Everyone has heard how important calcium is for your health, but did you know that magnesium is every bit as important? Low magnesium levels are dangerous because magnesium is needed for proper function of many of our body’s systems. The cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) especially needs magnesium. Magnesium is also important for nerve function and is important for controlling how calcium is used by the body. Magnesium is needed for all your nerves to work properly, including the ones that help run your heart. Heart health and nerve health depends on magnesium so it makes sense to be sure you have enough. Here is information about this important mineral…
Symptoms of low magnesium may be any of the following:
- apathy (you don’t care about anything, and don’t want to do anything),
- heart palpitations,
- anorexia (a lack or loss of appetite for food),
- muscle cramps.
- Jiggling of your eyes called nystagmus that can make you feel dizzy.
- You can get heart arrhythmias and
- your calcium levels can be thrown off as well.
Are There Medical Tests for Low Magnesium?
It is difficult to tell if you are low on magnesium from a blood test. Only once the magnesium deficit is over 20%, will the loss show in your blood stream. This means things may not work right and you could feel less energy and tired before low magnesium even shows up on your blood tests.
However, there is a simple test that might tip you off that your magnesium is low. Chvostek’s sign indicates low magnesium. Tap over the side of your face in front of your ear, just above your jaw joint. If you gets twitches around your mouth, nostril or eye, you are likely low in magnesium.
How Do You Get Low Magnesium?
Did you know that most people never get enough magnesium to be as healthy as they could be? (And that is true even for those people who get enough calcium.) That is because calcium can be found in many foods, but magnesium is in foods that we don’t eat very often. Not having enough magnesium can contribute to being overweight and also to heart disease.
Also, even though you may be eating high magnesium foods like almonds, avocados, tofu, spinach, dark leafy greens, or dark chocolate, if the soil the food was grown in was low in magnesium, the food will be lower well.
We absorb magnesium in our intestines and lose it from the kidneys. Therefore absorption problems in your gut like irritable bowel, leaky gut, Chron’s or inflammatory bowel disease can block the amount of magnesium you can absorb.
Diuretics and blood pressure medicines can cause the kidney to dump too much magnesium. If you have to take potassium because you take fluid pills, you should be taking magnesium too.
You also lose magnesium from drinking alcohol. Or taking too much calcium.
Therefore, a magnesium supplement may be needed.
Magnesium Supplement Choices
To keep your heart and nerves healthy and to avoid any of the symptoms of low magnesium taking a magnesium supplement can be helpful. But you have many choices of magnesium supplements. Here is what to know about some of your magnesium supplement options.
Magnesium oxide is not very absorbable so you have to take more of it to get the benefit. Do not use this.
Magnesium citrate is used for colonoscopy prep. So unless you have severe constipation, you don’t want to get that one because it will give you diarrhea.
We have high quality magnesium supplements available at the office such as magnesium lactate which is more gentle, as well as magnesium glycinate/malate which helps for muscle cramping and nerve pains.
Not sure what you may need to balance your health? Give us a call for a nutritional consult. 978-535-6155