Magnesium is one of the many substances we need to survive and thrive. What does magnesium do for our bodies? Review this guide and learn how to make sure you and your family members are getting enough of this key mineral.
What Is Magnesium?
The nutrient magnesium, which occurs naturally in the body and exists in many of the foods we eat, supports more than 300 different functions of the enzyme system. 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 need more magnesium to stay healthy. In fact, 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 by some estimates. You can boost your magnesium intake with dietary supplements and snacking on cashews, almonds, whole-grain cereals, peas, beans and spinach.
Magnesium Health Benefits
You've probably heard that inflammation isn't great for the body. What you might not know? Too little magnesium is associated with elevated inflammation levels. Increased inflammation can increase your risk for some cancers, 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 any of 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 age 65, take cancer or diabetes medications, or have parathyroid issues, Crohn's disease, or kidney disease.
Magnesium For Babies & Toddlers
Children ages 1 to 3 years old should get about 80/mg of magnesium each day. From ages 4 to 8, the recommendation increases to 130/mg per day. Often, kids don't eat enough magnesium-rich foods to meet these recommended daily amounts, which helps facilitate nutrient absorption, digestion, immunity, regular bowel movements, balanced blood sugar, healthy bones and teeth, concentration, and mood.
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 his or her diet. Start with nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, spinach, instant oatmeal, peanut butter, skim-milk yogurt, low-fat milk, raisins, avocado, halibut dark chocolate, bananas, tofu, and beans and other legumes.
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.When you want 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.