Being a co-factor in more than 300 enzyme systems which take part in various biochemical reactions in the body, magnesium is more than necessary for our bodies to function properly.
Magnesium is involved in the processes of each nerve and muscle in the body, so magnesium deficiency leads to inability to control our muscles. The role of this mineral in the body includes:
Active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes
- Blood glucose control
- Blood pressure regulation
- Synthesis (aka production) of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant Glutathione
- Protein synthesis
- Energy production
- Structural development of bones
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include:
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite
Symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include:
- numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness
- abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms
- muscles twitches, spasms, or cramps
- low blood pressure
- personality changes
Long-term Effects of Magnesium Deficiency
Lack of magnesium in our bodies is associated with some pretty dangerous health problems. It`s no wonder that these conditions, which are on the rise in the U.S, correlate with the significant decrease in magnesium of our food.
1. Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
The Athlerosclerosis Risk in Communities studied the risk factors for heart disease and serum magnesium levels in more than 14,000 African American and Caucasian people, aged 45 to 64, and then did a follow-up after 12 years. It was found that people with the highest serum magnesium levels were at 38 percent reduced risk of heart attack compared to those with the lowest.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Low magnesium levels can lead to insulin resistance, which is the precursor to diabetes. What`s more, diabetes is associated with an increased loss of magnesium through the urine. This not only worsens the deficiency, but affects function of insulin in the body too.
Magnesium is critical for the formation of bones, but it also affects osteoclasts and osteoblasts, the concentrations of the active form of vitamin D, and concentrations of parathyroid hormone. In other words, magnesium is of utmost importance for bone mineral density, and when it is low, we are at an elevated risk of osteoporosis.
Constriction of blood vessels and release of neurotransmitter linked with magnesium are one of the major headache-promoting factors. It has been scientifically shown that migraine sufferers have low serum and tissue levels of magnesium.
Foods High in Magnesium
There are plenty of magnesium-rich foods which you can incorporate in your daily diet. Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy veggies are the most magnesium-rich foods.
Foods with the Most Magnesium
- Medium Banana (32mg)
- Kidney Beans (35mg per half cup)
- Instant Oatmeal (36mg per packet)
- Plain, Low fat Yogurt (42mg per 8 ounces)
- Brown Rice (42mg per half cup)
- Baked Potato with skin (43mg per 3.5 ounce potato)
- Avocado (44-55mg per 1 cup, cubed)
- Edamame (52mg per half cup)
- Black Beans (60mg per half cup)
- Quinoa (63mg per half cup)
- Oil Roasted Peanuts (63mg per quarter cup)
- Dry roasted Cashews (74mg in 1 ounce)
- Tempeh (77mg per half cup)
- Swiss Chard (80mg per half cup, cooked)
- Black Eyed Peas (80mg per half cup)
- Spinach (83mg per half cup, cooked)
- Dry roasted Almonds (80mg in 1 ounce)
- Salmon (92mg per 2.5k ounce fillet)
- Brazil Nuts (133mg per quarter cup)
- Pumpking or Squash Seeds (317mg per quarter cup)