Magnesium is a mineral essential for bone health and nerve, muscle and immune system functioning. It helps stabilize blood pressure and blood glucose levels and enhances metabolism and protein synthesis. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, about half of the body's magnesium is stored in bones and half in organs and tissues. A very small percentage of magnesium circulates in the blood. Magnesium can be obtained from your diet but occasionally your physician may prescribe supplements to maintain adequate levels.
The recommended daily allowance is the amount of a mineral you need to consume each day to provide levels sufficient for normal bodily functions. Expressed as RDA, the magnesium amounts for women ages 19 to 30 is 310 milligrams. For women ages 30 and over, 320 milligrams per day is necessary. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, in conjunction with maintaining adequate magnesium levels, you should also ensure you consume adequate amounts of vitamin B6, because this nutrient affects how cells absorb magnesium.
Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole and unrefined grains are good magnesium sources. Herbs and spices such as basil, dill weed, celery seed and sage are other sources. Magnesium is available orally in medications, laxatives or antacids in the form of magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium lactate or magnesium hydroxide. Magnesium sulfate can be found in bath salts and is absorbed through the skin.
Magnesium is absorbed through the digestive system and, therefore, complications that impact the digestive system, such as Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome, can affect your levels. Other complications that can cause low magnesium levels include excessive intake of caffeine, salt and alcohol as well as excessive sweating and heavy menstrual periods. Signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures and personality changes are signs of severe deficiency.
Excessive intake of laxatives and antacids that contain magnesium can result in toxic levels. Signs of high magnesium levels include changes in level of consciousness, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and irregular heartbeat. You should seek your health care practitioner's advice before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have diabetes, heart or kidney problems.
- Stockbyte/Valueline/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.