3 Tips for Recognizing Magnesium Deficiency in Your Children

Children are just as easily affected by stress and anxiety as adults. New school, new friends, new teachers, tests, grades, peer pressure, competitive sports and relationships all or some of which may be stressful for your kids.

Magnesium deficiency can come about for quite a number of reasons; from too much sugar (magnesium is required for the metabolism of sugar), from stress, from exercise and loss through perspiration. But the primary factor is from a poor diet and lack of nutrient dense food.

Here are three things to look out for in your child:

#1 – They get irritated easily and are looking to a greater or lesser degree like grumpy cat. They are not acting cheerful, they are antagonistic or are readily annoyed or disgruntled.

#2: Their muscles twitch or they get leg cramps anytime of the day, or during or after exercise or sports activities or at night during sleep. Growing pains and muscle cramps are almost a sure sign of low magnesium levels.

#3: They are worried, anxious or have panic attacks about school or other things as mentioned above. Excessive worry and anxiety over school, sports, friends and relationships, could be exacerbated by a magnesium deficiency. Talk to them about their worries and problems and get them supplementing with an absorbable form of magnesium. The calmer they are the better they will be able to deal with their issues.

Other signs of magnesium deficiency in children include restlessness, difficulty sleeping, teeth grinding and sensitivity to noise. Muscle tension, cramps, twitches and spasms (particularly in small muscles such as the eye lid) and constipation are also all common symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Helping Your Child

Look over what they are eating, making sure this behavior is not being induced by a sugar crash. Magnesium is known as the anti-stress, anti-anxiety mineral, which will help keep their mood stable and upbeat.

Some of the highest dietary sources of magnesium are from dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cashew nuts and sunflower seeds. The content of magnesium in these foods is affected by the magnesium content of the soil it’s grown in and unfortunately, unless the soil has been re-mineralized, most soils and foods have been depleted of magnesium and other nutrients to the extent that it is difficult to get enough magnesium from diet alone.

The recommended daily dosage for magnesium in children varies depending on their age. The National Institutes of Health recommends the following amounts:

Birth to 6 months = 30 mg
7-12 months = 75 mg
1-3 years = 80 mg
4-8 years = 130 mg
9-13 years = 240 mg
14-18 years = 360 mg for girls and 410 mg for boys

Children can be very finicky eaters, especially through the toddler years. This can make getting magnesium-rich foods into their diet a challenge.

If you have a finicky eater, try incorporating magnesium-rich vegetables into a smoothie or juiced drink or into their daily meals. Add magnesium citrate powder into any drink or smoothie, this is a highly absorbable form that is easy to take. You can always sweeten the drink with lemon, lime or apple as necessary.

Magnesium Supplements Are Safe for Children

If your child has kidney failure or kidney disease – magnesium would not be recommended. Otherwise, magnesium is safe. Talk to your health care professional about doses and whether or not magnesium supplements, and which ones, are right for your child based on their particular needs.

Your body only keeps the magnesium that it needs. What your body doesn’t need, it excretes.


Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member – Nutritional Magnesium Association – author of ”Kid’s Health, A Doctor’s Guide for Parents” and “Homeopathic Remedies for Children’s Common Ailments”

Medical Disclaimer:

The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article.


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