Magnesium is naturally available in the earth and in our bodies; most of it is in our bones. Still, many people are deficient in magnesium and may not know it. What are the dangers of not getting enough and what does it do, exactly?
“Magnesium is a very important mineral for women’s health,” says Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian from California and author of Plant-Powered for Life. Palmer explained that the mineral is an important cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body, regulating reactions in our muscles and nerves, including our hearts, blood glucose and blood pressure.
The recommended daily allowance of magnesium for women ages 19 to 30 is 310 mg, while the 30+ crowd needs 320 mg per day. And if you’re pregnant, you should get anywhere from 350 to 360 mg each day. If you have your doctor check magnesium as part of an RBC (red blood cell) test, it should be around 6.5 —between 4.2 and 6.8. If it falls below 6.0, you do not have enough of the mineral in your system and should talk to your doctor about how to boost your magnesium levels.
Not only can magnesium aid in lowering blood pressure and better regulate blood sugar; magnesium has also been found to help with PMS, migraines and depression. It has also been linked to reducing heart disease and osteoporosis.
It can also have a substantial effect on our hormone levels. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, tells SheKnows that fluctuating sex hormones can impact our levels of magnesium, so women may be more prone to magnesium deficiencies. They can be deficient during menopause, and hormone replacement therapy has been known to help.
Additionally, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal diseases are a few conditions that can cause deficiencies. Consuming too much alcohol, coffee or sodas, as well as having heavy menstrual periods and excess sweating, are a few factors that can inhibit magnesium levels.
Check if your multivitamin contains magnesium, or ask if your doctor wants you to take a supplement. If you’re a healthy eater, you may be getting enough from your diet alone. If not, try adding a few more leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains into your diet, Palmer recommended. Either way, making sure you get enough magnesium could make a bit difference in your health.
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