Magnesium supports bone health in many ways. It assists in activating Vitamin D, which in turn promotes absorption of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium itself into the bones. Magnesium also helps support regulation of bone remodeling by the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It is needed to activate alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme critical to new bone formation. More than half of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral essential to all known living organisms. In the human body, it assists the actions of more than 300 enzymes and is required to produce DNA and RNA. It also plays an important role in regulating heart rhythm, blood pressure and protein formation. Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods and is also available in several formulations as a dietary supplement.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, and cramps. In healthy people, excess magnesium from food is eliminated from the body in the urine. However, too much magnesium from dietary supplements can cause diarrhea, along with nausea and abdominal cramping.
When I was twenty-two years old, I was advised to take magnesium with calcium to help me sleep. Over the years, I have experimented with various forms and amounts of magnesium and ratios of calcium to magnesium.
Today, I rely on the RBC (red blood cell) magnesium lab test to determine if I’m consuming the proper amount. I also adjust my intake if I experience symptoms of deficiency or excess.
Which foods are rich in magnesium?
Many foods contain magnesium. The chart below includes several foods that are rich in magnesium and available in the United States. The amounts of magnesium in a particular food may be higher or lower than shown in the chart below, due to variations in soil composition and growing conditions. Use the chart to give you an approximate amount of magnesium in a specific food. You can check the USDA FoodData Central for the magnesium content of your favorite foods.
|Magnesium rich food||Milligrams per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)|
|Pumpkin and squash seeds||592|
|Seaweed, dried, kelp||482|
|Sesame seeds, whole||351|
|Sunflower seeds, hulled, raw||325|
|Molasses, blackstrap||53.4 per tablespoon|
|Beans, black, dried||180|
|Hazelnuts or filberts||163|
|Walnut, English, raw||158|
|Macadamia nuts, raw||130|
|Pistachio nuts, raw||121|
|Salmon, chinook, raw||95|
|Source: USDA FoodData Central|
How much magnesium should you consume?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the amount needed to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people. The magnesium RDA for adult men is 400-420 mg/day and 310-320 mg/day for adult women. Each individual’s dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.
Which magnesium rich foods do you eat?
Let me know your favorites in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
Photo on brazil nuts