Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our well-being. It plays a part in numerous processes in the body.
It has a role in the function of more than 300 enzymes in the body as well as in many biochemical reactions. Magnesium is also important for metabolic functions such as regulation of insulin sensitivity, relaxation of blood vessels, muscles and nerves and proper bone and teeth development.
If your magnesium levels fall too low, you may experience fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, anxiety, depression and cardiovascular problems.
Magnesium is vital for detox processes as well and the synthesis of glutathione. The body requires magnesium to optimize the function of mitochondria (organelles within the cells which produce energy), effectively preventing cancer and improving athletic performance.
According to studies, mitochondrial problems lead to severe health problems. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, an expert in the matter says that magnesium is vital for our mitochondria as the oxidative capacity of the body depends on the mitochondria ability to produce energy for the cells and tissues.
How much magnesium do we need?
In general, we need 300-420 mg. of magnesium a day, but this depends on the gender and age. Doctors recommend 600-900 mg. of magnesium per day for optimal health which you can get through dietary sources and supplements.
In the past, the soil was rich in magnesium so people got the recommended daily amount easily, but nowadays, the soil is deprived of nutrients so we must rely on supplements to get all the magnesium our body needs.
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, the intestinal reaction is the best marker for how much magnesium we need. Start with a 200 mg. dose of magnesium citrate (the best form of magnesium for optimal health and body function), and increase the dose day by day until you experience a loose stool.
For supplements, you will benefit the most from magnesium threonate which can enter cell membranes easy and pass the blood-brain barrier. Of course, you should consult with your doctor when taking magnesium supplements as they all have different properties.
For best results, you should balance your magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and calcium levels as they work together.
Any imbalance between these nutrients can cause serious health problems. The best ratio between magnesium and calcium is 1:1, but as our diet lacks the mineral, the magnesium supplementation might be 2 times bigger.
Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue suggests 100 mcg. of magnesium for every 1000 UI of vitamin D you take. Your vitamin D levels should be checked twice a year in order to determine the right dose of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency usually occurs due to a diet rich in processed foods, and the levels are further affected by stress and lack of sleep. Alcohol abuse and frequent medications use can also affect the levels of magnesium in your body.
The main signs of magnesium deficiency are numbness and tingling in the arms, abnormal heart rhythm, vomiting, fatigue, headaches and weakness.
Chronic magnesium deficiency is a bigger problem which can have serious consequences on your health. This is why it’s best to start consuming a diet that includes magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables and some of the foods you can see below:
- Collard greens;
- Swiss chard;
- Brussels sprouts;
- Turnip greens;
- Bok Choy;
- Romaine lettuce;
- Beet greens;
- Fatty types of fish;
- Mustard seeds;
- Fennel seeds;
- Fruit and berries;
- Raw cocoa nibs;
- Seeds and nuts.
As we mentioned before, if you use supplements, you need to consult your doctor who can suggest the optimal amount of magnesium you need.