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  • JOSH K REED

Magnesium 101 - You need this in your diet!

Summary

  • Magnesium (Mg2+) is an essential mineral found in the human body.

  • The average adult contains around 25g of it.

  • Up to 60% of this is found in the bones, with the rest found in soft tissues, like muscles.

  • Magnesium is involved in over 300 very important chemical processes in your body.

  • We excrete (urine & faeces) around 100 to 400mg of magnesium out of our bodies each day. 

  • If you don't consume enough magnesium, your body won't function at its bests, and negative symptoms will likely result. 

Functions

Magnesium is involved in a number of processes in the body, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose (sugar) regulation, as well as bone and DNA synthesis. Further to this, magnesium plays a role in:

  • Energy production

  • Blood pressure regulation

  • Protein synthesis

  • Muscle contraction

  • Normal heart rhythm

  • Nervous transmission

Magnesium balance

Checking your levels

You can get your magnesium levels checked through blood testing, however your blood levels of this mineral have little correlation with your overall total body levels. 

For a more comprehensive check, it is recommended to have both a blood test and a clinical assessment performed, including a diet history.

Those at higher risk of magnesium deficiency

  • Gastrointestinal disease

  • Intestinal surgery

  • Diabetes

  • Excess alcohol intake

  • Older adults

  • Poor diet

  • High exercise volume

Signs of severe magnesium deficiency

  • Loss of appetite 

  • Nausea

  • Muscular weakness

  • Low energy

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle spasms

  • Hyper-irritability, -excitability

  • Tetany

  • Convulsions

  • Insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion

Foods rich in Magnesium

In general, foods containing dietary fibre are good sources of magnesium. When foods are processed, this can lower the magnesium content substantially.

  • Pumpkin seeds 

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Almonds

  • Cashews

  • Peanuts

  • Tahini

  • All-bran

  • Wholemeal spaghetti

  • Spinach

  • Black beans

  • Soy milk

  • Dried figs

  • Sardines

  • Brewers yeast

Take home message

Eat more plants!

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