It’s estimated that 80% of adults are deficient in the vital mineral, magnesium. Which is why it’s a good idea to consider taking magnesium supplements regularly and eating magnesium-rich foods.
The amount of research regarding it’s benefits are staggering. Magnesium is required for more than 300 different processes in the human body, such as helping to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, energy production, regulating heart rhythm and helping neurotransmitter functions. A shortfall can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, PMS, headaches, lack of energy, diabetes, and heart disease.
So, why is magnesium deficiency so common? A few factors are at play: soil depletion that lowers the amount of magnesium present in crops; digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut; high rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilized from foods.
The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.
The kidneys primarily control levels of magnesium within the body and excrete magnesium into the urine each day, which is one reason why urinary excretion is reduced when magnesium and other electrolyte statuses are low. Magnesium is actually the least abundant serum electrolyte in the body, but it’s still extremely important for your metabolism, enzyme function, energy production, and for balancing nitric oxide (NO) in the body.
How do you know if you should use magnesium supplements? According to the National Institute of Health, assessing magnesium levels is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in the bones and not within the blood. This can make blood test results misleading when it comes to determining a magnesium deficiency. No single testing method is considered totally comprehensive and accurate.
Because magnesium supplements have such few risks for side effects and toxicity, many healthcare professionals recommend that adults take supplements regularly to prevent deficiency.
Magnesium is naturally present in some foods, synthetically added to other foods and available as a dietary supplement. Additionally, it’s found in some over-the-counter medicines, such as antacids and laxatives. Supplements are available in a variety of forms but the absorption rate of magnesium differs depending on the type – usually the types that dissolve in liquid are better absorbed in the gut than less soluble forms.
It’s believed that magnesium in citrate, chelate and chloride forms are absorbed better than magnesium supplements in oxide and magnesium sulfate form.
Stay safe and stay on point!
Check out my segment on The BOLO Podcast, where I talk about magnesium!