Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, involved in over 300+ enzymatic reactions within the body. Magnesium deficiencies are common in 1st world countries. A deficiency may increases blood pressure, reduces glucose tolerance and causes neural excitation (cells being excited when they should be relaxed).
Magnesium deficiencies are common in the western diet because grains are poor sources of magnesium. Other prominent sources of magnesium, like nuts and leafy vegetables, are often omitted from western diets. If magnesium is supplemented to help a deficiency, it acts as a sedative helping calm the nervous system, reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity.
Having health red blood cell magnesium levels is also associated with a protective effect against depression and ADHD.
The intestinal absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much magnesium the body needs, so there are not very many side-effects associated with supplementation. If there is too much magnesium, the body will only absorb as much as it needs. However, excessive doses may cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
Red blood cell magnesium is the best way to test. The optimal range is 6.8-7.2 mg/dL.
Magnesium deficiency is a concern for 50-80% of the western worlds population.
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