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Magnesium Deficiency and How It Can Affect Your Muscle Health

As physical therapists, we are in the business of treating muscles and connective tissue. However, we talk about nutrition with our patients, knowing that it directly impacts muscle and soft tissue health. We sometimes hear patients report chronic muscle soreness, eye twitching, leg cramps or constipation. These symptoms may seem unrelated but according to Dr. Aviva Romm, MD, could be caused by a Magnesium Deficiency.

Magnesium: what is it and what does it do?

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It is a cofactor or substance that is involved in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate functions in our body including energy production, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function and even regulation of BP.

When we are have a magnesium deficiency, a person may experience symptoms such as:

  • *muscle cramping in the calves
  • *more painful period cramping
  • *deviations in normal heart rhythm
  • *eye twitching
  • *constipation

Signs like these could mean that you are low in magnesium. Even chocolate cravings can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is also crucial for producing glutathyoine. This process happens in the liver and helps detox environmental chemical and estrogens that can interfere with other natural body functions.

How can you check to see if you have a magnesium deficiency?

Blood tests performed by your doctor can help to determine if your levels of magnesium are adequate. If you are experiencing symptoms like those listed above, ask your doctor what type of Magnesium testing would be most beneficial for you.

What foods have magnesium?

Food rich in Magnesium includes kale, legumes, spinach, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Here are some examples of foods that are sources of Magnesium:

  • *28 almonds has 80 mg of Mg, which is 20% of elemental Mg
  • *½ cup of steamed spinach – almost 20%
  • *½ cup of cooked black beans – 20%
  • *dark chocolate is a source, but not sufficient dietary source of Mg
  • *high fiber foods, such as whole grains (not processed grains) can be good sources of magnesium as well but this would need to be investigated further depending on the food type

Though these foods have moderate amounts of Mg, eating each of the items listed above every day can still put you at only half of what you need. It may be important to check your lab values to compare where you stand with your individual needs.

There is additional conversation in the medical community that the levels recommended by the FDA may be less than sufficient and we may need to support Magnesium levels further.

How do I supplement Magnesium into my diet?

Magnesium is a water soluble vitamin which means that you will pee out what you don’t need, but before you start taking it, it’s important to consult with your doctor.

Dr. Aviva Romm of Thrive Health and author of Adrenal Thyroid Revolution recommends as much as 1200 mg of magnesium depending on the person’s deficiency and the kind that you take can make a difference. There are several different types of which can cause GI distress if you take too much for too long.

Dr. Romm reports that there are types and doses of Magnesium that she recommends in her practice. For more on her recommendations, check out her website here.

Thanks to Dr. Aviva Romm, MD, herbalist and midwife for the information that she provided in her blog and book which served as references for this information. If you would like to read more about Magnsium and read her blog, it is available on her website.

Please be advised this information should not take the place of your doctor’s advice. This information was provided to give you information to start a conversation with your doctor. If you are not sure where to start with this type of medical consultation, the Rebalance staff can help direct you to practitioners in the area who can help you investigate such information.

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