Magnesium is an essential mineral of great importance to our physical and mental wellbeing. It controls more than 300 different enzymes that ensure that the biochemical processes in the body run smoothly and is also required for energy production. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs this mineral.
Our bodies contain about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium, which makes it the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. About 60% of the magnesium in our body is stored in our bones and teeth, 20% in the muscles, 20% in remaining soft tissue and less than 1% is in our blood circulation. Magnesium is not produced in the human body, so we have to get it from external sources such as food & dietary supplements. Many people are unaware of this, which makes magnesium deficiency a common health problem throughout the world.
Because magnesium is involved with so many processes in the body, a deficiency in this mineral can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. For that very reason it may also be difficult to identify a magnesium deficiency, as its symptoms are varied and may be similar to symptoms of other conditions.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include:
Some of these symptoms may be hard to notice and you might not feel the impact at first, but your cells definitely will. Over a longer timeframe, a long term magnesium deficiency is often associated with chronic diseases of the immune system, cardiovascular system, and musculoskeletal system.
Therefore it's important to keep your magnesium levels adequate for optimal health. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium consumption is 310mg to 420mg per day for younger and older adults. But even then, recent studies have shown that this level of intake might only be just enough to prevent a deficiency and is unlikely to provide optimal health or longevity. So it is not hard to imagine that low levels of magnesium might be damaging your physiology slowly, and these deficiencies often result in a reduction in performance or biological function.
Eating magnesium rich foods can be a great start to preventing some of the aforementioned issues. Many fruits, nuts, seeds and leafy greens are high in magnesium. In general, foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Below we've made a short list of examples of magnesium rich foods:
It's a good rule of thumb to get the majority of your magnesium intake through your diet. But to fill in the gaps you can take a magnesium supplement. There are various common types of magnesium on the market, with each having slightly different functions. For example, magnesium citrate is more active in the muscles and is great for muscle relaxation while magnesium L-threonate supports memory and brain function and is unique in its ability to enter the brain.
Eating magnesium rich foods and taking magnesium supplements are a great way to prevent health issues associated with insufficient magnesium levels.In addition, keeping your magnesium intake at an adequate level can definitely play a big role in optimizing your mental and physical performance.
In our next blog we will take a more in-depth look at the previously mentioned magnesium L-threonate, and why we think this specific form of magnesium is so important for your general wellbeing.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019.
Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.
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