Magnesium is an important mineral that is often overlooked. In fact, up to 90 percent of Americans don't get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium from their diet alone. This might account for the fact that the amount of magnesium people are getting has plummeted over 50 percent over the last century! If you aren't getting enough magnesium, you might be experiencing symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Symptoms can include leg cramps, migraines, fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, nausea and vomiting or high blood pressure.
The RDA of magnesium is 320 mg/day for women and 420 mg/day for men. In order to get the recommended amount, you'd have to eat large quantities of foods high in magnesium. To make up for not getting the right amount through their diet alone, many people take magnesium supplements. Renal failure patients should not take a magnesium supplement. As with any supplement, you should consult your physician.
"Not getting the right amount of magnesium is a growing concern for everyone-it's vital to overall health, especially for those people with certain medical conditions," says Andrea Rosanoff, co-author of a consumer education book titled "The Magnesium Factor." "Eating foods like leafy greens, mixed nuts and whole grain foods that contain a lot of magnesium is a good start, but it's also important to take a magnesium supplement, to make sure you are getting the right amount."
So why is magnesium so important? It plays a big part in keeping the heart healthy, making sure bones are strong and helping the body absorb other important minerals such as calcium and potassium. Magnesium supplementation also helps people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease maintain adequate magnesium levels which is especially important for these patients. Magnesium is also important to women who are pregnant, experience menopause or are at risk for osteoporosis. Getting the right amount of magnesium daily can help prevent leg cramps, migraines and fatigue.
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have a magnesium deficiency. This happens when high glucose levels make the body flush magnesium from its system. In a recent study, people with diabetes who took magnesium supplements had improved insulin and glucose levels.
Magnesium is also good for the heart. People with heart conditions, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and coronary artery disease, are more likely to be magnesium deficient. In fact, studies show that people with low amounts of magnesium in the body are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease, and that magnesium supplementation can lower cholesterol by as much as 20 percent. Magnesium supplementation can increase individuals' magnesium levels and minimize the risks associated with heart disease.
Women of all ages can benefit from magnesium-it's been shown to help build and maintain strong bones, relieve symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and minimize the risk of premature labor. A recent study showed that pregnant women with pre-eclampsia (a condition marked by water retention, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine) taking magnesium supplements had a 58 percent lower incidence of eclampsia, which are seizures associated with pre-eclampsia.
Magnesium is an essential mineral to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's important for people with certain medical conditions, as well as anyone who may have a magnesium deficiency with symptoms including leg cramps, migraines and fatigue, to take a magnesium supplement.