Magnesium is a mineral that is needed for various functions in our body. Read the article to know about magnesium deficiency, sources of magnesium, and more.
Magnesium is one of the minerals essential in our body for various functions. It is present in bone and the third most mineral that is found in teeth out of which the dentin contains more magnesium than enamel. It plays an important role in maintaining the homeostasis of calcium and also helps in the prevention of skeletal abnormalities. It also has actions in various enzymatic reactions along with maintenance of muscle integrity. The daily requirement of magnesium is 240 mg per day for a 9-year-old to 420 mg per day for men.
It can lead to various hypo and hyper states. Though it is difficult to get excess magnesium from daily food, this can happen in people taking supplements.
Although magnesium deficiency is a rare condition, it is important to know the symptoms that are seen during decreased levels of magnesium. Following symptoms can be experienced during magnesium deficiency:
1. Nausea or vomiting.
3. Loss of appetite.
4. Heart rhythms can become abnormal.
5. Numbness or tingling sensation.
6. Contraction of muscles or muscular cramps.
As mentioned, it is rare to happen, certain health conditions can contribute to decreased magnesium level in the body, which are as follows:
1. Certain diseases or conditions of the gastrointestinal tract like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
3. Viral infection of the stomach causing diarrhea and vomiting.
4. Diseases or disorders of the kidney.
Also, certain habits or personal lifestyle like increased alcohol consumption or caffeine consumption on a regular basis can alter the magnesium levels in the body.
Yes, taking or consumption of high levels of magnesium can also cause some serious side-effects. Studies have shown that magnesium toxicity can lead to failure of kidney or renal function can be impaired. This can also lead to diarrhea, nausea, and cramps in the abdomen, and finally, a very high increase in the magnesium levels can lead to cardiac arrest.
Usually, a high dose of magnesium can be utilized as a laxative like milk of magnesia.
Magnesium is seen or obtained naturally in various foods and some of the best sources of magnesium are mentioned below.
1. Dark Chocolate - As we all know that it is the food that makes you happy along with being delicious. It has phenylethylamine, which is responsible for endorphins release, also known as neurotransmitters that make you feel good. The amount of magnesium present in dark chocolate is 228 mg per 100 mg of chocolate.
2. White Beans - This has folate along with magnesium and is also fibrous. The amount of magnesium content in 100 grams of white beans is 190 mg.
3. Black Beans - It is a vegetarian staple and contains high levels of protein and has very less content of fat and cholesterol. Also, it has high levels of magnesium. 100 grams of black beans contain 171 mg of magnesium.
4. Pumpkin and Squash Seeds - They are a very good source of nutritious snacks. They contain high levels of magnesium. 1 ounce which is approximately equivalent to 142 seeds consists of 168 mg of magnesium.
5. Spinach - Cooked spinach is known to be a good source of magnesium. The amount of magnesium present in spinach is 87 mg per 100 mg of spinach.
6. Almonds - It is a dry fruit with low-calories. Also, they are beneficial in the building of bone as it contains calcium and magnesium. 1 ounce of almonds has 76.5 mg of magnesium.
7. Cashews - Another nut or dry fruit is known to be rich in magnesium. But, they are also high in carbohydrates but they are equally nutritious. Also, they are known to be a good source of certain vitamins like vitamin E, K, and B6, along with containing potassium and iron. One ounce of cashews equates to 73.7 mg of magnesium.
8. Avocados - It is nutritious as well as delicious and has magnesium content in it along with potassium, vitamin B and K. A medium-sized avocado contains 58 mg of magnesium.
9. Legumes - They belong to a group of plants that have high amounts of nutrients like beans, chickpeas, etc. They are known to be a rich source of magnesium also. Along with this, they are also a good source of potassium and iron. They account as an important source of proteins for vegetarians.
10. Whole Grains - Grains involve certain cereals, wheat, barley, etc. One ounce of dry buckwheat can provide almost 16% of the daily required magnesium level.
11. Fish - Certain fishes like fatty fishes are a very good source of magnesium. Studies have shown that increased intake of fatty fish is related to a decrease in the risk of many chronic diseases or conditions, especially diseases of the heart.
12. Fruits - Certain fruits like bananas also account for a good source of magnesium. They are also a very good source of potassium. One large size banana can account for 37 mg of magnesium which is almost 9% of the required quantity.
13. Green Leafy Vegetables - Apart from spinach, certain other green leafy vegetables are also a good source of magnesium. These include turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, etc. Along with providing magnesium, they are also known to be a good source of iron, manganese, and certain vitamins like vitamin A, C, and K.
Magnesium is one of the essential nutrients in the diet and needs to be taken adequately in order to maintain the proper functioning of the body. Everyone should be aware of the symptoms associated with decreased and increased intake of magnesium.
To know the best sources of magnesium for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. With the help of an online medical platform, it has become easy to consult a physician at the ease of home, anytime in order to clear your doubts. You can use these platforms to ask your questions regarding magnesium's sources.
Magnesium deficiency can, over time, cause adverse health effects such as,
- High blood pressure.
- Heart diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes.
Low magnesium levels in the body can exhibit the following signs and symptoms,
- Muscle cramps.
- Numbness and tingling sensations.
- Low calcium and potassium levels.
- Altered moods.
- Abnormal heart rhythms.
- Take magnesium supplements.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and beverages, and carbonated drinks.
- Eliminate refined sugar from your diet.
Natural sources of magnesium include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, dark chocolate, and tofu.
- Spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
- Edamame beans (a type of soybean).
The following food items are rich in both magnesium and potassium:
- Spinach (cooked).
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Whole grains.
Juices of orange, pineapple, grapes, prunes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and banana are rich in magnesium.
Nuts are rich sources of magnesium. Almonds, cashew, and peanuts are packed with magnesium.
Though eggs contain both magnesium and potassium, they are not rich sources of both. Eggs are considered to be low-potassium foods.
Caffeinated beverages and drinks can deplete the body’s magnesium levels. Hence drinking coffee on a regular basis or in excessive amounts can lower magnesium levels.
In case of magnesium deficiency, it is fine to take magnesium supplements after a physician’s advice. But too much magnesium levels (above 350 mg) due to supplements can also cause adverse effects like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
Magnesium citrate or glycinate supplements are recommended for pregnant women. However, your gynecologist will choose the best one for you.
Prolonged use of magnesium sulfate injections in pregnant women can affect the fetus’ calcium levels and bones. It can lead to a condition called osteopenia (low bone mass) that makes the baby’s bones prone to fracture.
Magnesium deficiency in pregnant women can lead to varied health conditions like preterm labor, restricted baby growth within the womb, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
Magnesium glycinate treats anxiety and migraines well due to its easier absorbability. Magnesium citrate and oxide also treat these conditions well.
Some studies have achieved better results in treating migraines in people with 500 mg of magnesium supplementation. Though the National Headache Foundation recommends 400 to 600 mg of daily magnesium supplement to treat migraines, it exceeds the recommended per day magnesium levels. Hence, it is ideal to discuss with your physician for an optimal dose.
Last reviewed at:
21 May 2020 - 4 min read
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