HealthWhy missing out on magnesium impacts more than muscle health

Why missing out on magnesium impacts more than muscle health

What symptoms does a magnesium deficiency cause?
What symptoms does a magnesium deficiency cause?
Images source: © Licensor | Oleg Elkov

6:12 AM EST, January 13, 2024

Magnesium plays an integral part in the health of the digestive system. It assists in the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, aids in the absorption of nutrients from food, and regulates peristalsis, that is, the movements of the muscles that propel food through the digestive system.

A deficiency in magnesium can negatively affect the intestines in two ways. Firstly, it can contribute to constipation. Magnesium acts as a natural laxative that softens the stool and facilitates its passage through the intestines. A deficiency, therefore, can cause the intestines' peristalsis to slow down.

Secondly, magnesium is crucial for proper bacterial flora functioning in the intestines. A deficiency can disrupt the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the intestines, possibly resulting in conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Additional Impacts of Magnesium Deficiency

Besides intestinal issues, magnesium deficiency can cause a range of other health problems: ranging from the earlier-mentioned muscle cramps and fatigue, through sleep disturbances, anxiety, headaches and hypertension, to more severe conditions such as heart diseases, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Maintaining Adequate Magnesium Levels through Diet

The most effective way to prevent deficiency of this crucial element is, undoubtedly, maintaining a balanced diet. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds, avocados, bananas, dark chocolate, whole grain products, and fatty fish.

A deficiency of magnesium in the body does not always result from a lack of these magnesium-rich foods in the diet. Occasionally, its absorption might be disrupted by consuming excess fatty acids, calcium, and inorganic phosphates.

In cases of suspected magnesium deficiency, whether based on the consumed foods or observed symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional and consider appropriate supplementation.

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