Should I Start Taking Magnesium Supplements?
Magnesium is an important mineral found in a variety of foods. It can be found in fiber-rich plant-based foods like green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), legumes (chickpeas and lentils), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Magnesium is beneficial for your health, so it’s great that it’s widely available both as a food and as a supplement. Magnesium supplements come in several forms, such as magnesium oxide, citrate, and chloride.
The daily recommended amount of magnesium depends on your gender and age. Men should have 400 mg, while women should have 310 mg of magnesium daily.
The FDA does not require food labels to show magnesium content unless magnesium has been added to the food product. When reading food labels, you can tell which foods contain high sources of a nutrient by checking whether a food contains 20% or more of the daily value (DV) of any given nutrient. Nevertheless, this does not discount the benefits that other foods with lower percentages of DV of a nutrient can have for a healthy diet.
Could I Have a Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency is a common issue that often goes undetected. While it is thought that less than 2% of Americans have magnesium insufficiency, one study estimated that up to 75% of Americans do not get the right amount of magnesium. It is common for magnesium deficiency to go undiagnosed and for it to only become apparent when your levels are dangerously low. Magnesium insufficiency can be caused by a variety of reasonsö such as unbalanced eating habits, a decrease in the quantity of magnesium in the ecosystem due to environmental degradation, and poor agricultural techniques that reduce the amount of magnesium in foods. Older research suggests that 15–20% of the population in developed countries suffer from marginal magnesium deficiency, and other recent studies have shown that the general population’s magnesium consumption has lowered significantly.
What are the Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency can affect even those who have a healthy diet. It is tricky to tell whether you might have a magnesium deficiency because it is generally only detected after magnesium levels reach a very low level. Having a poor or imbalanced diet is a major cause of magnesium deficiency.
The most common symptoms you might experience if you have a magnesium deficiency are:
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Decrease in sleep quality 
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and find through testing that you are deficient in magnesium, then you might consider consulting a medical professional about whether you should begin using magnesium supplements.
Is it possible to have too much magnesium?
The Tolerable Upper Consumption Level (TUIL) is the highest level of any food or supplement that you can have without negatively impacting your health. Magnesium has an upper intake level (UL) of 350 milligrams specifically from supplements. For some people, high-dose supplements might cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramps.
Symptoms of magnesium overdose might include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Irregularly heartbeat
If you experience any of these symptoms while using a magnesium supplement, you may want to consult your doctor about whether you should take a different kind of magnesium supplement or review the dosage of your existing magnesium supplement.
There are two different approaches for assessing your daily magnesium intake: the required daily amount (RDA) and the upper limit (UL). The RDA of magnesium reflects all of the magnesium that you can consume from all sources, including food, drinks, dietary supplements, and pharmaceuticals. There is no limit on how much magnesium you have during the day if the magnesium comes from food and beverages in which it is naturally found as your kidneys excrete any excess found in your body. On the other hand, there is an upper limit (UL) for magnesium specifically when it is consumed through dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals, amounting to 350 mg daily. Consuming magnesium through supplements and pharmaceuticals beyond the upper limit may cause side effects like diarrhea. Because of this, it is generally advised that you meet your daily magnesium requirements through food and drinks.
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