Magnesium is crucial for our health. It is a mineral that regulates the blood pressure and is an essential part of keeping our bones strong and our heart healthy. Magnesium is needed in over 300 important functions of the body so it’s important to ensure we get enough.
A depletion in our natural levels of magnesium is not always easy to diagnose, particularly as a deficiency doesn’t appear in blood tests. However, a lack of this vital mineral can adversely affect our health in a number of ways.
In this article, we will look at the symptoms caused by magnesium deficiency, ways you can boost your levels and the positive effects of this mineral.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency
A lack of magnesium in your diet can affect your body in a vast number of ways. It can cause:
- Osteoarthritis and joint pain as a result of cartilage degeneration;
- Muscle cramps, spasms, tremors and numbness;
- Racing heart, unusual heart rhythms, and coronary spasms;
- Headaches and tension in the jaw;
- Spasms of the intestine, oesophagus, intestine and eyelids;
- Mouth tingling;
- Sensitivity to light;
- Weakness and fatigue;
- Loss of appetite;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Difficulty breathing deeply (sensation of pressure in the chest);
- Menstrual cramps;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Hypersensitivity to noise;
- Craving salt;
- Insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, hyperactivity, phobias and unrest;
If you are experiencing two or more of any of these symptoms then a lack of magnesium may be the culprit. It is recommended that you increase your daily intake either via magnesium-rich foods or with supplements to assess the benefits.
What does magnesium do?
Vital for anyone who has an active lifestyle, magnesium relaxes the muscles and improves flexibility. It plays a big part in the absorption of calcium meaning it can improve conditions such as osteoporosis, joint pain and cavities.
Magnesium is an essential part in maintaining the body’s pH levels, as it alkalises.
Magnesium is essential for:
- Keeping the heart strong;
- Balancing the nervous system;
- Improving sleep;
- Creating collagen, fundamental for bones, tendons, and cartilage;
- Slowing inflammation of the prostate;
- Pain relief;
- Metabolizing sugar;
- Reducing the risk of asthma and bronchitis;
- Decreasing the onset of epileptic attacks.
Natural sources of magnesium
Magnesium can be found in plenty of everyday foods meaning you won’t need to rush out and buy supplements. With a balanced diet you should be getting your daily recommended allowance of 300mg (men) and 270mg (women).
Magnesium can be found in:
- Pure dark chocolate (in small quantities)
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, parsley and Swiss chard
- Fruits like applies, avocados, bananas and plums
- Nuts such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds
- Lentils and peas
- Oatmeal, brown rice and millet
- Alfalfa sprouts and dandelions
- Brewer’s yeast
Making a smoothie with some of these ingredients or adding some brewers yeast to your favourite juice or smoothie is an excellent way to increase your magnesium intake.
If you are experiencing symptoms of magnesium deficiency and you are unable to increase your intake via your diet then you may wish to consider a natural supplement. As with all supplements, it is recommended that you discuss this with your GP as they may interact with the medications your doctor has prescribed you.
Supplements come in three forms:
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium carbonate
You can also use magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) in a bath to relieve the symptoms of joint pain. Sufferers of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatism have long used these salts to ease their pain. Adding 100g of the sulfate to a daily bath over nine days and then once a week will produce positive results.