The mineral magnesium assists normal muscle and nerve function, promotes normal blood pressure, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Often individuals with type 2 diabetes have lower levels of magnesium, and studies suggest that individuals with low serum magnesium levels are 6-7 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than people with normal magnesium levels.
As is the case with all nutrients required by the body, the best sources of magnesium come from foods containing them. The best sources of magnesium are certain types of fish, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, legumes such as beans and peas, nuts and seeds (especially almonds), pumpkin seeds, and whole, unrefined grains. Bread made from whole grain wheat flour that retains the wheat germ and bran is also a good source, as is most tap water, especially if it’s “hard” water containing minerals that would include the mineral magnesium.
Your physician can order a simple blood test to determine if your serum magnesium levels are low and if need be, supplementation is available. Recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults over 30 is roughly 320 mg/day for women and 420 mg/day for men. Large amounts of magnesium may cause GI distress. Magnesium often comes combined with vitamin D and calcium. This combination is recommended if you don’t feel you’re getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D and calcium from other sources. In addition, individuals with low levels of Vitamin D may also have a magnesium deficiency.
Check with your physician before you make a decision to supplement. Some nutrients can and do interfere with prescription medications.