Are you suffering from low magnesium symptoms? You might be. It’s not as uncommon as it might seem. In fact, approximately half of all Americans aren’t getting a sufficient magnesium intake from their diets.1 Surprising, isn’t it?
You see, magnesium doesn’t get talked about nearly enough — it tends to live in the shadow of more famous minerals, like iron and calcium. But it’s time to shine a little light on it.
This mineral is absolutely essential to the health of multiple body functions. And not getting enough of it can lead to a magnesium deficiency and the potential for more serious health consequences.
So, if you’re curious about this mineral’s effect on your body — and what happens when you don’t get enough of it — read on.
A Mighty Mineral
Magnesium is a necessary component of approximately 300 biochemical reactions in your body that keep you running efficiently. It’s also one of the body’s key electrolytes. Electrolytes help your body maintain normal fluid levels in its individual fluid compartments.2
Other benefits of magnesium include:
- Regulating muscle and nerve function
- Helping keep blood sugar levels stable
- Helping develop strong bones
- Energy production
- Transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes3
Over time, a magnesium deficiency has the potential to be detrimental to the health of your bones and your heart. It may also lead to muscle spasms and unstable blood sugar levels.4
To prevent the development of any unnecessary health problems, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your magnesium levels and make sure your body gets an adequate magnesium intake.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Unfortunately, determining whether or not your diet is deficient in magnesium can be a bit tricky. Blood tests are often used to assess low magnesium symptoms, but the scientific community generally agrees that they aren’t the most reliable indicator. Part of this is due to the fact that only 1 percent of your body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.5
So, how can you tell if you’re magnesium deficient? You can start by doing a little of your own detective work. Here are some of the most common low magnesium symptoms:
- Low mood6
- Irritability and confusion7
- Frequent migraines8
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle pain and cramping
- Irregular heartbeat9
As always, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor if you have significant health concerns. They’ll be able to take a full inventory of your health, ensuring you’re getting any medical attention you might need.
Magnesium To The Rescue
Research has shown that increasing your magnesium intake can do a lot to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of magnesium are vast, and science supports the idea that this mineral …
- Helps reduce migraine symptoms: A 2015 study found that migraine patients who increased their magnesium intake saw a decrease in symptom severity and experienced fewer migraine episodes.10
- Helps manage stress: Evidence shows that magnesium may be effective in helping alleviate feelings of emotional stress.11
- Supports digestive regularity: Magnesium can help ensure the digestive system works smoothly and efficiently. It may also help relieve uncomfortable digestive symptoms.12
- Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels: A higher intake of magnesium is associated with more stable blood sugar levels.13
Building Up Your Magnesium Levels
So, how can you build up your body’s stores of magnesium and improve those low magnesium symptoms? Well, the best place to start is your diet.
Now, you might be wondering just how much magnesium you should be getting each day.
According to the National Institutes of Health, adult men should aim for 400-420 mg of magnesium, while adult women should be getting 310-320 mg.14 And with healthy, intentional eating, it’s entirely possible to get these recommended amounts of magnesium.
Here’s a list of lectin-free foods that are particularly high in magnesium
(Along with a few recipes — to make sure you’re getting the most delicious versions of them!)
This leafy green is packed with magnesium.
One cup of cooked spinach provides 157 mg, while one cup of raw spinach will give you 24 mg.15,16 Spinach is also loaded with vitamin A — a powerful antioxidant.
For a good dose of this superfood, try my creamed spinach recipe.
Mom always said, “Eat your broccoli.” And she was right. This nutritious staple is packed with magnesium (and calcium). A cup of cooked broccoli will provide you with 24 mg of magnesium.17
Try some of these ideas: marinate broccoli in coconut yogurt and your favorite spices, then grill; roast your broccoli and top with “cheesy” nutritional yeast; or use it to make pesto in place of basil.
Want an easy take-along snack? Try some walnuts. A half cup of will give you an astounding 92 mg of magnesium. A great source of protein and vitamin B-6, walnuts will also help you maintain energy throughout your day.18
Want to cook with walnuts? Combine walnuts with brussels sprouts for a delicious magnesium-packed side dish at dinner.
Who says eating healthy has to be boring? You might already know that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, but did you know it’s also a great source of magnesium?
A mere ounce of dark chocolate (70-85 percent cacao) will give you nearly 64 mg of magnesium.19
For a sweet treat, try this pudding recipe. It uses dark chocolate and another magnesium rich food, avocados, for a delightfully healthy dessert.20
Add a little color to your salad! Beets provide 31 mg of magnesium per cup, and they’re also a good source of vitamin C and potassium.21
Beets are so versatile! Here are just a few fun ideas: shred beets and serve them raw with your favorite Gundry-approved dressing; char under the broiler, then chop and mix with garlic, chiles, and cilantro to make salsa; or steam whole, then sear in butter or olive oil.
Green bananas are a great lectin-free, on-the-go snack. And they’re also good for you. And it’s not just potassium I’m talking about here. One large banana will give you a very respectable 37 mg of magnesium.22
Try out this Lectin-Free Plantain Pancake Recipe and substitute green bananas instead!
Types of Magnesium Supplements
Sometimes, you might not get enough of a particular nutrient in your diet. So, a good supplement is often recommended. But when it comes to magnesium supplements, there are actually several forms of magnesium to choose from – which can be a little confusing.
Let’s explore a few of the most popular. Note that it may take up to 6 months of supplementation to see a difference.23
Magnesium Citrate – Magnesium citrate is highly soluble and absorbs quickly. It’s commonly used as a laxative for constipation, or for improving digestion. But if diarrhea becomes a problem, you may want to switch to another type of magnesium supplement.24
Magnesium Chloride – Magnesium chloride is primarily used for magnesium deficiency in people who can’t absorb it properly. It is often given via injection, but it may also be used effectively in oil form for muscle aches and pains and sleep issues.25,26
Magnesium Chelate – Chelated magnesium is highly absorbable by the body, so it’s a popular supplement for those who may be deficient. It’s bound to several amino acids which helps to adequately restore magnesium levels.27
Magnesium Threonate – Magnesium I-threonate is also a highly absorbable form of magnesium. But it has the added ability to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and get magnesium all the way to the brain. This form of magnesium is quite new and research is very excited about its future potential for brain conditions.28
What’s the Deal with Epsom Salts?
Epsom salts are often used for a good, relaxing soak in the tub. But why? Well, though many people don’t realize it, Epsom salts are packed with magnesium. Magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin and is known (as we saw with the oil above) for soothing away muscle aches and pains.29
Though Epsom salt is not recommended for those with magnesium deficiency – stick to an oral supplement – it’s still highly regarded by doctors as a great health soak.
Magnesium may live in the shadow of more “famous” minerals, like calcium and iron, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing a lot for your body. The benefits of magnesium are that you’ll be supporting the health of your bones, muscles, heart, and brain –– and you might even find that you’re less stressed!
Now, how about some of that chocolate pudding?
Want more magnesium-rich recipes? Keep reading here:
Dr. Gundry’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
Dr. G’s Delicious Lectin-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
Dr. Gundry’s Vegan Burger That “Bleeds”