Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral the body needs for energy. It is one of the six minerals your body needs in large quantities. Without magnesium, the muscles in the human body would be in a permanent state of contraction and we'd be unable to move.
Magnesium helps our body make energy from the foods we eat: protein, fats and carbohydrates. It is essential in producing the basic energy that keeps us going.
Reasons to Take Magnesium
Besides helping produce energy for our bodies, magnesium may help many other illnesses and conditions. People often take magnesium supplements to help combat restless leg syndrome, heart arrhythmias, asthma, binge-eating disorders, osteoporosis, menstrual cramps, celiac disease, tinnitus, kidney stones, diabetes, insomnia, leg cramps and high blood pressure.
Magnesium is also used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, PMS, and high blood pressure.
Recommended Daily Allowance
The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 420 milligrams for men, 320 mg for women and 360 mg for pregnant women, but you may take more if you are using to help treat certain conditions.
As a dietary, daily supplement, adult men and women can take between 500 and 1,000 milligrams of magnesium, but only under the supervision of a doctor.
What Happens If I Take Too Much?
You should never take more than 350 milligrams a day as a supplement without first discussing it with your doctor. High levels of magnesium can cause diarrhea.
You also need to take magnesium under a doctor's supervision if you have heart disease, impaired kidney function, high blood pressure or migraine headaches.
Who's At Risk for Deficiency?
Diabetics are at risk for deficiency due to loss of magnesium in their urine when blood sugar levels are not properly controlled.
Those who have digestive issues or problems absorbing nutrients from the foods they eat can also become deficient. People 55 and over are more prone as well.
Alcoholics, people under severe stress, and those who do not eat enough foods that contain magnesium are also at risk for deficiency. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
• Chronic pain
• Muscle cramps
• Muscle spasms
• Facial tics
• High blood pressure
• Sleep problems
Those in the high risk groups of magnesium deficiency that are experiencing these symptoms need to seek medical care to test their levels and take supplements as recommended by a doctor.
Natural Food Sources of Magnesium
Most people can get their recommended daily allowance of magnesium. If you want to increase your daily intake of magnesium try doing so by adding these foods to your diet:
• Wheat germ
• Sunflower seeds
• Rice bran
• Pumpkin seeds
• Swiss chard
• Whole wheat
• Brown rice
If you feel you can benefit from taking magnesium supplements, talk to your doctor first to make sure you can safely take the supplement based on your age, sex and health.