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Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

I wrote about magnesium a few years ago and decided I should write about it again. Two reasons, first, nearly half the population of US doesn’t get enough magnesium and research indicates we may need even more magnesium than is currently recommended. Second, magnesium has lots of important functions including being very important to bones. Not getting enough magnesium increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Magnesium helps to regulate vitamin D levels and can boost low levels. If your vitamin D level is too low and you’re trying to raise your vitamin D level to normal you need to be sure to get enough magnesium.

Alcohol abuse, diabetes, digestive tract diseases and use of certain medications such as cisplatin, certain diuretics, and proton pump inhibitors (Nexium, Prilosec etc., especially if taken longer than one year) are all conditions that can deplete magnesium.

The reason so many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diets is not because it is hard to get from food but because so many people eat unhealthy diets made up of mostly processed and fast foods. Good food sources include almonds, cashews, peanuts, leafy greens, vegetables, legumes, seeds, whole grains, edamame, soy milk, and dark chocolate! It’s easy to sprinkle seeds such as sunflower, or pumpkin seeds on salads, grain dishes, soups, and even fish. You can add flax or chia seeds to cereal/oatmeal, baked goods, pancakes/waffles, and smoothies. Buy whole grain crackers and breads that incorporate seeds. Snack on trail mixes with lots of nuts and seeds. I like cashews added to grain dishes and almonds over green beans. When you succumb to the temptation to make cookies add lots of seeds, nuts and high cocoa content (85 to 90%) dark chocolate.

If you absolutely can’t get your magnesium from your diet you may need a supplement. The best form of magnesium for supplementation can vary according to your individual situation. Certain magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications, sometimes in very significant and serious ways. Low magnesium as a result of the acid reducers called proton pump inhibitors doesn’t always improve with magnesium supplementation. Consumerlab.com has an excellent review of magnesium supplements, but in complicated cases it would be best to get help from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist knowledgeable about magnesium supplements.


posted on 5/17/2022