5 signs you're not getting enough magnesium
Magnesium, one of the most abundant minerals in the body, is possibly the one nutrient we just cannot do without.
Now, we’ve all heard of magnesium, but not many people quite realise just how important this mighty mineral is. Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions, which means it plays a key role in hundreds of different processes in the body, keeping us alive and thriving every day. A lack of magnesium can really impact your health.
What does magnesium do in the body, exactly?
Magnesium is involved in essentially everything in the body, from helping our nerves and muscle function, and energy production, to controlling our blood glucose levels and making protein.
Here are a few of its best benefits…
Helps to reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue
Magnesium is unique in the sense that it’s both a calming and energising mineral. When it comes to energy, magnesium helps break down glucose from the foods that we eat into energy.
Magnesium is also required for the production and stability of ATP molecules, which provide energy for basic bodily processes. Therefore, getting enough magnesium is really important to help keep energy levels stable throughout the day and to keep fatigue at bay.
Helps to relax the muscles
Magnesium helps our muscles relax, and considering that our muscles store around 27% of our body’s magnesium, it plays a key role in maintaining our muscle health.
If magnesium levels get low, magnesium is pulled away from our muscles for the body to utilise, and this has a noticeable effect on our muscles. Being deficient in magnesium often leads to twitches and cramps caused by the muscles contracting tightly and not being able to relax.
Stronger bones and teeth
Did you know that magnesium is vital for building strong teeth and bones? Magnesium helps the body absorb and utilise both calcium and vitamin D, which are both critically important for normal bones. Considering that our bones store magnesium, when we don’t have enough in our blood, our body can take it from the stores in our bones in times of need.
Over time, this can leave us with reduced bone density and an increased risk of getting osteoporosis for older adults.
How do you know if you’re getting enough magnesium?
Low magnesium symptoms are usually mild, to begin with, and early signs of a deficiency include; nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness. As the deficiency progresses, it may lead to low calcium and low potassium levels and can lead to other symptoms. Here are five signs to look out for…
You have trouble falling asleep
If you’re feeling tired and still have trouble falling asleep, your body may not be getting enough magnesium. When it comes to getting a good night's rest, magnesium helps calm the nervous system down, helping it work more efficiently. It also helps the body maintain levels of GABA (or gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that enables the body and mind to relax and fall asleep.
You’re not feeling like yourself lately
Low magnesium levels can lead to changes in your mood and personality. Many studies have also found links between low magnesium intake and an increased risk for depression. Some signs may include increased feelings of anxiety, and a lack of feeling emotions.
You experience frequent muscle twitches and cramps
We all experience muscle twitches from time to time, but if they become more frequent, it may be due to a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays a key role in muscle contraction by helping your muscles contract and relax. So if you’re having frequent muscle cramps and twitches, it’s possible your diet needs more magnesium.
Your blood pressure is creeping up
If you aren’t getting enough magnesium in your diet, your potassium levels can drop, and this can throw off your normal heart rhythm. If you’ve noticed that your blood pressure is lower or higher than normal, make sure you mention this to your health care practitioner.
You’re feeling constipated
Being low in magnesium can also impact your bowel movements. If you’re having fewer than three bowel movements a week, it may be an indication that magnesium (and also fibre) is needed in the diet to provide a laxative effect.
How much magnesium do I need?
Women should aim to get at least 270 mg of magnesium a day, and men require at least 300 mg per day. As our bodies are unable to produce magnesium on its own, it’s essential to get enough magnesium through your diet.
Which foods contain magnesium?
Some of the best natural sources of magnesium include whole wheat, spinach, quinoa, black beans, almonds, soy beans and avocado. Eating dark chocolate is also a great way to get your magnesium fix. One serving of dark chocolate can provide as much as 64 mg of magnesium. Try to incorporate more of these foods into your diet to get a magnesium boost.
You can also include our Magnesium Citrate Capsules, which provide 440 mg of elemental magnesium per serving, to help support your magnesium levels.
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.