You, like many other Americans, may be lacking in a very important mineral, magnesium. Not getting enough magnesium can cause a number of symptoms from fatigue to nausea and cramps. A lack of magnesium can also bring on seizures and even coronary spasms.
Magnesium is utilized by each and every organ in the body, particularly the kidneys, muscles, and heart – yet 80 percent of us don’t get enough of this nutrient. The majority of the mineral is stored in organs and bones where it can be utilized for all types of biological functions, and as so many people are deficient in it without being aware of the issue, it’s sometimes referred to as the “invisible deficiency.”
Magnesium is a macro-mineral
Magnesium is a macro-mineral. That means that unlike trace minerals, the body needs it in significant amounts in order for it to function the way it would. Still, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans get the recommended daily amount, which is 310 to 320 mg for women and 400 to 420 mg for men.
You might be thinking, “I eat healthily, I rarely if ever eat junk or processed foods, so why would I be lacking magnesium?” Even if you are following a nutritious diet you may very well be deficient due to farming practices which ultimately produce less nutrient-rich foods. Other factors can contribute to a deficiency as well, such as drinking an excessive amount of caffeinated beverages and/or being under a lot of stress.
But how bad is it really do not get enough magnesium?
You might be surprised that a lack of the nutrient could actually be causing symptoms you didn’t even consider could be related to a deficiency such as:
Having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep? Magnesium works to reduce nerve conduction in the muscles, and it can also slow down neuronal activities in the brain. By decreasing the electrical conduction between brain cells, magnesium is then able to reduce the “noise” signals that cause anxiety and sleeplessness, inducing calm and promoting sedation. As even marginal magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, and hyperexcitability, it’s fairly common for low magnesium levels to trigger insomnia.
Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
More than 70 percent of adults suffer from leg cramps regularly. Although they typically go away after several minutes, the pain can be debilitating. While this can sometimes be the result of an underlying condition, a lack of magnesium can also be the cause.
Another way that a magnesium deficiency can interrupt sleep is via restless leg syndrome. Low magnesium levels lead to poor control of electrical conduction in the neurons that are in the muscles, which then leads to a prolonged opening of the calcium channels and increased muscular activity. The result is muscle spasms which present as restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is the term used to describe the involuntary movement of limbs caused by magnesium deficiency.
Anxiety can be brought on by many things. Sometimes it’s an organic issue and may not be caused by anything at all, though it could result from financial difficulties, a challenging new job, the current state of the world or just about anything in between – but, it can also be caused by a lack of magnesium. Stress can cause a magnesium deficiency, and a lack of this important mineral tends to magnify the stress reaction, making the problem even worse.
High blood pressure
In addition to playing an essential role in the nervous system to help the brain relax, magnesium also aids in dilating and relaxing the blood vessels. When you have a deficiency, it can result in hypertension, or high blood pressure, by increasing blood vessel constriction.
If you have ever had a migraine you know just how horrible they can be. Research has shown that migraine sufferers frequently have a lack of magnesium in the body. Studies have demonstrated that people who suffer from these debilitating headaches who take a magnesium supplement have fewer migraines and reduced symptoms.
More benefits of magnesium
- Improved bone health
- Less pain
- Increased energy
- Better heart health
- A lower risk of diabetes
- Stronger muscles
Magnesium Rich Foods
Including these magnesium-rich foods in your diet will help you get more of this very important nutrient that you need.
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens