Without magnesium, your health will suffer greatly. Yet, nearly 80% of Americans are deficient. A simple blood test does not tell you that you are above or below the normal levels – 310-320 mg for women and 400-420 mg for men. Good dietary sources of magnesium are found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, avocados, bananas, dried fruit, beans and low-fat dairy.
Most of the time, low magnesium levels can be blamed on poor dietary habits. Alcoholism is also a cause. Some drugs (diuretics and antibiotics) interfere with magnesium absorption. Moreover, severe untreated diarrhea and intestinal tract diseases can cause magnesium loss.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are irritability, anxiety, lethargy, fatigue, memory problems, anorexia, loss of appetite, nausea and more. The symptoms are common to other vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Deficiencies in calcium, sodium, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 have overlapping symptoms.
Your risk of cardiovascular disease increases if you do not get enough magnesium. Cardiac arrhythmias can be fatal. Magnesium controls the electrical responses needed to govern heartbeat and heart rate. Hypertension (high blood pressure) increases with low levels of magnesium. Sometimes increasing dietary magnesium is enough to control hypertension.
People with low magnesium levels also have a higher risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart). Additionally, the risk of atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the arterial walls) increases when magnesium levels remain constantly lower than normal.
Recent studies have shown that constant low levels of magnesium affect your longevity. Telomere length is shortened significantly without proper magnesium levels in the body. Low levels of magnesium are associated with other health issues. You have a 23% higher risk of death from all causes and 38% increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Hospital visits are longer with lower levels of magnesium.
Low levels of magnesium increase inflammation and oxidative stress – both major causes of disease. Type II diabetics typically have lower levels of magnesium and higher insulin resistance compared to the norm. Chronic fatigue, asthma, depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders increase in those individuals with lower levels of magnesium.
It’s easy to increase magnesium through diet. If you are under a doctor’s care, please don’t make any changes without a consultation. Most Americans are deficient in many vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is one of the most important.
Reference – LifeExtension Magazine December 2014 (lef.org)