Up to 90% of men and 70% of women do not consume a sufficient amount of magnesium in their diet. Magnesium deficiency is common in Poland, and it is intensified by chronic stress - a factor that greatly increases the body's need for magnesium. Are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency easy to recognise? Where to look for good sources of magnesium in food? How to choose the best magnesium supplement?
Are you at risk of magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium is a key element in the functioning of the nervous system, bones, and every cell in the body. On average, the human body contains 25-30g of magnesium. More than half is in the bones and about 40% in the soft tissues and skeletal muscles. Magnesium is found in intracellular fluid, where it activates over 300 enzymes. Magnesium is necessary for bone and tooth formation, DNA synthesis, maintaining sodium-potassium balance, muscle excitability (calcium antagonist), nerve signal transmission, brain function and reducing the physiological effects of stress. These are just some of its functions.
According to research, magnesium deficiency in the diet affects 60-90% of men and 50-70% of women. According to the norms and recommendations, the intake of magnesium in Poland is too low. Yet magnesium deficiency in the body occurs not only as a result of insufficient intake with food. It is primarily the result of:
- living in chronic stress and being exposed to frequent nervous tension. Magnesium consumption by body cells increases significantly as a result of stressors, whether physical or emotional. Persistent physical or mental stress causes magnesium deficiencies in the body, and low magnesium levels exacerbate stress, creating a vicious cycle. Nowadays, very few people can say that they are not exposed to severe stress.
- An unbalanced diet, or more precisely, ignorance of the dietary factors that significantly limit the body's ability to utilise magnesium. Food components that reduce magnesium absorption include phosphates present in large quantities in processed meats and yellow cheeses, phytates present in cereals and nuts, large amounts of fibre and calcium. It is good to know that foods rich in magnesium often also contain phytate.
A large part of the population is at risk of magnesium deficiency due to insufficient intake of products rich in magnesium, the combination of sources of magnesium with sources of compounds limiting its absorption as well as a stressful lifestyle.
Recommended products with magnesium
Magnesium deficiency - symptoms
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are in many ways very similar to those of chronic stress. Symptoms that indicate magnesium deficiency and stress at the same time include:
- feeling anxious,
- muscle weakness,
- gastrointestinal cramps,
- muscle cramps,
- sleep problems,
- nausea and vomiting.
However, these are not the only symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiencies manifest themselves in all systems in which it plays an important role. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency in the cardiovascular system are circulatory disorders, cardiac disorders, anaemia due to damage of red blood cell membranes and shortening their life span. The nervous system demonstrates magnesium deficiency through hyperactivity, irritability, behavioural changes and chronic fatigue. The latter may be related to anaemia. One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is decreased bone density and bone fragility. In this aspect, attention is usually paid only to calcium, but it should not be forgotten that magnesium is an equally important bone material. Magnesium participates in the production and activation of many proteins, including immune ones. Increased incidence of various infections and diseases may be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, as its deficiency affects the functioning of the immune system. Insufficient magnesium in the body has a negative effect on the functioning of the pancreas, impairs insulin secretion, and is one of the causes of insulin resistance.
Mild magnesium deficiency usually does not cause any symptoms. They are noticeable only in deeper deficiency of the element. Most frequently people with magnesium deficiency complain of apathy, depressive behaviour, weakness, drowsiness, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting may appear much earlier than any other symptoms of magnesium deficiency, although this is not a rule of resistance.
Which foods contain magnesium? Sources of magnesium
Where to find magnesium? It is a component of chlorophyll, the green pigment of plants. This is why green leafy plants have a lot of magnesium. It can be found also in cruciferous vegetables. The best sources of magnesium among vegetables are spinach, kale, dill, arugula, parsley, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, and potatoes. What else contains magnesium? n food, it is present in pulses - beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, as well as in soy and soy products like tofu. Products rich in magnesium are also cereals, cereal sprouts and wholemeal cereal products (bread, groats, cereals, rice, pasta) as well as nuts and seeds. It should be pointed out, that these foods are also rich in phytates, which limit the absortion of magnesium. In the case of nuts and seeds, phytates can be largely got rid of by soaking before eating. Other great sources of magnesium include avocados, cocoa, dark chocolate, yellow cheeses and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut and sardines.
Many people ask themselves how to quickly increase magnesium levels in the body. One of the options is to eat the right magnesium-rich foods in large quantities.
What has plenty of easy-to-absorb magnesium?
- Dark chocolate - 3 strips of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content cover the body's magnesium requirement by 16%. Start choosing it over other sweets.
- Avocado - one medium avocado provides 15% of your daily magnesium intake. Add them to a salad or make a paste for bread.
- Pumpkin seeds - a handful contains up to 37% of your daily magnesium requirement.
- Nuts - a handful of nuts, necessarily pre-soaked, provides approximately 20% of your daily magnesium requirement. Nuts are also a very healthy snack.
- Legumes - a glass of cooked beans provides up to 30% of the magnesium required each day. Time to reach for hummus, falafel and Mexican dishes.
- Tofu - 100 g of tofu is 13% of your daily magnesium intake. It's worth including in your diet, not just if you're a vegetarian.
- Bananas - one banana provides up to 9% of the amount of magnesium you need each day.
How to choose the best magnesium?
For many people, the daily requirement for magnesium is much higher than the norm shows. It is often difficult to cover the body's needs with diet alone, and in the case of magnesium deficiency, it is particularly worth considering a good dietary supplement, which will help to quickly replenish magnesium deficiencies in the body. There are countless magnesium preparations available on the market. Which magnesium product to choose?
The best magnesium is the best absorbable one. Magnesium is found in dietary supplements in several forms, from those very well absorbed to those whose absorption rate is close to zero. The absorbability of magnesium depends on its solubility in water and whether it forms organic (salts found in living organisms) or inorganic (salts found for example in rocks) combinations. The best magnesium is well soluble in water and exists as organic salt. These conditions are met by magnesium citrate to the highest extent. It is the best-absorbed magnesium on the market. Good magnesium also includes magnesium gluconate, magnesium lactate (organic salts) and magnesium chloride. The latter, despite being inorganic, has a very high solubility in water, which positively affects its assimilability. Looking for good magnesium, preparations with magnesium oxide should be avoided. Magnesium in this form is almost not absorbed by the body at all.