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Do You Need More Magnesium?

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When it comes to nutrition, getting adequate levels of specific vitamins and minerals can sometimes fall to the bottom of the priorities list. However, magnesium, a macro-mineral that is found throughout the human body, is vital to many bodily functions. Here's how to know if you're getting enough—and where you can get more if not.

While you’re probably not worrying every day about meeting your daily needs for this macro-mineral, magnesium is essential to human health. Its primary role is to facilitate biochemical reactions, including cell building, energy production, blood pressure regulation, and muscle and nerve function. Science jargon aside, you need it for bone, brain, and immunity health, as well as steadying blood sugars and blood pressure.

Already an abundant mineral in the body, magnesium can also be found in a lot of foods. Leafy greens, almonds, avocados, whole grains, milk, and lean meats all provide ample doses of the mineral. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifies that "Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods.”

Photo: Oxmoor House

In other words, it's very unlikely that you need to run to the nearest pharmacy to buy magnesium supplements in a last-ditch effort to meet your daily needs. Chances are, if you’re maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in fresh produce, healthy fats, and lean protein, you’re probably meeting your daily needs. That's great news.

Understanding if you are achieving the proper levels of magnesium and whether you have an adequate amount of magnesium in your body is extremely difficult. Most magnesium is insides your bones and cells, which makes it hard to detect. You can measure magnesium concentrations in urine, saliva, and blood, but these tests have a large margin of error.

While it might be a stretch to say that magnesium directly promotes weight loss, it could be argued that magnesium affects weight loss. Having sufficient amounts of magnesium in your body steadies blood sugar levels, so your body is less likely to experience vast fluctuations in insulin and blood sugar. For some people, that can positively contribute to fat loss.

Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium should not become a daily concern. It can be achieved through a wholesome, balanced diet. At the same time, it is possible, like with almost anything else, to consume too much magnesium, so you do not need to make it your personal mission to configure your diet around consuming magnesium-rich foods. Focus on eating a well-rounded diet rich in lean protein, fresh produce, and whole grains, and you shouldn’t have to worry about reaching your recommended magnesium intake.