Magnesium isn’t just another supplement at the drugstore. It is an absolutely vital mineral that plays a role in over 300 chemical functions in the body including regulating insulin levels, muscle contractions, and heart rhythm. After doing some research, I discovered the alarming statistic that over eighty percent of our population is deficient. Older adults are at higher risk due to malabsorption in the GI tract, use of certain medications, and poor diet. Interestingly, studies done on pre-diabetics have shown improvement in glucose levels when magnesium was taken regularly.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include:
- Muscle Cramps
- Impaired Cognitive Function
Medications like diuretics and antacids can actually deplete the body of magnesium putting those taking these drugs at high risk. Also, the phosphoric acid present in soda beverages should be avoided as it flushes magnesium from the body.
Eating a diet rich in leafy greens, legumes, and healthy fats such as avocados and nuts can boost magnesium levels. Avoid SAD (Standard American Diet) foods high in trans fats, and fried foods as these can hinder absorption.
How to supplement? Believe or not Epsom salt which is composed of magnesium, and sulfate is fantastic used as a bath soak because it’s absorbed through the skin without going through the digestive process. Magnesium oil sprays are great too as they go directly into the bloodstream. These options are great for people with compromised digestion such as Celiacs, and Crohn’s sufferers. Daily dosage is dependent on gender and weight, but according to the National Institutes of Health, most adults require about 400 milligrams. When taken orally, Magnesium Citrate is better tolerated than oxide forms which can cause stomach upset. Low magnesium isn’t to be taken lightly. Talk to your doctor about which option is right for you.