Magnesium - What Is It Good For?

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EVERYTHING. Magnesium is good for EVERYTHING.

Well, at least that’s what it seems like.

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in our bodies with the adult human body containing around 25 mg of magnesium, with 50 to 60% of this found in bones and most of the rest found in the soft tissues. Less than 1% of the total magnesium is in the blood serum, with these levels kept under strict control.  

Magnesium is essential to keeping our body functioning at optimal level. It is a cofactor in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. This includes the synthesis of protein, controlling blood glucose levels, regulating blood pressure and nerve and muscle function. Magnesium is also required to produce energy, glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation.  

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscular weakness and spasms

  • Numbness, tingling and cramps

  • Vertigo

  • Difficulty remembering things

  • Confusion

  • Lethargy

  • Personality Changes

These signs and symptoms are just a broad overview and can also be associated with alterations in potassium and/or phosphorus status as these minerals generally follow each other if there is a loss.

Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to numerous diseases. This includes:

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Diabetes

  • Migraines and Headaches

  • Muscular Complaints

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Behavioural Issues

  • Premenstrual Syndrome

  • Osteoporosis

The Recommended Daily Intake for Magnesium

Intake recommendations for nutrients are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes which were developed by the Food and Nutrition Board. These values vary by age and gender. For Magnesium:

  • Children 1-3 years old – 80 mg

  • Children 4-8 years old – 130 mg

  • Children 9-13 years old – 240 mg

  • Males 14-18 years old – 410 mg

  • Female 14-18 years old – 360 mg

  • Males 19-30 years old – 400 mg

  • Females 19-30 years old – 310 mg

  • Males 31-50 years old – 420 mg

  • Females 31-50 years old – 320 mg

  • Males Over 50 – 420 mg

  • Females Over 50 – 320 mg

  • Pregnancy – 400 mg

Good dietary Sources of Magnesium

The best way to get enough Magnesium in our bodies is through our diets. Here is a list of Magnesium rich foods.

  • Almonds

  • Barley

  • Cashews

  • Cocoa

  • Eggs

  • Figs

  • Leafy greens

  • Legumes

  • Seeds

  • Bananas

  • Fish

  • Whole wheat

  • Quinoa

  • Peanuts

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Black Beans

  • Avocado

  • Tofu

While the best way to increase your magnesium levels is through your diet, there are other options. This includes powder and tablets as well as Epsom Salts added to a bath or a cream or spray applied to the skin for absorption.

If you have any questions or concerns, please seek help from a professional. Before taking anything, please see your Naturopath.