We’ve talked before about our love for magnesium here at Naturally Savvy, but with at least 75% of Americans not getting enough, how do we know when it’s time to supplement? Read on for symptoms of magnesium deficiency, natural sources, and where to start if supplementation is the right solution for you.
Why magnesium matters
It might be easier to talk about what this wonder mineral doesn’t do. Magnesium is involved in over 350 biochemical processes in the body. Magnesium is necessary for everything from proper functioning muscles-like your heart-and brain health, to stress levels, sleep, and anxiety.
Our bodies need magnesium to produce blood, transform energy, transmit nerve impulses, maintain our musculoskeletal system, and regulate and maintain a healthy pH balance in our blood, cells, and tissues.
Magnesium is present in foods like dark, leafy greens, potatoes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, avocados, and fruit like bananas. It can be difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone, and it’s made even harder by the fact that you can lose magnesium by consuming too much refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or soda. Even simple, every day activities like using your muscles and the beating of your heart causes magnesium depletion.
If you have the following symptoms, you may have low magnesium levels:
1. Muscle signs such as foot pain, muscles twitches (including under-eye twitching), and foot or leg cramps
2. Loss of appetite
4. Nausea and/or poor digestion
5. Low energy or fatigue
More severe magnesium deficiency can result in:
1. Abnormal heart rhythms, which can include premature atrial contractions (extra beats), premature ventricular contractions (skipped heartbeats), atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm), and tachycardia (rapid heart rate), among others
2. Coronary spasms, a temporary, sudden narrowing of a coronary artery, resulting in a slowing or stopping of blood flow
3. Tingling and numbness because of the impact on the deficiency on the peripheral nervous system
4. Muscle cramps and contractions (more severe than experienced in the early stage of deficiency)
5. Personality changes, such as irritability, tantrums, panic attacks, depression
6. Chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders
There are a lot of different types of magnesium supplements available, and it’s best to discuss your options with your natural health practitioner. Different magnesium supplements have different benefits and address specific health concerns, and dosage is important.
Magnesium Chelate – This type of magnesium occurs in food naturally and is highly absorbable. Chelated magnesium is bound to amino acids to help the mineral pass through the digestive system intact.
Magnesium Citrate – This magnesium is combined with citric acid. Too much can have a laxative effect, but is often used to aid with immune and digestive issues, as well as migraines.
Magnesium Chloride – The most absorbable version of magnesium, it can be taken as an oil and used for people who cannot take their supplements with meals.
Magnesium Glycinate – This is one of the most popular and absorbable forms of magnesium. It has a calming effect and is good for anxiety, stress, and sleep issues, as well as muscular disruptions.
Magnesium Sulfate/hydroxide – Most commonly known as milk of magnesia, this type is used as a laxative, to reduce digestive issues, as a laxative, or as an antacid. It is easy to take too much, so smaller doses are recommended.
[Editor’s Note: We recommend a high-quality magnesium supplement like Natural Calm, from our partner Natural Vitality. Natural Calm is the # 1 selling magnesium supplement in the natural products industry and has been highly reviewed in third party testing.]