Magnesium, A Unique Mineral Vital for Health
Magnesium is a mineral just as important to human health compared to more well-known minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium. Magnesium plays an important role in the human body, and it’s quite simple to add the proper amount of magnesium to someone’s diet.
How Does Magnesium Help Humans?
Scientists believe magnesium helps more than 300 individual processes within the human body. Magnesium helps process protein for proper cell function. This mineral also helps muscles and nerves work. Magnesium aids in the control of blood sugar and blood pressure, both of which indicate a person’s overall health.
Humans need magnesium to make bones, DNA and energy. Without magnesium, cellular structures wouldn’t work in the heart, muscles and nerves. People who don’t get enough magnesium in their diet may face a host of health difficulties. Humans consume plenty of this mineral in their diets thanks to regular foods that contain this vital mineral.
Where Do People Consume Magnesium in Foods?
Foods that contain the highest amounts of magnesium are also high in fiber. Foods high in fiber include leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans.
These foods are high in magnesium:
– Green leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach
– Whole grains
– Nuts, especially almonds
Outside of vegetables, magnesium comes from other sources, including:
– Certain bottled water
There are several easy ways for people to eat more magnesium-rich foods. Nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are great snacks that add magnesium to someone’s diet. Grocery stores stock low-salt or no-salt nuts, green leafy salads and lean lunch meats for a good lunch option at the office, especially for people who need an extra energy kick in the afternoon.
High-fiber foods may not have the best flavors that people enjoy. There are several ways around that, such as looking at various recipes that add flavor to vegetables. Fresh herbs and spices added to salads to make meals more appealing in terms of flavor.
Because there are so many choices when it comes to magnesium-rich foods, consumers can get as creative as they want when it comes to their diets. People should pick foods that they truly enjoy eating because magnesium is an essential part of the human diet. Doctors and registered dietitians can point patients in the right direction.
What Happens If People Don’t Consume Enough Magnesium?
People may face a few health difficulties if they don’t get enough magnesium in their diet over a period of time. These range from high blood pressure and diseases of the blood vessels to heart problems and stroke. Someone with low magnesium levels could suffer from osteoporosis and diabetes. Patients may see low levels of magnesium from a lack of proper diet or malabsorption.
What Can People Do If They Suffer From Low Magnesium Levels?
People should consult with a doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesium supplements may help in addition to a comprehensive approach to conditions such as asthma, constipation, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart problems, ADHD, alcoholism, kidney stones and diabetes.
How Safe Are Magnesium Supplements?
The answer is: “it depends.” People with reduced kidney function should always be monitored closely by a physician if taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesium is essential for overall health and wellness. A mild deficiency can factor into a person’s susceptibility to health difficulties, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, frequent headaches and osteoporosis. Patients should carefully monitoring their diets to ensure they get enough magnesium in their diets. As always, people should consult with a doctor regarding any nutritional deficiencies and dietary needs.
Altura BT, Memon ZI, Zhang A, et al. Low levels of serum ionized magnesium are found in patients early after stroke which result in rapid elevation in cytosolic free calcium and spasm in cerebral vascular muscle cells. Neurosci Lett 1997;230:37-40.
Cohen N, Almoznino-Sarafian D, Zaidenstein R, et al. Serum magnesium aberrations in furosemide (frusemide) treated patients with congestive heart failure: pathophysiological correlates and prognostic evaluation. Heart 2003;89:411-6.
Douban S, Brodsky MA, Whang DD, Whang R. Significance of magnesium in congestive heart failure. Am Heart J 1996;132:664-71.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. Available at: http://books.nap.edu.ezproxy.med.ucf.edu/books/0309063507/html/index.html.
Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr 2003;133:2879-82.
Ilich JZ, Kerstetter JE. Nutrition in bone health revisited: a story beyond calcium. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:715-37.
Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride . Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Washington DC: Updated February 11, 2016. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.
Sabatier M, Arnaud MJ, Kastenmayer P, et al. Meal effect on magnesium bioavailability from mineral water in healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:65-71
Suter PM. The effects of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber on risk of stroke. Nutr Rev 1999;57:84-8.
Tranquilli AL, Lucino E, Garzetti GG, Romanini C. Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium intakes correlate with bone mineral content in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol 1994;8:55-8.