Your Complete Guide To Magnesium: The Most Important Of All Minerals

Looking for a guide to magnesium? Here's everything to know about why it's important, how it works, and how it can benefit your health

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June 23, 2019
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In a world where fad diets dominate the mass media scene and self-proclaimed healers are pushing proprietary products into the arms of the uneducated public, there needs to be a clear distinction between what you need and what you don’t need in your diet. If your goal is to be healthy, feel good, maybe lose some extra fat, and just live an energetic, productive lifestyle, then you need to eat a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Most importantly, you need to be consistent in doing this. Eating healthy for a week won’t do you any good, the idea is to eat healthy day after day throughout the years. And one of the major elements of your healthy diet is magnesium. This is a mineral you need to keep in check if you want to experience the health benefits you’re looking for. With that in mind, here’s your complete guide to magnesium.

The benefits of magnesium intake

Let’s start with the health and lifestyle benefits you might experience from maintaining an adequate magnesium intake on a daily basis. Firstly, magnesium is a good sleep and relaxation aid, as it is involved in the synthesis and production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with a number of healthy processes in the brain. One of these is stress and sleep management.

Next, magnesium is an important element in healthy, strong bones, and is therefore especially important for athletes. Magnesium also supports proper muscle contraction, which helps alleviate cramps and muscle soreness. The mineral contributes to healthy blood glucose levels, as it helps convert sugar into energy, which can not only help you perform better in your everyday life, but avoid common conditions related to sugar intake as well. And lastly, magnesium supports healthy heart functions and normal blood pressure.

Common conditions associated with magnesium deficiency

Before we move on to the best sources of magnesium and how to take it for maximum health effects, let’s address the problem of magnesium deficiency. You might think that not getting enough magnesium in your diet is fine as well, that nothing “bad” can happen from simply not thinking about the mineral and sticking to your normal eating routine. However, if you don’t tidy up your diet, and improve your magnesium intake, you might become deficient, which will take a toll on your quality of life.

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Some common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Mental angst and distress, usually in the form of apathy, lethargy, and anxiety.
  • Muscle twitching and cramps.
  • Osteoporosis and other bone-degenerative conditions.
  • Muscle weakness and total-body fatigue.
  • High blood pressure and palpitations.
  • Asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Now that you understand the benefits of proper intake and the possible health complications of magnesium deficiency, let’s talk about structuring your diet around the mineral.

Bioavailability through food and supplementation

Right off the bat, it’s important that we note just how readily available magnesium is in whole food sources. The short answer is, not all that much. While many healthy food sources are rich in magnesium, the likes of nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and lean meats, it’s important to understand that magnesium is not easily extracted from those sources.

This is why the medical and scientific communities have begun advocating the use of a bioavailable magnesium supplement in addition to a healthy diet – because magnesium supplementation ensures proper absorption, and because tailoring your diet around magnesium itself can be costly, time-consuming, and unsustainable. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat foods rich in magnesium, because they are usually sources of other crucial vitamins and minerals, just that you need to know which minerals you should supplement with and which should come primarily from whole foods. Calcium, for example, has a high bioavailability rating, which means that you can get it from a number of sources.

When should you take magnesium?

When it comes to eating healthy and boosting your quality of life, there is no general rule when you should be taking your macro and micronutrients. That said, magnesium is a mineral you can take with breakfast, or with your last meal. You can also take magnesium right before bed in order to utilize the added melatonin production and improve the quality of your sleep cycles. The main thing to remember, though, is to stay consistent with your magnesium intake over the long term in order to improve your quality of life as a whole.

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Recommended daily intake of magnesium

As with any mineral, vitamin, or macronutrient, the key to obtaining the health benefits without the risk of overconsumption is to know your daily allowance, and to stick to it. The keyword you should remember here is “balance”, as taking in too much magnesium can have adverse side effects, much like being deficient does.

With that in mind, it’s important that you talk with your doctor first to see if there is any special treatment you should consider, especially if you’re suspecting that you might be deficient. As a general guideline, the daily allowance for adults is 400-450 milligrams for men and 350 milligrams for women.

In closing

Proper mineral intake is the key to health and longevity, and magnesium in particular has a vital role to play in your long-term well-being. With this guide in mind, go ahead and make magnesium a staple of your daily routine, and watch as your quality of life starts to rise.