The most common sources of magnesium are food, water, and supplements. Although these are excellent sources of magnesium boast fast absorption, it is important to take note that we should obtain magnesium from a combination of sources. Ideally, we should take advantage of two sources of magnesium namely absorbable magnesium supplements and dietary magnesium.
Top Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the six essential minerals the body needs in large doses. Although this is the case, it has been found that only 30% of Americans actually meet the recommended dietary intake for magnesium. Furthermore, reports reveal that 19% of adults consume less than 50% of magnesium RDA.
In this article, we will enumerate the most common sources of magnesium. In addition, we will also discuss the process of magnesium absorption, and how this affects the body’s ability to make good use of those sources.
Five Excellent Sources of Magnesium
According to studies, the best food groups where high doses of magnesium can be found are as follows:
– Whole grains
Furthermore, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, the top five food items rich in magnesium per typical serving are:
– Bran breakfast cereal
– Boiled spinach
Food items with the highest magnesium levels per milligram are:
– Pumpkin seeds
– Bran breakfast cereal
Although there is a variety of food sources where we can obtain high doses of magnesium, there are several factors that slow down the ability of the body to absorb this mineral:
– Metabolic rates differ from one individual to the next. Kidneys that excrete excess magnesium most commonly results in significant magnesium losses and deficiency.
– Mineral imbalances or issues such as excessive calcium levels results in blocking the magnesium activity in cells.
– Illness and excessive stress impairs our ability to utilize magnesium.
– Dietary habits that lead to lowered ability of the body to absorb magnesium such as consumption of carbonated beverages such as cola.
– Reduced magnesium availability in several food items as a result of industrial farming practices.
How to Get More Magnesium from our Daily Diet?
As mentioned earlier, the best way to absorb ideal levels of magnesium is to consume food items that are a combination of the following:
– Mineral-rich hard water
– Quality magnesium supplements
– Magnesium-rich food items
Once magnesium is absorbed along the digestive system, there are several that still influence its intake.
This is the reason behind the fact that the total magnesium intake is exactly not the same as the amount of magnesium our bodies utilize. According to research, only 20% to 50% of magnesium is absorbed from the food that we eat.
Individuals who are particularly vulnerable to developing magnesium deficiency are required to take the extra necessary steps as their bodies are most likely unable to assimilate or process magnesium efficiently.
– People who are 55 years old and older
– People who consume high doses of alcoholic and caffeinate beverages
– People who are under certain medications such as in the case of those taking asthma medications, birth control pills, diuretics, and women undergoing estrogen replacement therapy
– Individuals suffering from frequent bouts of physical and psychological stress, including those who recently underwent surgery, burns, and liver disease
– Individuals diagnosed with digestive disorders
There are also symptoms indicative of poor magnesium absorption and deficiency:
– Diabetes Type 2
– Sleep problems
– Anxiety -Hyperactivity
– Muscles spasm
– Facial tics
– Chronic pain and muscle cramps
For people who fall under any of these conditions, or are currently experiencing these symptoms, it is ideal to increase magnesium intake for its therapeutic purposes. It is also necessary for these groups of people to supplement their diet with magnesium supplements.
For those suspecting of magnesium deficit for a few years now, the initial intervention should be correcting the deficiency through supplementation.
It is also recommended to increase dietary intake of magnesium-rich food items.
When choosing the best sources of magnesium, it is crucial to look beyond the traditional best sources of magnesium. It is also ideal to build awareness of the fact that there are better sources of magnesium for certain types of condition and certain types of lifestyle.
For instance, those who experience low magnesium tolerance resulting in loose bowels and other unwanted side effects. It is important to note that there are various non-traditional methods of delivery for magnesium that does not induce the side effects mentioned. These methods include transdermal or topical magnesium supplementation.
Transdermal magnesium therapy is essentially the application of the mineral directly onto the skin in an oil spray or lotion form as well as bathing in magnesium chloride salts. They are readily available over the counter with instructions that you can follow at home.
Topical as well as transdermal or topical method of delivery is utilized as adjunct therapy for those suffering from poor magnesium absorption as a result of Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and other digestive disorders.
When choosing between magnesium food sources, the following criteria come into play:
– What type of food items or beverages do you choose to consume regularly that may result in impairment or improvement of magnesium intake?
– How do you typically prepare food items that contain magnesium?
– What types of vitamins and minerals do you take that may possibly contribute to lower magnesium absorption?
For instance, during the process of selecting foods for higher magnesium bioavailability, it is important to consider the oxalate and phytate levels in food.
Phytic and oxalic also known as phytate and oxalate respectively, are naturally-occurring substances that are present in many food items. In the digestive tract, these substances bond to magnesium that in turn prevents the mineral’s effective absorption. Instead, magnesium passes through the digestive tract as waste. It is not recommended however to stop eating foods that contains phytates and oxalates. Instead, we are advised to prefer choosing high magnesium foods that feature low phytate and oxalate levels.
The busy lifestyle that majority of us lead today makes it difficult to plan a well-balanced, magnesium-rich diet. It is commonplace for Americans to fail in meeting even the minimum daily magnesium requirements.
We are so used to eating fast foods. Although they provide nourishment and energy, they are deficient of magnesium making us more prone to suffering from magnesium deficiency. It then becomes imperative for us to provide extra support to meet the ideal dietary intake for magnesium.
Although supplements were made to meet our magnesium needs, the rate of absorption for these products vary. Bioavailability is also an important factor in that not all supplements are considered good sources of quality magnesium.
For instance, magnesium oxide is the most popular magnesium supplement marketed today. This supplement only has 4% rate of absorption- a level that is lower than any magnesium absorption results found in medical dietary balance studies.
When shopping for supplements, it is important to consider the following things:
– Choose the supplement that have greatest solubility and absorption rates
– Combine supplementation with intake of food items that maximize bioavailability
– The resilience of the digestive system in tolerating supplements
How much magnesium do you really need?
According to the USDA, the recommended daily allowance of magnesium for adults 31 years and older is:
– 420 mg per day for men
– 320 mg per day for women
– 360 mg per day for pregnant women
There are, of course, those who oppose these values, as some medical experts believe the amounts are simply insufficient to prevent serious health conditions. For instance, some nutritionists and doctors that advise intake to increase up to 500 mg per day for adults, while some even recommend higher amounts.
Those who are prone to developing deficiency or those who are already diagnosed with magnesium insufficiency are recommended to add supplements to meet their daily needs.
There are certain conditions that necessitate greater magnesium intake:
– Diabetes Mellitus
– Frequent alcohol and drug consumption
– People who are taking diuretics and anti-cancer medication, cisplatin Kidney diseases are known to significantly influence magnesium absorption rate.
Kidney patients however are contraindicated to take supplements, due to their inability to process minerals. Those who suffer from kidney disorders are recommended to seek the help of doctors in order for them to advise safe and effective magnesium supplementation.