Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. It plays a vital role in supporting muscle and nerve function, as well as energy production. In fact, magnesium is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body!
This mineral is crucial for the health of our brain, nerves, heart, eyes, immune system, and muscles. It works alongside other electrolytes like calcium, potassium, chloride, and sodium to keep our bodies running smoothly. When our magnesium levels are optimal, we perform at our best, like a perfectly tuned symphony.
However, when we lack this essential mineral, our bodies can become out of sync, leading to a host of health issues. Interestingly, low magnesium levels don't typically result in any symptoms. But if levels remain persistently low, the risk of developing osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease increases.
While it's rare for someone to experience symptoms of magnesium deficiency due to the body's ability to retain adequate levels of the mineral, certain factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing these symptoms:
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Having gut problems or gastrointestinal disorders
- Magnesium loss through excessive urine and sweat due to genetic disorders or alcohol consumption
- Taking certain medications such as antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPI)
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
- Mental Health Conditions
One of the ways in which magnesium affects our mental health is through its effect on the excitatory NMDA receptor in the brain. When magnesium levels are low, calcium and glutamate can activate the NMDA receptor unchecked, leading to conditions such as depression and anxiety. In extreme cases, magnesium deficiency can even result in delirium, lack of emotion, or coma.
- Muscle cramps
Muscle cramps are one of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Spontaneous spasms, muscle cramps, or "charley horses'' can be an indicator that the body is not getting enough magnesium. In severe cases, a deficiency can even result in seizures or convulsions. This is because a lack of magnesium leads to an increased flow of calcium into nerve cells, overexcited or hyper-stimulating the muscle nerves..
While everyone experiences fatigue occasionally, extreme or ongoing tiredness can be a sign of a medical issue. Because fatigue is a generalized symptom, it can be difficult to determine its underlying cause unless it is accompanied by other symptoms. However, in our fast-paced culture, a more balanced hormone production is necessary, which is why magnesium helps to regulate cortisol levels so that this can happen.
- Heart problems
One of the most serious consequences of a magnesium deficiency is heart arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. This condition can cause serious symptoms or no symptoms at all. It may result in heart palpitations in some people, which are pauses between heartbeats. Adequate magnesium intake can help to prevent heart arrhythmia and promote a healthy heart.
Migraines are a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Nearly half of people who experience migraines are thought to be magnesium deficient. Adequate magnesium intake can help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
How To Improve Magnesium Absorption
Calcium-rich foods can interfere with the body's ability to absorb magnesium, making it harder to get enough of this vital nutrient. To improve magnesium absorption, it's recommended to reduce or avoid calcium-rich foods two hours before or after consuming magnesium-rich food.
Luckily, there are plenty of magnesium-rich foods to choose from, including seeds, nuts, cocoa, beans, and whole grains. Incorporating these foods into your diet can not only improve magnesium absorption but also provide other important nutrients for overall health.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency, it's important to seek support from a functional medicine specialist. They can identify any underlying conditions or imbalances in your body that may be contributing to the deficiency and recommend a personalized course of action for treating it. If you would like to learn more about which type of magnesium you should be taking for your goals, or to run labs to access your levels, schedule a free consult here https://p.bttr.to/37E2OuL