When junk food takes precedence over a healthy diet, the outcome is low magnesium levels in children and adults. To know more about causes of magnesium insufficiency, read on…
The importance of healthy magnesium levels can be judged from the fact that over 300 metabolic processes depend on this dietary mineral. Be it the production of energy, promoting bone health or ensuring effective functioning of the heart, muscles and the kidneys, the presence of magnesium in adequate amounts is crucial for a healthy living. Magnesium insufficiency is especially worrisome in children as it puts them in the risk zone of asthma and ADHD.
Magnesium Inadequacy in Children
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- Muscle spasms or twitching
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Disturbances in heart rhythms
- Poor bone health that may lead to osteoporosis
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Mental issues such as depression, nervousness and anxiety
Dietary magnesium is known to regulate calcium and potassium levels in the body. So, when magnesium levels drop below a certain threshold, disturbances in the concentration of both these minerals is evident. In fact, with low magnesium there is a high possibility that your child may get diagnosed with low calcium and potassium levels, which can adversely affect bone health.
It is observed that children frown at the sight of a salad but give them a burger and they would instantly grab it. Fast foods only help to satiate the hunger but have hardly any nutritional value, hence eating them leads to deficiency of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals like magnesium.
Kidneys dispose off excess magnesium through the urine in order to keep this mineral in the normal range. However, if the kidneys are not working properly, abnormally high amounts of magnesium might be removed from the body. This abnormal functioning of the kidneys can cause low magnesium levels in the body. Kidney problems occurring in children can be either acute or chronic. A sudden sharp decrease in the kidney function is categorized as acute kidney failure, however, chronic problems cause slow progressive deterioration of kidneys, hence are slightly difficult to detect in the initial stages.
It is observed that magnesium in our body behaves like an electrolyte and so factors that trigger electrolyte imbalance cannot be overlooked. Children who have the habit of consuming coffee frequently may show low magnesium levels. Coffee, being a diuretic prompts the body to release more than normal amounts of urine. This excess urination can deplete the magnesium stores in our body leading to its deficiency. Gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome that are characterized by diarrhea and vomiting may also cause magnesium levels to drop below the normal limits.
Ensuring that children follow a healthy well-balanced diet is the simplest way to overcome magnesium deficiency. In case, the blood test pinpoints an alarmingly low-levels of magnesium then besides diet the child might be prescribed with magnesium supplements to manage symptoms. The doctor decides the dosage after considering the child’s age and the severity of deficiency. In case the diet is not lacking in magnesium, the child may be asked to undergo certain tests to check for kidney diseases.
Magnesium Insufficiency and ADHD
Lack of magnesium in diet can also trigger ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms in children. This is evident from the fact that 9 in 10 ADHD patients suffer from low magnesium levels. Studies have proven that ADHD children put on magnesium supplements for a stipulated period of time showed a marked improvement in their attention span and mental capability. Thus, behavioral problems like hyperactivity associated with ADHD can also be brought under control with the intake of magnesium supplements.
Asthma and Magnesium Inadequacy
Kids with low magnesium have a higher chance of contracting asthma than their peers showing healthy magnesium levels. No wonder, administering magnesium intravenously has helped to manage the symptoms of severe asthma attacks.
On the whole, inculcating healthy eating habits during childhood is the key to keeping the deficiency of essential nutrients at bay. As a parent, you need to make your child aware of the benefits of eating healthy food and the hazards of indulging in fast food. This can go a long way in preventing magnesium deficiency in children.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.