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Magnesium deficiencies are incredibly common. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 75% of people are deficient in magnesium (1). When you don’t get enough of this essential mineral, it can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
To make matters worse, most medical professionals don’t connect these symptoms to a lack of magnesium. And since only 1 percent of magnesium is in the bloodstream, blood tests don’t detect deficiencies.
Remarkably, magnesium is used in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body. This includes the heart, muscles, kidneys, digestion and hormone production.
When you don’t get enough of it, things start to go wrong. Here are 7 common signs that you may need more magnesium…
High blood pressure causes blood to flow through your arteries with too much force, which can significantly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Scientists have found that magnesium has a direct effect on the ability of your blood vessels to relax (2). This means when you don’t get enough magnesium, it can increase your blood pressure.
Studies have also found that when you consume magnesium-rich foods, your risk of stroke falls by 8 percent, particularly ischemic stroke (3).
Have you ever had painful muscle cramps in your legs? Or a twitching muscle that doesn’t seem to stop (also called a spasm). Most people have.
These muscle problems are often caused by a magnesium deficiency (4). Much like with your blood vessels, your muscles need magnesium to relax.
Simply eating foods rich in magnesium and potassium may help relieve these annoying and uncomfortable cramps.
It’s estimated that 6 out of every 10 Americans struggle with insomnia—the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep.
One quick fix is sleeping pills; however, these can have a “hangover” effect the following day or even make you form a dependency on them.
But what if your sleep problems could be cured by simply getting more magnesium? Studies have found that you can get deeper, less interrupted sleep by getting enough magnesium in your diet (5). No pills required.
Think back to the last time you had a headache. Specifically, try to remember the sensation. Most people describe headaches as a tense sort of pain.
That’s because most headaches are caused by some sort of tension or inflammation. This tension is often the result of low magnesium levels. In this way, a magnesium deficiency could be the cause of your headaches.
One study found that people who experience migraines have significantly lower levels of magnesium compared to people who don’t get migraines (6).
Everyone knows that you need calcium for healthy bones. But that’s only part of the story. The truth is, your body needs a variety of nutrients to maintain healthy bones, including magnesium.
As much as half of your body’s magnesium is stored in your bones. Magnesium is essential to help absorb calcium and keep your bones strong.
There’s a real risk when you don’t have enough. Numerous studies have found magnesium deficiencies are linked to brittle and fragile bones (7).
You may have noticed a theme by now: magnesium is a mineral of relaxation. It allows your blood vessels, muscles, mind, and even your digestive system to relax.
Your intestines are controlled by muscles that move waste out of the body. But if you lack magnesium, your intestinal muscles can’t function as they should, resulting in constipation.
Magnesium plays such an important role in digestive motility that some doctors will even prescribe magnesium in large doses as a laxative to help patients with constipation (8).
One of the more surprising symptoms of a magnesium deficiency is anxiety and stress (9). Recent research shows there is a strong relationship between magnesium and mood disorders.
For example, magnesium decreases your brain’s sensitivity to adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), which causes your body to release cortisol—the primary hormone that causes stress.
This means that a magnesium deficiency can make you more susceptible to anxiety and stress. Scientists are even beginning to discover that supplementing magnesium can help relieve anxiety.
To find relief from these symptoms, you simply need enough magnesium. As with other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, the best way to get more magnesium is with plant-based nutrition. Try these top foods to boost your magnesium:
Other sources include avocado, yogurt and bananas. When possible with any foods, choose organic since organic farming yields higher nutrient levels, and also avoids toxic pesticides.
Since many greens come with magnesium consider adding in an organic green juice. It’s a fast and tasty way to get a superfood boost for your health.