium should you get in a day?
Just how much magnesium you need depends on your stage of life, your age and sex. For the average adult 300-400 mg a day in divided doses, morning and evening, is the recommended dosage. To confirm just how much magnesium you need on a daily basis, you can check with your medical provider or call our office 925 736 8510.
Ideally, we would get the needed supply of magnesium from our diet, however many people are simply not following a sufficiently nutritious and balanced diet to meet this need. This is where I recommend that people take supplements to be sure to fill in the gaps in the diet. Most people feel noticeably better when they take their supplements.
Having said that, there is a huge push from supplement manufacturers today to take this, that, and every other supplement — often in order to maximize their profits, rather than the individual’s health. I suggest that you speak to your medical care provider, and get routinely tested, to be sure that you are taking the supplements you truly need.
Keep in mind that the quality and content of supplements is not regulated. With so many brands flooding the market, selecting quality supplements is more important than ever. Be aware that 99% of all medical providers have no botanical medicine training, they are not the ideal person to guide you in this respect. I recommend consulting with a person qualified in this area, or an integrative medicine provider, or call our office, 925 736 8510.
Magnesium can interact with other medications, including:
- A certain type of osteoporosis medications called Bisphosphonates
- Ulcer medication for the stomach
- Large amounts of zinc (adult dose is 30 mg a day)
- Diabetic medications
If you are not sure about magnesium interactions with medications you are currently taking, please speak with your medical provider, or call us on 925-736-8510