Research has shown that nearly two thirds of the population in the western world are deficient in magnesium(1) and many experts claim that this is one of the largest health issues in the world. Since magnesium is crucial for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body and impacts just about every single aspect of your health, this is a deficiency that you need to address as soon as possible.
Why Have Magnesium Deficiencies Become So Common?
In the past, magnesium deficiencies were relatively unheard of, but there are a number of aspects of modern-day life that have contributed to this change. The soil used to grow plants, which are then either eaten by humans or fed to livestock, has become extremely depleted of nutrients and is much lower in magnesium now than it used to be. Water sources now also often contain chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride, and, since these bind to magnesium, this has decreased magnesium levels in water.
In addition to environmental factors, our day-to-day lives and dietary intake can increase our risk of developing magnesium deficiency. Everything from the consumption of sugar and caffeine to chronic stress can deplete magnesium levels within the body, making it no surprise that magnesium deficiencies have become so widespread.
The Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency
Since magnesium is such a key mineral in the body for so many different functions, the symptoms that come from its absence are extremely varied. This explains why this is an issue that is often missed. However, there are several key symptoms that you can keep an eye out for:
Cramps and Muscle Spasms
Magnesium plays an important role in muscle contraction and neuromuscular signals, and those who experience regular cramps, especially in the legs, are likely to be magnesium deficient. Another similar symptom is that of restless leg syndrome, which would require potassium as well as magnesium to treat.
Magnesium deficiencies have an impact on the central nervous system, which, in turn, lead to nervousness and irritability. As this builds up, anxiety and depression become common results.
High Blood Pressure
Magnesium and calcium are both responsible for regulating blood pressure levels while protecting the heart, meaning that a deficiency in either one of these can lead to high blood pressure. When it comes to heart health, studies have shown that simply increasing the amount of magnesium-rich foods that you consume can lower the risk of a stroke by 8 per cent
Since magnesium is so important when it comes to balancing neurotransmitters within the body, a deficiency in magnesium can easily cause migraines. Research has shown that around 400-600 mg of magnesium a day has the potential to reduce these headaches by up to 42 per cent.
Weakness and Low Energy
Fatigue is another common symptom of a magnesium deficiency, with research showing that the majority of chronic fatigue syndrome patients are also deficient in the mineral.
These are just a few of the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency, with others including type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, insomnia and osteoporosis.
The best way to combat a lack of magnesium is by taking a magnesium supplement. Around 300-400 milligrams a day is usually sufficient, although you may need to build this up slowly to avoid diarrhoea. When it comes to the type of supplement, avoid magnesium oxide as it has poor absorption and look for marine-sourced magnesium as it contains an additional 72 trace minerals that offer plenty of other health benefits.
With the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency being so varied and vague, many people do not often think of it as being the cause of these many different health issues. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, it may be worth giving a magnesium supplement a try and seeing whether or not they improve.
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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