You probably know that you need calcium for your bones. You may also know that you need potassium for your muscles. But did you know that magnesium is important for your heart health? Magnesium, a mineral, is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body. It contributes to the strength of bones, the proper functioning of nerves and muscles, and the control of blood sugar levels. Magnesium is also needed to maintain a regular heartbeat and normal blood pressure. Read on to find sources of magnesium and find out how much is enough for your heart health.
Magnesium helps your heart keep pace
Magnesium is essential for a healthy heart rhythm because it helps transport other electrolytes, such as calcium and potassium, into cells. Electrolytes play an essential role in the nerve signals and muscle contractions of a normal heart rhythm. Research shows that a magnesium deficiency, or limited magnesium intake, increases irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias.
The Framingham Heart Study, published in January 2013, indicates that low levels of magnesium in the blood are associated with the most common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation. This irregular heartbeat occurs when a malfunction in the electrical system of the heart causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver.
Not enough magnesium? Your heart may suffer
A review of 22 studies, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012, suggested that magnesium supplementation may help lower blood pressure. Another report published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension in 2014 showed that low levels of magnesium were associated with hypertension. Research has also shown that low levels of magnesium in the blood are linked to the risk of heart disease, particularly heart attacks, as shown in a report in PLoS One in June 2014.
How much magnesium is enough?
Healthy adults have about 25 grams of magnesium in their bodies, mostly in the bones. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium, that is, the amount you should consume each day, varies depending on your age and gender. On average, the RDA is 400 milligrams (mg) for men aged 19 to 30, and less (310 mg) for women of the same age. For people aged 31 and over, men should consume 420 mg of magnesium per day, and women 320 mg per day. If your doctor suspects a magnesium deficiency, a blood test will show the levels in your body. Normal magnesium blood levels are between 1.7 and 2.3 mg/dL. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency appear when your level drops below 1 mg/dL.
Opt for Magnesium-Rich Foods
It is advisable to get the nutrients we need primarily from the diet, and some common foods are rich sources of magnesium. Although magnesium is added to some foods, like breakfast cereals, great natural sources of this mineral are almonds, soy products like tofu, and green leafy vegetables, like spinach. . A single handful of toasted almonds provides 80 mg of magnesium, and half a cup of boiled spinach provides 78 mg. Legumes, cashews, soy milk, black beans, avocados and whole grains are other important sources of magnesium. A medium banana provides 32 mg of magnesium.
Your body regulates magnesium levels
Less than 1% of the body’s magnesium is found in the blood. Most magnesium (up to 60%) is found in the bones. The rest is in the cells. This makes the diagnosis of magnesium deficiency difficult. In otherwise healthy people, magnesium deficiency is rare because the kidneys help control the amount of magnesium in the body. For example, when magnesium levels are low, the amount of magnesium excreted in urine is less.
Who is at risk of magnesium deficiency?
Over time, a low magnesium intake or excessive loss of this mineral can lead to a deficiency. But certain health conditions also deplete magnesium, including alcoholism, gastrointestinal disease, and type 2 diabetes. Prolonged use of certain medications can also cause too much magnesium to be excreted. These include diuretics, as well as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Since older people are more likely to take these medications, they are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency. With age, the absorption of magnesium in the body also decreases, while the excretion of the mineral in the urine increases.
When to take magnesium supplements
People who have been diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency may need a supplement to avoid potentially serious effects, such as muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. An excess of magnesium in the diet is not a danger because the kidneys excrete what the body does not need. But high doses of magnesium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Extreme doses of magnesium, over 5,000 mg per day, can be fatal.
* At press health we strive to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]