Magnesium, my favorite mineral
I often get asked questions about magnesium and I regularly tell my patients how beneficial it can be to supplement with it. So just how important is magnesium? Very important! It is necessary for over 300 processes in our bodies. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral found in our bodies. That makes it absolutely essential to our health.
Here are just a few examples of functions that require magnesium: protein synthesis, controlling blood sugar, regulating blood pressure, muscle activity, nerve function, energy metabolism and glutathione (antioxidant) production.
How You Can Benefit
Magnesium has a wide range of benefits. Because magnesium is naturally found in our bones, muscles and brain, it can improve the proper functioning of the nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems and help to maintain healthy bones. It’s also known as the most powerful relaxation mineral out there.
Healthy bones: Our bones need calcium and vitamin D which magnesium helps to assimilate, promoting bone formation and density. Magnesium can lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Healthy heart: Magnesium is vital for healthy muscles such as the heart. It also aids in transmitting electrical signals in the body. Magnesium is given to post-heart attack patients to reduce the risk of mortality. It is also used to treat congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.
Diabetes: Magnesium is important in the process of carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, which is directly related to diabetes. Through clinical studies researchers have found that magnesium taken at the recommended daily amount improved their insulin sensitivity, and that having low magnesium in the body can impair insulin secretion.
PMS: Adding magnesium into your diet can alleviate symptoms for PMS such as constipation, bloating, leg swelling, insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, migraines and breast tenderness. For the most effective results take magnesium with vitamin B6.
Pretty much any kind of cramp, muscle soreness or ache and pain can be treated by magnesium. It’s an amazing relaxer and a great stress reliever!
Magnesium Rich Foods
Here is a list of foods that contain magnesium and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you can start adding into your diet. Try these!
1 cup spinach: 40% DV
1 cup chard : 38% DV
1 ounce almonds: 20% DV
1 cup yogurt or Kefir: 13% DV
1/8 cup pumpkin seeds: 23% DV
1/2 cup figs: 13% DV
1/2 cup black beans: 15% DV
1 medium avocado: 15% DV
1 square dark chocolate: 24% DV
1 medium banana: 8% DV
Typically, the foods with the highest amount of magnesium are green leafy vegetables but incredibly enough 1 piece of dark chocolate contains almost the same amount!
Other foods include: cashews, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, halibut, salmon, shrimp, kelp, collard greens, dandelion greens, parsley, buckwheat, brown rice, garlic, goat cheese and artichokes.
A word of caution: excessive intake of caffeine, salt, soda or alcohol will deplete your level of magnesium.
Supplements: Take This Not That
The best way to take magnesium is through eating a healthy and balanced diet including the foods listed above. But, more than half of Americans are deficient in this vital mineral and could benefit from taking it as a supplement as well.
Recommended Daily Allowance:
Men: 400 milligrams, Women: 310 milligrams
Remember, the RDA amount is a somewhat conservative so if you are taking a bit more it’s ok. It’s very important to take a form of magnesium that absorbs well into your body such as these: glycinate, taurate, aspartate and citrate.
Avoid taking magnesium carbonate, oxide, sulfate and gluconate, because they do not absorb well and can irritate the digestive tract. Surprisingly these are the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements. However, taking a relaxing hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is another great way to absorb magnesium. There are even forms that can be absorbed through the skin through oil or lotion, so if you are unable to tolerate the oral form try a transdermal form instead.
Here in our office we stock all of the recommended types mentioned above, including the transdermal ones. If you have any questions about magnesium and/or where to get it, please contact our office, we are here to help!