You probably know a lot more about nutrition than you realize. Like not getting enough calcium and vitamin D3 can make your bones brittle. Or not eating enough iron-rich foods can make you tired. And too little vitamin C can make you sick.
But what about not getting enough magnesium?
Most folks don’t realize how critical magnesium is to their health. But every single cell in your body requires this mineral to function.
Magnesium is responsible for…
- creating energy
- repairing DNA
- allowing muscles to contract and relax
- regulating the way the brain sends signals to the body
And that’s just the beginning. This often ignored mineral is an essential part of more than 300 processes that keep your body functioning and healthy.
Men over the age of 31 need 420 mg of magnesium per day, and women the same age need 320 mg per day. But up to 75 percent of adults aren’t getting enough in their diets. In fact, experts say the “vast majority” of people today are at risk for magnesium deficiency.
Unfortunately, standard blood tests aren’t always the most accurate when it comes to checking magnesium levels. The mineral gets stored in your bones, brain and nervous system, not just your blood.
6 signs you could have a magnesium deficiency
So, blood levels often don’t tell the whole story. But there are some other tell-tale signs that your levels have dropped far too low.
Following are six signs of a magnesium deficiency you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Tremors and twitches:
Your muscles require magnesium to relax and contract. But when your levels drop too low, it can cause them to involuntarily twitch and even cramp up. And unexplained muscle tremors or muscle weakness may be caused by a magnesium deficiency.
2. Irregular heartbeat:
Low magnesium levels can also effect the most important muscle in your body… your heart. Lack of this critical mineral can lead to an irregular heart beat or arrhythmia.
The symptoms of an irregular heartbeat can be mild. So many folks are unware when their heart is beating out of rhythm. But you may also experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness or chest pain.
In extreme cases, an irregular heartbeat can raise your risk of heart failure or a stroke.
3. High blood pressure:
Researchers are still working out the complex connection between magnesium and hypertension. Animal studies suggest low magnesium levels can increase blood pressure. And while the jury is still out on whether it works the same way in humans, the evidence is mounting.
In a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials researchers found that magnesium supplements lower blood pressure in adults. And it seems especially effective in folks with hypertension
4. Tingling and numbness:
Your nerves rely on magnesium to function. When they don’t get enough of the mineral you can end up with a tingling or a numb feeling, in your hands and feet.
Your body requires magnesium to absorb and metabolize calcium. And low levels of the mineral are associated with reduced bone mass and osteoporosis.
Some of the earliest signs of low magnesium are the hardest to nail down.
If you find yourself fighting flu-like symptoms such as a persistent lack of appetite, nausea, weakness, and fatigue, it could be a lack of magnesium. If it’s the flu, you’ll feel better in 5-7 days.
Foods that fight magnesium deficiency
The good news is some of the tastiest treats also happen to be high in magnesium. So keeping your levels topped up couldn’t be easier.
To raise your magnesium levels try snacking on…
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- coconut water
- dark chocolate
Magnesium supplements are also available.