Do you struggle with muscle cramps, migraines, anxiety, poor sleep, or constipation?
A magnesium deficiency may be the culprit!
It is estimated that about 75% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This is a shocking amount given that magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies! In order to understand why magnesium is so important, we need to understand what it is and how it functions.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that makes up about 25 grams of the adult human body. About 50-60% of it is found in our bones and the rest is found in our soft tissues (for example, our muscle). Less than 1% is found in our blood. Magnesium plays a key role in energy production, bone formation, nerve conduction, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction, heart rhythm, and more. It also plays a role in bowel movements by relaxing your intestines and pulling water into the bowels to soften the stool.
Where is Magnesium Found?
Magnesium is found naturally in our foods! Types of foods that contain magnesium:
After food is broken down in our stomach, it passes through to our small intestine in the form of chyme (a semi-solid mass of partially digested food) where nutrients such as magnesium are absorbed. The problem is that some of us will not be able to properly absorb magnesium. This is because if we consume foods that are inflammatory to us, then the gut lining becomes irritated and our digestive tract becomes inflamed. This is what we call a “leaky gut” and leads to impaired absorption of vitamins and minerals from the foods we consume.
What are signs/symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
Some common signs and symptoms of low magnesium levels are the following:
Now, if you are experiencing any of the above, it does not necessarily mean you are deficient in magnesium. However, at our clinic, we always check a magnesium level with our initial set of labs since we know it plays an important role in multiple bodily functions.
How do we check magnesium levels?
Most medical providers check a serum magnesium level. However, as mentioned previously, less than 1% of magnesium is found in our serum. Additionally, our body tightly controls how much magnesium is in our serum. This means that if our serum magnesium levels start to drop, our body will take magnesium from our bone and soft tissues (where most of it is found) to maintain serum levels stable. As a result, a serum magnesium level does not give us an accurate representation of our overall magnesium status.
The more accurate test to check a magnesium level is called an RBC (red blood cell) magnesium test. This measures the amount of magnesium in our red blood cells. It is a better indicator of magnesium status because it shows us how much magnesium is being absorbed into our cells.
Which type of magnesium should I take and how much?
You may have noticed that magnesium supplements come in many different “flavors.” Some common ones are magnesium oxide, magnesium taurate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate. So which one should you choose? Let me break these down for you:
The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for magnesium varies by age and gender, and ranges from 310-420 mg for most adults.
In conclusion, magnesium is a vital mineral involved in multiple bodily processes. Many of us are deficient in magnesium and do not even know it! At Berman Health and Wellness, we work with you to optimize your magnesium levels and improve your overall health and longevity. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to magnesium deficiency, reach out to us, we can help!