Why do you need magnesium?
MAGNESIUM IS one of seven essential minerals that the body needs in significant amounts to function and maintain good health. While most people understand the value of certain vitamins and other supplements, magnesium is frequently overlooked by consumers as an important nutrient. It does deserve consideration, however, as magnesium deficiency can cause real health problems.
According to Dr Orlando Thomas, medical doctor and functional medicine practitioner at Thomas Medical and Shockwave Centre, magnesium is a mineral that is essential for healthy muscles, nerves, bones and blood sugar levels. If you do not get enough magnesium in your diet over a long time, you may be at a higher risk of health problems such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes or osteoporosis.
“Low levels of magnesium over time can lead to problems with the flow of other nutrients into and out of the body’s cells, including calcium and potassium. If you do not have enough magnesium in your body, you might have symptoms such as headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue and weakness,” Dr Thomas said.
The body does not produce magnesium, so it must come from outside sources, either from the food you eat or dietary supplements. The recommended daily allowances for magnesium are 400-420 mg per day for men 19-51 years of age, 310-320 mg per day for women 19-51 years of age, 350-360 mg per day for pregnant women.
Adults over 51 should aim for the upper limit of the recommended range for their gender.
“Severe magnesium deficiency can cause numbness or tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, an abnormal heart rhythm. People with magnesium deficiency are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and migraines,” Dr Thomas said.
Magnesium is obtained from food or from a supplement. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Tap, mineral, and bottled waters can also be sources of magnesium, but the amount of magnesium they contain depends on the brand.
“It is important not to have supplements with more than the recommended amount of magnesium, as this can cause diarrhoea, nausea or abdominal cramps. Extremely high levels can lead to an irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest,” Dr Thomas said.
Supplements, he said, are good, but not just any will do. Avoid magnesium oxide and magnesium sulphate and try ultra magnesium complex with magnesium glycinate and gluconate. These he said are easily absorbed and gets into every area of your body and replenishes magnesium in tissues that need it.
• Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for healthy muscles, nerves, bones and blood sugar levels.
• If you do not get enough magnesium in your diet over a long time, you may be at a higher risk of health problems such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes or osteoporosis.
• Severe magnesium deficiency can cause symptoms including numbness, muscle cramps and an abnormal heart rhythm.
• Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
• How much magnesium you need depends on your age, sex and stage of life.