Diets May Need More Magnesium

Diets May Need More Magnesium
Spinach is rich in magnesium, making it a good way to get enough of the mineral. Photo courtesy Bertholf.

According to surveys of American diets, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey of 2005 to 2006, 48% of people are not getting as much magnesium as the Food and Nutrition Board recommends. At every age level, people seem to be taking in less magnesium than the estimated average requirement (ERA). Health risks of magnesium deficiency include type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer.

Some websites marketing magnesium supplements claim just about anyone may be deficient in magnesium. However, these sites do not tell you extreme doses of magnesium supplements may be toxic and even fatal. Excess magnesium produces symptoms of hypotension, which include nausea, vomiting, facial flushing, urine retention, ileus (obstructed intestine), depression, and lethargy. Magnesium overdose can also cause muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extreme hypotension, irregular heartbeat, and cardiac arrest. The author of Paleo Hacks even claims to have had “near death experiences … (and) nightmares that are out of this world,” from taking a powdered magnesium supplement, calling it the “natural calm of death.”

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, magnesium ranks as the fourth most ample mineral in the human body. Some foods are rich in magnesium, such as spinach, peanuts, seeds, whole grains, and milk. Milk has 24 to 27 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per serving and a daily value (DV) of six to seven percent according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one half cup of boiled spinach has 78 mg per serving and 20 percent DV, and one quarter cup of oil-roasted peanuts has 63 mg per serving and 16 percent DV. This suggests that with the proper diet, some people may already be getting plenty of magnesium.

Magnesium is often in calcium’s shadow when it comes to number of studies on each mineral. However, public opinion is shifting toward realizing the importance of magnesium for metabolism and other body processes.

In 2014, scientists from Case Western University in Cleveland and Catholic University of Korea claimed that levels above 335 mg per day of magnesium intake were associated with a 30 percent lower risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Catholic University of Korea scientists’ findings suggest the body easily absorbs magnesium glycerophosphate, a magnesium salt, when in the small intestine.

Persistence Market Research and SPINS expects sales of magnesium supplements to surpass calcium in the future. The worldwide demand for Mineral Supplements may become the biggest portion of the pharmaceutical market by 2020.

Guest article edited by Ross Cummings.

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