By Jennifer Flaten -
Have you been feeling fatigued and moody lately? How about anxious, with bouts of insomnia? Before you blame it on menopause or chalk it up to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), you should consider whether you may have a magnesium deficiency. Being deficient in magnesium can have a dramatically negative impact on your mood and can also lead to feelings of nervousness and a general lack of energy. Increasing your daily intake of magnesium is an easy way to feel more energetic, with an improved outlook on life.
First of all, what is magnesium? Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. Nearly 50% of the magnesium in our bodies can be found in the bones with the remainder found in cell tissue and organs. While a small amount of magnesium, about 1%, is found in the blood, it is that 1% that the human body works very hard to keep constant.
Our bodies require magnesium as over 300 biochemical reactions rely on it. In addition to those biochemical reactions, sufficient levels of magnesium are necessary to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, a steady heartbeat, strong bones, and a healthy immune system. Magnesium also plays a role in regulating blood sugar, keeping blood pressure normal and helping the body metabolize energy.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
While it is well documented that those deficient in magnesium may suffer from joint and muscle pain, migraines, nervousness, and anxiety, it is easy to see why magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed. Further research has concluded that a magnesium deficiency may actually be an underlying cause for many other illnesses. For example, if you are suffering with fatigue, a magnesium deficiency could be the culprit. Magnesium plays a key role in the energy process within our cells. If energy production is limited due to low magnesium levels, you may experience a feeling of overall fatigue and weakness. Simply increasing your daily intake could have an immediate impact on your overall energy levels.
As magnesium is critical to muscle relaxation and the regulation of blood sugar, having sufficient levels can lead to a more calm, relaxed state of mind, which in turn can lead to a sound night of sleep. Nothing can improve your overall sense of well being like awakening from a good night of sleep refreshed and revived.
One of the most important research findings is the link between magnesium deficiency and mood-related disorders. Some studies have indicated that certain cases of major depression can be effectively treated with magnesium supplementation. In fact, many believe that an underlying cause of depression is a deficiency in certain vitamins or minerals, including sufferers who have realized rapid recovery as a result of increasing their magnesium intake.
The use of magnesium supplementation as a way to relieve the symptoms of PMS is well documented. Studies have found that a 200 mg a day supplement of magnesium reduced PMS fluid retention, along with ending breast tenderness and bloating. It has been shown that being deficient in magnesium leads to a lower PMS pain tolerance.
Increasing Your Magnesium Intake
So how much magnesium is enough? If you take a multi-vitamin, you may assume that you are receiving the necessary amount of magnesium. Unfortunately, the average multi-vitamin contains only 100 mg of magnesium, which is about 25% of the recommended daily allowance. Currently, the recommended daily allowance is 400 mg for men over age 18 and 310 mg for women over the age of 18. Recent studies have shown that the human body may need up to three times that amount, in order to function properly. This may be especially true for those suffering from the mood-related conditions noted above. Diuretics, antibiotics and some cancer treatments deplete the body’s stores of magnesium, making it extremely critical to replenish magnesium to adequate levels.
Rather than relying exclusively on dietary supplements for adequate amounts of magnesium, there are many food sources rich in this mineral. These foods include: almonds, Brazil nuts, soybeans, wheat germs seeds, wheat bran, millet, seafood, legumes and dark green vegetables such as kale or swiss chard. Add a serving or two of these foods to your diet each day if possible.
Low levels of magnesium may impact the levels of other essential minerals as well. For example, if you are suffering from chronically low blood levels of calcium and potassium, the cause may be a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium works with the body to absorb calcium and potassium, so without proper levels of magnesium, calcium and potassium are not properly absorbed into the body.
As magnesium is absorbed into the body through the digestive system and kidneys where it is circulated through the blood to the cells and organs, a digestive disorder like Crohn’s disease can hamper the body’s ability to absorb this mineral. Those suffering from problems with the digestive tract have to take extra care to make sure that their magnesium intake is sufficient to compensate for their body’s decreased ability to process it.
Increasing your magnesium levels can have a positive impact your mood, especially if you have also been experiencing day-to-day fatigue or never ending muscle and joint pain. It is as simple as taking a magnesium supplement or adding some almonds or Brazil nuts along with some dark green vegetables and seafood to your meal plan. Balancing your mood will create a sense of calm that should allow you sleep better, and in turn, banish constant fatigue from your life.