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M is for magnesium

by Heidi Hoff on in General

M is for magnesium

You might worry that your kids don’t eat properly so you give them a multivitamin to fill the void. While calcium, vitamin C and B vitamins are what you might look for on a label first, there’s a mineral you should make sure is also included in the mix: magnesium. Magnesium isn’t a supplement only kids need daily, it’s crucial for parents, too.

Magnesium is responsible for over 800 biochemical reactions that take place in the human body. Magnesium deficiency can throw you into an irritable mood, compromise your concentration, zap your energy, induce painful muscle cramps, and cause insomnia, constipation, weak bones and teeth plus a long list of other symptoms.

The reason a magnesium supplement is so important is because it’s been harder and harder to get from our food. Yes, there are foods like leafy greens, almonds and black beans that are known for their high magnesium content, but guess what? The soil that foods are grown in is overworked, meaning that high crop turnover leaches nutrients from farmers’ fields. These days, we have no choice but to supplement when it comes to getting magnesium into our bodies.

Magnesium for kids

Having trouble sleeping and being constipated are two clues that your child may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Symptoms like growing pains, headaches, irritability and fluctuating energy levels can be due to other causes but can still be linked to not getting enough dietary magnesium. If you have anxiety-prone kids, make sure they are taking a magnesium supplement. The body’s stress response relies on magnesium to calm itself and takes all it needs from whatever amount exists, no matter how low the levels.

Health Canada estimates that 40 to 75 percent of adults are magnesium deficient. Children may be even more so since they don’t eat a well rounded, typical adult diet. Here are the daily requirements for children according to age.

Kids

1 – 3 years 80 mg
4 – 8 years 130 mg
9 – 13 years 240 mg

Teens

Girls 14 – 18 years 360 mg
Boys 14 – 18 years 410 mg

Magnesium for moms

Women have unique needs when it comes to magnesium – pregnancy for one. Magnesium helps to repair and build the body’s tissues and being deficient while pregnant can lead to conditions like preeclampsia and inefficient fetal growth. A lack of magnesium can also contribute to those annoying pregnancy-related leg cramps. When you’re not pregnant, getting enough magnesium can help to lessen PMS symptoms (yay!) especially mood swings. For women 31 and older, magnesium has the particular benefit of regulating blood pressure by helping to dilate blood vessels, prevent kinks in the heart muscle and blood vessel walls and help dissolve blood clots.

Recommended dosages for women

19 – 30 years 310 mg
31 and over 320 mg

Magnesium for dads

Cramping up at the gym or during a run? That’s one of the signs that the man in your life may be short on magnesium. During exercise, the body loses fluids through sweat, and electrolytes and magnesium are carried out right along with it. Hard exercise can cause the body to demand an extra 10 to 20 percent of magnesium to keep it working efficiently. Working out to the point of magnesium depletion can slow recovery times and increase the risk of injury. Strenuous exercise also causes oxidative stress which can cause DNA damage. Magnesium supplementation can protect against all these things from happening.

Magnesium is also key in improving flexibility and building stronger muscles. Two more reasons for men to get enough of this important mineral.

Recommended dosages for men

19 – 30 years 400 mg
31 and over 420 mg

When it comes to supplements, magnesium should be at the top of the whole family’s “must take” list to keep everyone from toddlers to adults happy, active and sleeping well at night.

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