An indispensable mineral needed by the human body, is magnesium. Its deficiency can have long-term effects on health. To learn more about this deficiency, read on.
Magnesium is an important mineral for all living organisms. Its unique chemical properties and abundance in the atmosphere, have made it an essential part of cell catalysis and biochemical reactions in the human being. From tiny microorganisms like yeast, to human beings and plants; basically anything made of cells needs magnesium for growth and development. In human beings, magnesium is an overlooked nutrient, with too much attention given to other minerals, like calcium. Unlike other mineral deficiencies, a dietary magnesium deficiency is difficult to detect, even with noticeable symptoms. In this article, learn more about magnesium’s impact on the human body, symptoms of its deficiency, and what you can do to prevent its lack.
Dietary Magnesium Benefits
How does magnesium help in the human body? Here are some ways:
- Cellular metabolism, reactions and catalysis depend on magnesium levels in the body.
- It is necessary for regular and normal working of muscles and nerves.
- Helps develop strong and healthy bones and teeth.
- Maintains a regular heartbeat rhythm.
- Facilitates and encourages working of enzymes in the body.
- Helps in absorption of other minerals, like calcium and potassium.
- Magnesium helps in protein synthesis and blood circulation.
Magnesium is also found to help with the following conditions:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Menopause and PMS symptoms
- Heart conditions
- Migraines and insomnia
- Back pain and aches
- Kidney stones and gallstones
- Leg cramps
Dietary Magnesium Deficiency
From the effect of magnesium on health and possible diseases, it’s glaringly obvious that magnesium is one important mineral. The reality is that we never seem to have enough of it. Statistics show 68% of the American population consumes less than the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Consequently this group has 1.5 times more the chance of contracting serious health issues like heart problems. The symptoms of this deficiency include the following:
- Difficulty in thinking and poor memory
- Neck and back pain
- Feelings of anxiety and nausea
- Feeling fatigued and sleepy
- Getting overexcited and irritated
- Muscle weakness and twitching
- Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
- Migraine attacks
- Loss of appetite and vomiting
What could cause a dietary magnesium deficiency? Low or no magnesium content, in daily food is the most apparent reason. But other factors are:
- Alcohol abuse and dependence
- Medications or drugs for cancer and diabetes
- Those with digestion disorders like Crohn’s disease
- Kidney problems
- Low levels of calcium
- Inactivity in absorbing nutrients
- Physical stress like trauma and surgery
- Certain prescription medicines like diuretics, antibiotics, Warfarin, oral contraceptives
Dietary Magnesium Deficiency Prognosis
The required daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium, depends on age, gender and special cases.
|400-420 mg||310-320 mg||350-400 mg||310-360 mg|
|Infants||Children Above 3 years||Male||Female|
|80 mg||100-250 mg||410 mg||360 mg|
With all this talk of deficiency, can one overdose on dietary magnesium? Yes, toxicity is possible with magnesium, but there’s a greater risk of deficiency than excess. This is due to the body’s functioning, where excess magnesium is flushed out by the kidneys as waste. Intake of magnesium through food is never the cause for toxicity. Instead taking magnesium pills and supplements increases the risk of overdose.
The real danger behind this deficiency is in not detecting it. There are few accurate tests that pinpoint low magnesium levels. Also the symptoms of this deficiency are so varied and worrying, that treatment is solely focused on their cure and not the real reason behind the symptom. The main step to avoiding a deficiency in diet is making up for it. So increase your dietary magnesium sources. Those storehouses of minerals, fruits and vegetables, come to the rescue here, with their high levels of magnesium. Spinach, nuts, bran, peas and soybeans are a few examples. Food foes of magnesium are sodas, processed foods (cakes, candies and pastries), coffee and alcohol. These foods actually hinder or interfere with the magnesium levels in your body. Eat smart and right, to avoid a dietary magnesium deficiency and keep your body happy.