Do you have a magnesium deficiency? You might. It’s not as uncommon as it might seem. In fact, approximately half of all Americans aren’t getting sufficient amounts of magnesium in 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. Among them:
- Regulating muscle and nerve function
- Helping keep blood sugar levels stable
- Helping develop strong bones
- Energy production
- Transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes2
Over time, a magnesium deficiency can be detrimental to the health of your bones and heart. It may also lead to unstable blood sugar levels.3
To prevent the development of any unnecessary health problems, it’s important to make sure your body has adequate magnesium levels.
Low Magnesium Symptoms
Unfortunately, determining whether or not you’re magnesium deficient 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.4
So, how can you tell if you have a magnesium deficiency? You can start by doing a little of your own detective work. Here are some of the most common low magnesium symptoms:
- Low mood5
- Irritability and confusion6
- Frequent migraines7
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle pain and cramping
- Irregular heartbeat8
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. 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.9
- Helps manage stress: Evidence shows that magnesium may be effective in helping alleviate feelings of emotional stress.10
- Supports digestive regularity: Magnesium can help ensure the digestive system works smoothly and efficiently. It may also help relieve uncomfortable digestive symptoms.11
- Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels: A higher intake of magnesium is associated with more stable blood sugar levels.12
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.13 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.14,15 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. Half a cup of cooked broccoli will provide you with 51 mg … that’s ⅓ to ¼ of your daily magnesium needs.16
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.17
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.18
For a sweet treat, try this pudding recipe. It uses dark chocolate and another magnesium rich food, avocados, for a delightfully healthy dessert.19
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.20
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.21
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. Those frightening low magnesium symptoms should be enough to tell you that. Getting adequate levels of magnesium in your diet means 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”