In order to achieve optimal health, the body needs minerals. One of the most important minerals that you can give the body is a macro-mineral known as magnesium. Unlike trace minerals (such as iron and zinc) which are only required in small amounts, macro-minerals like magnesium are required in larger doses. Unfortunately, more than 60% of individuals get less than the required daily dose of magnesium. While much of the minerals that our bodies need can be obtained from the foods we eat, there are also instances where you may need to take a mineral supplement — especially if you are mineral-deficient. Below is a more in-depth look at magnesium, including the potential warning signs that you may be magnesium deficient, how magnesium benefits the body, and which foods contain the highest levels.
It is an evidence-based fact that magnesium has many positives. It’s great for the function of your brain and heart, as well as plays a variety of other important roles. In fact, every cell in your body contains magnesium and requires it in order to function properly. It is also involved in more than 600 chemical reactions in the body — most notable the creation of energy, formation of protein, regulation of the nervous system, maintenance of genes, and even muscle movement. It also plays a major role in physical performance, such as when you’re working out. Depending on the type of physical activity you’re partaking in, your body will require anywhere from 10 to 20 percent more magnesium than what it would be getting if you were resting. If you experience pain during exercise, this is often due to a build-up of lactic acid and not enough magnesium. By increasing your magnesium intake, however, this will help to move blood sugar into the muscles, dispose of lactic acid, and reduce your pain level. Some studies have also suggested that those who had a higher intake of magnesium also saw faster running, swimming and cycling times — though some opinions on this are mixed. As mentioned, magnesium also plays a critical role in brain function. While more research still needs to be done to determine exactly how magnesium can benefit the mood, some studies have shown that individuals with lower levels of magnesium were considered to have an increased risk of developing depression by as much as 22%.