Magnesium is an essential nutrient, but half of the U.S. population does not get enough magnesium for good health. Here are five reasons to reconsider magnesium intake.
There is a 50-50 chance people are not getting enough magnesium on a regular basis. In the U.S., half of the population does not get enough magnesium for good health. Recommended daily allowance levels increase for females during pregnancy.
Magnesium matters – it is an essential nutrient. Magnesium is an important piece of the puzzle for a variety of enzymatic reactions in the body. These reactions provide a foundation for health. According to Nutrients and Magnesium Research, magnesium is also vital for making proteins, producing energy and building important bodily components like DNA and RNA.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with many health issues, like: unhealthy stress response, cardiovascular health, management of blood sugar levels, mood (feeling down and anxious) and fatigue.
Magnesium sufficiency is associated with many health benefits, like: reduced stress and better mood, increased fat-free mass, improved bone health and balance and stabilize systems health.
An easy way to make sure to get the Mg needed. There are a couple of reasons that nearly half of the U.S. population does not get enough magnesium. First, American dietary choices rely heavily on processed food (magnesium-poor) over natural, plant-based food (magnesium-rich).
For those who do eat enough plant-based foods, the nutrient density of these foods is not what it used to be. According to research by the Clinical Kidney Journal, changes in the soil (acidification, mineral depletion) and modern cultivation practices (selective breeding, chemical fertilizers) have promoted a trend of decreased nutrient content in plant foods—not just magnesium, but multiple nutrients.
A third issue is magnesium absorption. About 25 to 75 percent of dietary magnesium is absorbed; specific absorption rate depends on an individual’s magnesium status, gastrointestinal (GI) health and dose.
Maximum absorption of magnesium is seen up to a dose of about 123 mg. Any additional amount of magnesium above this dose would see a minimal absorption rate, around seven percent. This absorption rate creates a clear divide between whole food magnesium supplements (usually contains a modest dose of about 30 to 80 mg) and synthetic magnesium supplements (usually given at a relatively high dose of about 300 mg and above).
More is not better. Above a certain threshold dose of magnesium (200-500 mg), adverse events like gastric distress (bloating, cramping, diarrhea and pain) may occur. The range at which GI issues can occur varies depending on the form of magnesium and a person’s individual GI health. At high doses of magnesium, the percent of magnesium not absorbed increases the potential of GI side effects.
It is also important to note that various GI conditions decrease the percent of magnesium absorption.
Whole food form matters. There is a superior source of magnesium. Whole foods like vegetables (beets, buckwheat, spinach, kale, parsley and potatoes), fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole-grain cereals provide a rich source of magnesium. Combining whole food nutrition with whole food-based magnesium supplementation enables people deficient in magnesium to achieve a healthier magnesium status, and overall health status.
The bottom line? Nutrition therapy with whole food magnesium mimics the way the nutrient appears in nature (bound to various organic and inorganic compounds such as other minerals, proteins and peptides) and maximizes the health benefits of improving magnesium status.
Sara Le Brun-Blashka, MS is the Director of Clinical Nutrition and Education at Standard Process, where she led the team to launch the educational website, WholisticMatters.com. She is a nutritionist with a Master’s in Nutrition Education and a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and food science.
Kara Credle, MA manages content development and strategy for WholisticMatters.com as the Clinical Nutrition Communication Specialist at Standard Process Inc. Her background is in scientific writing with a focus on biomedical sciences, nutrition, health and wellness and a passion for translating scientific findings for different audiences. See ad, page 5.