Magnesium is one of the many substances we need to survive and thrive. What does magnesium do for our bodies? Review this guide to find out why magnesium is essential and how to ensure you and your family members are getting enough of this crucial mineral.
What Is Magnesium?
The nutrient magnesium, which occurs naturally in the body and exists in many foods we eat, supports more than 300 different functions of the enzyme system and up to 800 other physical and cognitive processes. What does magnesium do? This magical mineral facilitates immune function, keeps blood pressure in check, and helps the muscles and nerves function properly.
Although we have magnesium stored in our bones, fluids, tissues, and muscles, many Americans don't have enough of this substance to stay healthy. Lack of this mineral is one of the most common types of vitamin deficiency, affecting up to 50% of U.S. adults and almost as many children, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and cited by Pharmacy Times.
You can boost your magnesium intake by using dietary supplements and snacking on cashews, almonds, whole-grain cereals, peas, beans, and spinach.
What Are the Health Benefits of Magnesium?
First and foremost, healthy magnesium levels help keep inflammation at bay. Increased inflammation can increase your risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Other clinical studies associate healthy magnesium intake with:
- Lower blood pressure among people who have hypertension
- Regulation of the chemicals that send messages throughout the body
- Help with helping muscles contract and relax
- Creation and repair of DNA and RNA
- Conversion of food into energy and protein into amino acids
- Better endurance and performance during physical activity
- Lower rates of depression
- Fewer migraine headaches
- Improved PMS symptoms
If you struggle with these issues, consider adding a magnesium supplement to your routine.
Your doctor may recommend a magnesium supplement if you have a high risk for deficiency. This often affects people who abuse alcohol, are older than 65, take cancer or diabetes medications, or have parathyroid issues, Crohn's disease, or kidney disease.
Do Babies and Toddlers Need Magnesium?
Children ages 1 to 3 should get about 80/mg of magnesium daily. For kids ages 4 to 8, the recommendation increases to 130/mg per day. Getting sufficient magnesium during childhood is essential for nutrient absorption, digestion, immunity, DNA formation, regular bowel movements, balanced blood sugar, muscle and nervous system function, healthy bones and teeth, concentration, and mood. Often, however, kids don't eat enough magnesium-rich foods to meet these recommended daily amounts.
Some studies show that a lack of magnesium can interfere with healthy sleep in babies and toddlers. Other research associates deficiency in this mineral with poor school performance among older children, low energy levels, muscle weakness and cramps, and difficulty focusing and concentrating.
Diets high in packaged, processed, and sugar-filled foods increase the risk for magnesium deficiency. If you have concerns about your child's magnesium intake, you can add mineral-rich foods to their diet. Start with nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, spinach, instant oatmeal, peanut butter, skim-milk yogurt, low-fat milk, raisins, avocado, dark halibut chocolate, bananas, tofu, beans, and other legumes.
You can also reduce your child's intake of foods that prevent the body from absorbing and using magnesium effectively. Examples include refined carbohydrates, sugary foods, dairy, animal proteins, and caffeine.
Your child cannot get too much magnesium from food. However, you should limit magnesium supplements to 65 mg/day from ages 1 to 3 and 110 mg/day for 4- to 8-year-olds.Please see pediatrician before giving any supplement or vitamin to your child.
Is My Child Magnesium Deficient?
It can be challenging to detect this deficiency in children because its two main symptoms, sleep issues and constipation, are so common in babies and toddlers. Other signs of a lack of this mineral, such as headaches and moodiness, often occur in older children without a specific reason. Sometimes, magnesium deficiency symptoms may worsen or mask the symptoms of another chronic health condition, such as asthma, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or migraines.
Additional symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:
- Muscle spasms, tremors, or twitches
- Mental health changes such as anxiety, depression, or lack of effect
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
Talk to your child's health care provider if you think they may not get enough dietary magnesium, especially if you notice any deficiency symptoms. Stress may exacerbate these symptoms. A simple blood test can determine your child's magnesium levels and see whether a supplement may help.
Best Magnesium Supplements for Your Child
Look at the label when shopping for magnesium supplements for your child. Avoid brands that have more calcium than magnesium since too much calcium can worsen deficiency symptoms. Children who have health conditions affecting the kidneys should not take magnesium. Check with your child's doctor before starting any supplements.
To improve your baby's vitamin and nutrient intake, you should also consider natural supplements from Wellements. From multivitamin drops to probiotics and beyond, our products strive to support the well-being of our tiniest family members.