Certain medical conditions can throw off your body’s magnesium balance by limiting your body’s ability to absorb the mineral. Or the condition causes your body to lose too much magnesium through the kidneys. Medications to treat some conditions can also cause an imbalance.
Conditions that may cause magnesium deficiencies include gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Taking diuretics, drinking too much coffee, soda or alcohol, having heavy menstrual periods, sweating excessively or being stressed long-term can also lower magnesium levels. Even a bout of vomiting and diarrhea from an intestinal virus can cause a magnesium imbalance.
Older adults are also at increased risk for magnesium deficiency partly due to the interaction of magnesium and medications they may take.
How Low Can You Go?
Being low or without enough stores of magnesium can cause many symptoms, from mild to severe. They may include:
● Muscle cramps, tension or soreness, including back aches, neck pain, headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (jaw pain)
● Insomnia, anxiety, restlessness (including restless leg syndrome) and/or irritability
● Nausea and vomiting
● Fatigue and weakness
● Numbness or tingling
● High blood pressure
● Heart problems such as palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms
Put This Mighty Mineral to Work
Magnesium offers protection from developing some diseases and alleviates symptoms of certain conditions too. Consider some of the many benefits of this mineral:
● A study found getting more magnesium in the diet may help protect against developing diabetes.
● Magnesium, working together with calcium, helps maintain a normal heart rhythm.
● Higher blood levels of magnesium may reduce risk of heart disease and the risk of stroke.
● Magnesium has been shown to help prevent migraines as well as shorten their duration and reduce the amount of medication needed to treat a migraine.
● Magnesium may help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain and breast tenderness.
● Taking magnesium may prevent temporary or permanent hearing loss due to loud noise.
● Magnesium has shown benefits for non-diabetics who already have metabolic syndrome because it helps with insulin resistance.
Are You Getting Enough?
In general, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for men over age 30 is 420 mg a day, while women need 320 mg a day. Green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts are rich magnesium sources.
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