The majority of us know the importance of getting enough calcium, vitamin c and protein through our diet, but we tend to forget other crucial vitamins and minerals.
Thankfully, magnesium is becoming more and more well-known and appreciated in the medical and nutrition communities.
However, it’s still one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, affecting up to 80% of the American population, and that’s something to be very concerned about.
What is Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium is a mineral that is present in relatively large amounts in the body. Researchers estimate that the average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones. 1% of it is in your blood.
Magnesium is important in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep the body working properly. (source)
Magnesium is responsible for:
- Proper transportation of calcium, silica, vitamin D, vitamin K, and obviously magnesium.
• Activating muscles and nerves
• Creating energy in the body
• Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
• Serves as building blocks for RNA and DNA synthesis
• Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include (1):
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Personality changes
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Coronary spasms
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency
Modern farming techniques deplete mineral and vitamins from the soil in which your food is grown. This is especially true for fields treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides.
This means that foods grown on these depleted soils do not contain a lot of magnesium.
Certain medical conditions can also make it more difficult for your body to absorb this mineral.
Risk factors for magnesium deficiency include (2):
- Kidney disease
• Crohn’s disease or other conditions that affect digestion
• Parathyroid problems
• Taking antibiotics or drugs for diabetes and cancer
• Old age
• Abusing alcohol
How To Get More Magnesium
Many people take magnesium supplements, but they don’t always take the right kind.
Small studies have found that magnesium in the aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate (1).
They should also contain calcium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 to be absorbed properly.
Regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths are also a great way get more magnesium since it can be absorbed through your skin. You can also apply magnesium oil on your body if you dislike baths.
First and foremost, the best way to up your magnesium levels is to change your diet to include more magnesium-rich foods.
Top 12 Foods High In Magnesium
- Cashew Nuts – 1 ounce is equivalent to 20% of your daily value (3).
- Almond – 1 ounce supplies 19% of your daily value (4).
- Avocados – 1 fruit is equivalent to 15% of your daily value (5).
- Bananas– 1 medium fruit supplies 8% of your daily value (6).
- Lentils – 1 cup of cooked lentils is equivalent to 18% of your daily value (7).
- Chocolate – 1 bar gives you 58% of your daily value (8).
- Figs – 1 cup of dried figs is equivalent to 25% of your daily value (9).
- Okra – 1 cup of boiled okra gives you 14% of your daily value (10).
- Seeds – 1 ounce whole, roasted pumpkin or squash supplies 19% of your daily value (11).
- Squash – 1 cup is equivalent to 11% of your daily value (12).
- Rice– 1 cup of long grain brown rice supplies 21% of your daily value (13).
- Spinach – 1 cup of cooked spinach gives you 39% of your daily value (14)