Magnesium Deficiency – How Magnesium benefits body and mind

Magnesium deficiency is prevalent and usually due to a lack of magnesium in our diets. Magnesium is important in many of the body’s biochemical processes with a particularly strong role in maintaining a healthy heart and mind.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. (1)

About 50 - 60% is in the bone and the rest can be found in muscle and non-muscular soft tissue. With its importance in helping more than 300 different enzyme functions and having more than 3,750 binding sites on human proteins, magnesium is important in many of the body’s biochemical processes. (2)

What are the benefits of magnesium?

Through its role as an enzyme co-factor, magnesium is crucial in energy production in the body’s cells through the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and helps with processes such as muscle activity and nerve conduction. (2)

Benefits of magnesium for different parts of the body

One of its key roles is in helping the body metabolize potassium and calcium along with other important elements to support heart health and maintain healthy bones. (3)

Heart health

Magnesium is essential in supporting heart health. If you have a deficiency you may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Magnesium, potassium and calcium may work well together to ensure your heart functions properly, helping to maintain a lower blood pressure and normal heart rhythms which in turn reduce the development of cardiovascular disease. Magnesium has been shown in studies to have a positive effect on heart problems such as congestive heart failure. (2)(11)

Bone Health

Magnesium and calcium support bone formation and preserve bone structure. A lack of magnesium and calcium among other nutrients may have an effect on osteoporosis developing. Good levels of magnesium are essential so the body can transport calcium from the blood into the bones. It also helps to absorb and convert vitamin D to an active form to aid in calcium absorption. An imbalance of calcium and magnesium may lead to stress in the body and impair the effectiveness and benefits of calcium for bone health. (8)(12)

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is one of the three major intracellular elements along with potassium and phosphorous.(4) Intracellular elements occur or are situated inside a cell or cells. When there is magnesium deficiency, losses of these other elements often follow. If magnesium deficiency is severe it can lead to hypocalcemia (low serum calcium levels) or hypokalemia (low serum potassium levels) due to a lack of equilibrium of these minerals. (5)

Signs of magnesium deficiency

A reduction in levels of magnesium may result in neuromuscular and neurological symptoms.(7)

Poor muscle health

  • Muscular weakness and spasms
  • Numbness, tingling, cramps
  • Irregular heart rhythms

Low mood

  • Confusion and trouble remembering things
  • Poor attention span and concentration
  • Lethargy, Irrititability and Depression

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium in adult males can range between 400mg and 420mg depending on age. Females need less, generally between 310mg and 360mg. (2)(8)

Magnesium deficiency can be caused by a low intake of magnesium-rich foods, poor absorption through the gastrointestinal tract or excessive excretion through the kidneys. Other causes may include stress, lack of sleep, and heavy exertion. (2)

While magnesium deficiency is often common in adults, children are also at risk due to a lack of nutritious food in their diet.

Children need far less magnesium (around 130mg – 240mg between the ages of 4-12). (8) Magnesium can be important to calm the nervous system by encouraging production of serotonin which may reduce a child’s stress and anxiety and also help them concentrate and think clearer. (9)

Top ten nutritious food sources for magnesium

In order to get your daily allowance of between 310mg to 420mg you may include some of the top ten nutritious food sources for magnesium, which can be broken down into different food groups (8)(10):  

  1. Pumpkin Seeds 1oz (28g) = 150mg
  2. Cashews 1 oz (28g) = 82mg
  3. Almonds 1 oz = 80mg
  4. Spinach 1 cup cooked spinach – 157mg
  5. Bran Breakfast Cereal 1 oz = 78mg
  6. Banana 1 large = 37mg
  7. Figs 1/2 cup = 60mg
  8. Avocado 1 medium = 58mg
  9. Fish: Salmon  Half fillet (178g) = 53mg
  10. Dark Chocolate: An extra maybe but 1 small square = 95mg so it’s a good source.

Ideally, eating a magnesium-rich diet would help people meet their magnesium needs but there are many factors that mean this is not always possible. Nutrients being lost in food due to environmental factors, seasonal availability and cost of food all play a part in our ability to get enough magnesium from our diet alone. It can sometimes help to supplement your levels of magnesium with a good quality supplement.

Magnesium deficiency can cause secondary potassium imbalance so the use of the best magnesium and potassium supplements as well as a magnesium rich diet is crucial to maintain a balance between these important nutrients in the body. A quality supplement provides a balance of different nutrients working in synergy may be important for your body, heart and mind.

Synergy of Magnesium with other ingredients

The concept of synergy is defined as the interaction of two or more agents…so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. (6)

In this case, magnesium is best taken with other vitamins and minerals as it helps to absorb and metabolize other ingredients and maximize their effects. This is particularly significant in supplement formulas such as Xtendlife Total Balance which includes a balance of nutrients with magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin K2 and other ingredients in the right amounts.

Magnesium and Vitamin K2 work in synergy, in helping lower blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and bone restoration. Vitamin D helps improve the absorption of calcium so the arteries are protected from calcium formation. (2)

A diet rich in magnesium can help provide many benefits to your body. However, if you are eating a highly processed food diet it may mean you are not getting enough magnesium from your diet alone. (2) Add this to the other reasons we don’t get enough magnesium and we are often coming up short and need to supplement our food sources with a quality synergistic product such as Total Balance.