Magnesium — Are you getting enough of this key nutrient?

Most sources indicate that over half the U.S. population is not getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is a key mineral essential to bone formation, cardiovascular health, energy production, and muscular contraction. Low levels of magnesium can affect your risk of developing or exacerbating a chronic disease, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

The current RDA for magnesium is 400mg, although it has been suggested that this recommendation is well below optimal intake.  Magnesium stores are depleted with cola and coffee consumption, diuretics, and high-stress environments (whether real of artificially created through stimulants) Populations at risk include diabetics (it is excreted with sugar in urine), heavy exercisers, and individuals who consume appreciable amounts of white flour, salt and sugar.

Some signs you may not be getting enough magnesium:

  • muscle soreness
  • TMJ
  • tension headaches
  • sensitivity to bright lights and noise (without eye disease)
  • menstrual cramps and premenstrual irritability
  • constipation
  • numbness, tingling
  • anxiety, panic
  • restlessness and hyperactivity

The best way to make sure you receive enough magnesium is to include magnesium rich green leafy vegetables and whole grains in your diet. If you suspect you may be deficient in magnesium, you may benefit from extra supplementation. This often leads to a reduction in muscular cramping and soreness, improved sleep, and calmer moods are seen soon after beginning magnesium supplementation. Magnesium is safe at relatively high doses; an excess will induce diarrhea (remember Milk of Magnesia?) High doses are meant to be taken for a limited period of time and under medical supervision.

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