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Magnesium deficiency: why (and how) to avoid it

Magnesium deficiency: why (and how) to avoid it

Why worry about Magnesium deficiency in the first place?

Magnesium is an important mineral that plays an essential role in helping our bodies and minds to relax. People often associate it with either sleeping difficulties or muscle cramps – both of which it can indeed help to relieve.  However, the reality is that Magnesium does much, much more than this in our bodies.

For example, Magnesium acts a vital catalyst in several of our bodies’ enzyme reactions, and it is also involved in over 300 metabolic processes. Some of its other key roles include:

  • Maintaining healthy muscle function (including heart function)
  • Transferring, storing and using cellular energy
  • Synthesising and breaking down DNA 
  • Metabolising protein, carbohydrate and fat 
  • Conducting nerve impulses
  • Supporting strong, healthy bones 
  • Managing blood pressure levels and regulating blood vessel tone 

How much Magnesium does it take to avoid deficiency?

The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Magnesium depends on someone’s age, sex and whether they’re pregnant1. For otherwise healthy people who simply want to avoid Magnesium deficiency, The Department of Health and Ageing recommends the following levels each day:

  • Men: 400mg for ages 19-30, and 420mg for ages 31+ 
  • Women: 310mg for ages 19-30, and 320mg for ages 31+ 
  • Pregnant women: 350mg for ages 19-30, and 360mg for ages 31+

Common signs that someone may be low in Magnesium 

Given the extent of the roles that Magnesium fulfils in our bodies, it’s natural to want to ensure we get enough of this essential mineral.

While true Magnesium deficiency in otherwise healthy people is rare, experts agree that many people do not get the Magnesium they need through their diet2.  Some of the signs that can indicate low Magnesium levels include:

  • Muscle aches, tremors, twitching or tiredness 
  • Stress levels, irritability and mood swings 
  • Feeling easily startled or worried 
  • Sleep disturbances and difficulties 
  • PMS and period pain 

The best ways to top up Magnesium levels

As with nearly all nutrients, the best way to get Magnesium in a form our bodies can readily absorb and use is through whole foods.  

Chlorophyll – the pigment that gives plants their green colour and allows them to photosynthesise – contains high levels of Magnesium. This means that dark green, leafy vegetables that are rich in this pigment (e.g. spinach, kale, silver beet, etc) are ideal Magnesium sources.

Other good natural food sources include whole, unrefined grains; nuts (especially almonds and brazil nuts) and seeds, legumes and cocoa.  If your diet is low in most of these foods, you may want to consider taking a Magnesium supplement.   

Different products can contain different types and amounts of Magnesium. Speak to your local health food store expert to find out which product will be best for you.

1Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, 2006 p195
2http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm

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Magnesium deficiency: why (and how) to avoid it

Involved in more than 300 metabolic processes, Magnesium is vital to help our bodies & minds to relax. Are you deficient or suffering low levels?

Why worry about Magnesium deficiency in the first place?

Magnesium is an important mineral that plays an essential role in helping our bodies and minds to relax. People often associate it with either sleeping difficulties or muscle cramps – both of which it can indeed help to relieve.  However, the reality is that Magnesium does much, much more than this in our bodies.

For example, Magnesium acts a vital catalyst in several of our bodies’ enzyme reactions, and it is also involved in over 300 metabolic processes. Some of its other key roles include:

  • Maintaining healthy muscle function (including heart function)
  • Transferring, storing and using cellular energy
  • Synthesising and breaking down DNA 
  • Metabolising protein, carbohydrate and fat 
  • Conducting nerve impulses
  • Supporting strong, healthy bones 
  • Managing blood pressure levels and regulating blood vessel tone 

How much Magnesium does it take to avoid deficiency?

The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Magnesium depends on someone’s age, sex and whether they’re pregnant1. For otherwise healthy people who simply want to avoid Magnesium deficiency, The Department of Health and Ageing recommends the following levels each day:

  • Men: 400mg for ages 19-30, and 420mg for ages 31+ 
  • Women: 310mg for ages 19-30, and 320mg for ages 31+ 
  • Pregnant women: 350mg for ages 19-30, and 360mg for ages 31+

Common signs that someone may be low in Magnesium 

Given the extent of the roles that Magnesium fulfils in our bodies, it’s natural to want to ensure we get enough of this essential mineral.

While true Magnesium deficiency in otherwise healthy people is rare, experts agree that many people do not get the Magnesium they need through their diet2.  Some of the signs that can indicate low Magnesium levels include:

  • Muscle aches, tremors, twitching or tiredness 
  • Stress levels, irritability and mood swings 
  • Feeling easily startled or worried 
  • Sleep disturbances and difficulties 
  • PMS and period pain 

The best ways to top up Magnesium levels

As with nearly all nutrients, the best way to get Magnesium in a form our bodies can readily absorb and use is through whole foods.  

Chlorophyll – the pigment that gives plants their green colour and allows them to photosynthesise – contains high levels of Magnesium. This means that dark green, leafy vegetables that are rich in this pigment (e.g. spinach, kale, silver beet, etc) are ideal Magnesium sources.

Other good natural food sources include whole, unrefined grains; nuts (especially almonds and brazil nuts) and seeds, legumes and cocoa.  If your diet is low in most of these foods, you may want to consider taking a Magnesium supplement.   

Different products can contain different types and amounts of Magnesium. Speak to your local health food store expert to find out which product will be best for you.

1Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, 2006 p195
2http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm
Magnesium deficiency: why (and how) to avoid it
 

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