Magnesium is a trace mineral found in several plants and animals. It is one of the most common minerals in water, soil, and salt. Magnesium plays a fundamental role in chemical reactions and also in the development of living organisms. Magnesium aids in muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and normal heart rate by playing a vital role in the transportation of potassium and calcium. Your eyes, muscles, and bones all require magnesium to function properly.
The mineral is found in a variety of food sources, including meat, poultry, fish, egg yolk, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. These food sources contain trace amounts of magnesium. Some people may need to take more than the recommended daily allowance of magnesium for various reasons. For example, people who are pregnant or nursing can increase their needs for magnesium because their bodies usually lose more potassium through loss.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need? To determine the amount of magnesium you should take in a day, add the total amount of magnesium in one medium and divide it by the total amount of magnesium in a serving. For example, to get one gram of magnesium per serving, you would need to consume one cup of coffee with 2 cups of water or a stew with four ounces of fish. Or to get one gram of magnesium per serving, replace one ounce of milk with one tablespoon of fish oil. Both foods will have the same amount of magnesium per serving.
What Is The Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)? If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications, you should consult with your doctor about the appropriate amounts of supplements that you should take on a daily basis. Your doctor can provide you with a comprehensive list of the different minerals, vitamins, and herbs that you should avoid or include in your diet. Some of these are listed below.
Calcium – Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for proper bone health. Deficiencies of this mineral can result in weak bones and frequent pain, particularly in women. Magnesium is found in most dairy products, most whole grains, most red meat, some orange and yellow fruits, and in some fortified juices and vitamins. The richest sources of magnesium are in legumes, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. In addition, it is available in some dairy products and in vitamin and supplement pills.
Vitamin D – Magnesium is one of the naturally occurring vitamins, which means that it is essential for the proper function of all the other vitamins and minerals in your body. It is also recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women get enough of this mineral. Vitamin D helps regulate metabolism, strengthens bones, maintains blood pressure, aids digestion, is critical to immune function, and helps strengthen the nervous system. It is also necessary for new bone formation, which may help prevent age-related bone diseases like osteoporosis. Deficiencies of Vitamin D in children can lead to obesity, joint problems, anxiety, depression, lethargy, hyperactivity, sleep disorders, and a number of other ailments. Because it is naturally found in egg yolks and dairy products, most healthy diets already contain Vitamin D. However, regular vitamin D supplementation is recommended for people who don’t get sufficient amounts from their diets.
Iron – One of the most common nutrients that most people don’t get enough of is iron. It is found in red meats, seafood, poultry, and legumes. However, research suggests that excessive intake of vitamin C may prevent absorption of iron. Vitamin C reduces absorption of other nutrients in the body, including folic acid, so it is best to eat foods high in vitamin C instead. Foods that are high in vitamin C are broccoli, peppers, tomato, cantaloupe, oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, parsley, spinach, kale, turnips, apricots, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe juice, honey, strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C supplements are available at health food stores.
If you are interested in taking a multi-nutritional supplement, take a look at the Magnesium present in many of the above foods. Magnesium supplements should be taken in moderation, since too much of any nutrient can be harmful. Keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. You want to find supplements that have high concentrations of the nutrients you need to maintain good health. To learn more about which nutrients your body needs, talk to your healthcare provider or dietitian.