Daily Dose: Magnesium

Feeling low on energy? Maybe you aren't getting enough magnesium, a commonly overlooked nutrient that may supercharge you throughout the day.

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Magnesium may be the most overlooked mineral, but the body uses is it in more than 300 reactions – many of which give you energy.

What happens if I don’t get enough magnesium?

A chronic lack of magnesium in the body yields many consequences – including low energy levels. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and irritability.

Research on red blood cells has shown that lower levels of magnesium can make the cells more fragile – leading to a decrease in available red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital for increasing your energy levels because they deliver needed oxygen to tissues.

A 2002 study also revealed that low magnesium levels disrupt the body’s efficiency for using energy stores. The researchers assessed the effects of dietary magnesium restriction during exercise in postmenopausal women. They found low magnesium levels led to higher oxygen use and higher heart rates during exercise.

This suggests magnesium helps to optimize the use of oxygen in order to burn calories and feel more energized, and a lower level of magnesium hinders that process.

Where can I get magnesium?

Magnesium is widely available in different foods – especially green vegetables, cereals, and fruits. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for young adults is around 400 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women. For adults over 30, the RDA is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women. However, despite how easy it is to find magnesium, studies have shown that between 68-75% of American adults are magnesium deficient.