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Magnesium is an essential mineral that also functions as an electrolyte. It is one of the body’s most abundant minerals and is also one that people are commonly low in.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that serves as a cofactor in numerous biochemical processes. The kidneys help to regulate magnesium levels in the body.
Magnesium has many health benefits, as you’ll see below, but the average person still doesn’t get enough. In fact, as many as 68 percent of people do not meet their daily magnesium needs.
Low magnesium can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve problems, and more, but the issue is that these symptoms can overlap with many other conditions and even many other nutrient deficiencies. Minerals must be kept in balance with each other. Over-supplementing one to fix a low level could create problems with other minerals.
There is no risk in consuming magnesium-rich foods, though, as the body will excrete whatever it does not need.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
- Supports healthy blood pressure
- Promotes optimal energy levels
- Supports optimal insulin sensitivity
- Promotes cognitive and brain health
- Supports 300+ enzyme systems
- Supports healthy bones
- Required for DNA and RNA synthesis
- Supports the transport of calcium and potassium across cellular membranes
Food Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is widely available in many food sources, including:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Black beans
- Brown rice
Magnesium deficiencies are relatively common, and even those who are not deficient often do not consume adequate or recommended amounts. Supplemental magnesium varies widely in how well it is absorbed based on a few factors, including:
- How much the body needs
- The form that it is in
If you take more magnesium than is needed, your body will only absorb what is required and excrete the rest. Excess supplementation can result in diarrhea.
Magnesium supplements often come with recommended dosages of 200 to 400 mg. When supplementing, magnesium should be taken with food to promote optimal absorption.
Low levels or deficiencies in magnesium can result in elevated blood pressure, decreased glucose tolerance, and increased neurological stress.
People at risk of being low in magnesium include:
- People with alcoholism
- People who take medications that can interfere with magnesium absorption
- People who have gastrointestinal disorders
- People who have type 2 diabetes
- Older adults who may not absorb it as well
People who have kidney disorders may be at risk for low magnesium but should consult their healthcare providers before supplementing.
It’s important to note that taking high-dose zinc supplements can affect how magnesium is absorbed, again driving home the point that minerals are needed in the right amounts—not too much, not too little.
Today’s Simple Step
You probably eat some magnesium every day but focus on increasing the magnesium-rich foods that you do consume for optimal health.
This Orange Pomegranate Chia Pudding is a great way to add magnesium to your daily diet, while also providing a simple treat that can serve as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. It’s a great dessert, too! Sub in whatever juicy fruit you have on hand for a delicious outcome every time.