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Health and Fitness News

Are You Getting Enough M?

Why you need magnesium and what happens if you don’t get enough.

You may not hear much about magnesium, but it’s one mineral you can’t live without. Believe it or not, magnesium is found in every cell in your body. It’s a key player in hundreds of chemical processes in the body, including nerve, muscle, and heart function; production of DNA, bone, and proteins; and the regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar, and energy. Many foods contain magnesium, but if you’re not getting enough your doctor may recommend a supplement.

Just how much magnesium do you need, how to get it, and why is it so important? You’re about to find out.

How Much Do You Need?

The amount of magnesium your body needs depends on your gender, and children don’t need as much as adults. Adult men need 400 to 420 milligrams a day while women only need 310 to 320 milligrams. Pregnant women should aim for 350 to 360 milligrams daily.

Where Is It?

Magnesium is naturally found in many foods, and some foods such as certain cereals are fortified with magnesium. Some dairy products including milk and yogurt also contain magnesium. Nuts and seeds have high amounts of magnesium, with cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds containing the most. Legumes such as pinto beans, kidney beans, tempeh, navy beans, and lima beans are wonderful sources, as are whole grains like buckwheat, barley, quinoa, millet, and brown rice.

Reasons You May Need More

While this may seem like a long list of food sources, many people fail to get enough of this vital nutrient. In fact, the average adult has at least a 100-milligram magnesium deficit due to poor diet choices. Stocking up on these foods is the best way to fill up on this often underappreciated mineral.
More than half of the magnesium in your body gets stored in your bones.

Without enough, you’re at risk for bone loss, which leads to ostepororis, broken bones, and more. This is mainly because magnesium helps your body absorb calcium, the mineral essential for bone health.

Other ways magnesium helps include:

• Energy. Wonder why you feel tired all the time? Magnesium plays an important role in energy production. A deficiency may cause fatigue and weakness.
• Prevent Inflammation. Magnesium helps prevent a faulty inflammatory response. Unwanted inflammation is associated with a greater risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
• Sugar Control. This important mineral is involved in controlling blood sugar and metabolizing glucose. Low levels may cause blood sugar levels to rise and insulin resistance, putting you at risk for diabetes.
• Mental Health. One role of magnesium is to control the passage of chemical messengers between cells. Without enough magnesium, you’re at an increased risk of depression. Some people find magnesium to be more effective than antidepressant medication.
• Migraines. Deal with migraine headaches? An underlying magnesium deficiency could be to blame. Take a supplement to see if the frequency or severity of your headaches are lessened.
• Enhanced Performance. When you exercise, magnesium transports blood sugar to your muscles and removes lactate. More physical activity may increase your need for magnesium. With the nutrient, you may actually boost athletic performance.

Should You Take a Supplement?

If you rarely eat foods that contain magnesium, you may need a supplement. Talk with your doctor before taking any supplement, and be aware that magnesium may interact with certain medications.