Why is Magnesium Important to My Active Lifestyle?
Vital to the human body, helping with energy production, and increasing heart and bone health, Magnesium can be one of your best vitamin 'friends'. Magnesium interacts with over 300 enzymes to help regulate protein synthesis, blood glucose, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve function.
In the human body, 50% to 60% of magnesium is found in bones while 40% to 50% is in soft tissues. Less than 1% percent of magnesium is in our blood, which makes it difficult for a blood test to determine adequate magnesium levels. Fortunately, true magnesium deficiencies are rare, unless an illness resulting in vomiting or diarrhea causes a temporary shortfall. Humans can have habits that can lead to magnesium deficiencies as well, including taking diuretics and consuming too much coffee, soda, salt or alcohol.
Imagine your muscles in a permanent state of contraction. Without magnesium to support the absorption of calcium, muscles cannot relax properly. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include muscle weakness or spasms, "restless-leg syndrome" and even abnormal heart rhythms.
The Supplement Question:
So, if deficiencies are rare and tests have a hard time detecting deficiencies, should you take a magnesium supplement?? Good question. It really depends on what you eat within your diet. If your diet lacks green leafy vegetables, it is likely we are not consuming enough magnesium. A diet rich in whole foods that naturally contain magnesium can help to improve many bodily functions. Foods with high levels of Magnesium can be found in a plethora of ways. In vegetables such as spinach. Carbohydrates like quinoa and white beans, and fats like almonds or cashews.
How much Magnesium do you need?
Adults need 310 to 400 mg of magnesium daily, but popping a pill may not be the answer. Isolated vitamins and minerals do not have the same nutritional value as nutrients naturally occurring in whole foods. Also note if you decide to supplement, be aware that too much magnesium can result in loose stools. Alternatively, 1/2 cup of cooked spinach gives you 78mg of magnesium; 1/2 cup black beans yields 120 mg, and a medium sized banana packs 41 mg.
Although you may not need much magnesium, consuming a well-rounded diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables should ensure you meet not only your magnesium requirement, but also should cover you on many other vitamin needs as well. Adequate magnesium levels support hundreds of processes in our body responsible for an active and healthy lifestyle.