Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?
Could you name the body’s 4th most abundant mineral if you weren’t staring at the title just above this sentence? Judging by Americans’ diets, half of us might be able to. That is, only half get the recommended amount of dietary magnesium daily. It may be easy to lump this mineral with the other long list of those not listed on foods' nutrition labels, but doing so could mean a host of issues. Low magnesium and blood levels have been associated with Type 2 diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders and mood disturbances.
Why You Should Care
About 50% of the body's magnesium is found in bone, with much of the rest inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood. Magnesium plays an important role in carrying out bodily functions, such as supporting energy metabolism, protein synthesis and the regulation of blood sugar levels, and normal blood pressure. A new study by Japanese researchers found dietary intake of magnesium was associated with reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease, especially in women. A separate study showed subjects on a low-magnesium diet had low energy and were found to have increased resting heart rate and elevated use of oxygen to function. When the same subjects were fed an adequate level of magnesium, they needed less energy to perform low-level activities. Yet another study found an inverse relationship between magnesium intake and risk of stroke.
The Best Foods for Magnesium
The Dietary Reference Intake for Magnesium for adults 19 and up is between 310 and 420 mg per day. Because most foods do not list the magnesium content on labels, you’ll have to do your homework. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports about 45 percent of dietary magnesium was from vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts, whereby only 29 percent was obtained from milk, meat, and eggs. The best sources of magnesium from foods come from dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Here is a list of some of the best sources of magnesium in familiar foods:
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 74mg
Bran flakes cereal, ¾ cup 64mg
Blackeye peas, cooked, ½ cup 46mg
Pinto beans, cooked, ½ cup 43mg
Brown Rice, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup 42mg
If you want to try a supplement, be aware that the absorption of magnesium from supplements is largely dependent upon the amount of elemental magnesium content and its bioavailability. Those with enteric coating, an outer layer that allows it to pass through the stomach, can actually decrease bioavailability. In a study that compared four forms of magnesium preparations, magnesium chloride and magnesium lactate had the best absorption rates. While there is no upper limit to magnesium, you should ask your doctor is a supplement is right for you.
Would you start eating certain magnesium-rich foods to meet the daily recommendation?