Magnesium is a supplement nearly everyone would benefit from. It is needed in over three hundred different processes in the body, including proper cholesterol and blood sugar regulation, supporting the heart and cardiovascular system, maintaining bone strength, and helping to maintain normal nerve and muscle function.
With magnesium being such a crucial mineral in our diets, it’s unfortunate to note that the USDA has reported that between seventy five and eighty five percent of Americans do not receive the recommended dosages needed to meet their body’s requirements. Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and some legumes. These foods were once plentiful in our diets, but processed foods, soft drinks and the “Standard American Diet” have severely reduced most Americans intake of magnesium. Worse, alcohol, along with many prescriptions and over the counter medications, depletes our bodies stores of magnesium even further.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps and spasms, headaches, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, calcification of the arteries, and sleep problems, and more.
Since magnesium is a large molecule, it is not usually included (or if it is, it is usually less than recommended amounts) in most multivitamins and even most calcium supplements, which is a shame since one of the benefits of magnesium is increased calcium absorption in to the bones. Because of this, it usually needs to be taken by itself or in a quality calcium supplement that contains the proper amounts of magnesium.
Magnesium and calcium are closely interconnected, and magnesium is useful for helping to mitigate any negative effects of calcium, like hardening of the arteries through calcium deposits. Magnesium can also help to dissolve and reduce the occurrence of many kidney stones, including calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate kidney stones. Magnesium deficiency has even been linked to the increased formation of kidney stones.
Magnesium supplements can also help with preventing constipation, since magnesium in the intestines draws fluid into stool, making it easier to pass. Unlike laxatives, which can be damaging to the body, adding extra magnesium to the diet can be a great idea for people who struggle with constipation, and unlike laxatives, can be taken on a regular basis to ensure proper bowel movement.
There are numerous forms of magnesium, the best absorbing include magnesium citrate, chelated magnesium which is bound to amino acids, and magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is the form least likely to have a laxative effect in the body, so if you’ve had an issue with loose stools when taking magnesium, the glycinate form is probably the best option.
Remember, magnesium must be obtained through diet, and over three quarters of Americans do not ingest the recommended amounts of magnesium needed for their body processes. Supplementing with a quality magnesium supplement is a great idea that can help your body to run better.