Magnesium: yes, you need it!
A new analysis published on December 7, 2016 shows that people with the highest dietary intake of magnesium had less stroke, type II diabetes and heart failure. This meta-analysis of 40 articles included over a million study subjects, with follow up between 4 and 30 years. Stroke risk was reduced by 7% per 100mg increase in magnesium intake. Heart failure was reduced by about 10% in the people consuming the highest level of magnesium. And type II diabetes was also significantly lower. Read the whole study here: Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
In my practice I've observed that many Americans are chronically low in magnesium. In part this is because magnesium containing foods are not typically found in the standard American diet. Great sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, avocados, bananas, whole grains and fish. Think spinach salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and avocados, and maybe some wild rice! Salmon is another great source, plus you get healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids to boot.
Many processes in the body require the presence of magnesium. It regulates important nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin D in the body, helps to keep bones strong, regulates blood pressure and sugar levels, helps muscles and nerves to stay relaxed, supports the immune system, maintains regular heart rhythm and more. Being deficient in magnesium can lead to migraines, hypertension, irregular heart beat, anxiety and irritability, muscle cramps and more.
Some people will need to supplement magnesium to meet their needs, as various medical conditions can lead to increased demand for magnesium or poor absorption of the nutrient. I frequently test people for magnesium deficiency, since it has such an impact on long term health and wellness, as evidenced by this recent study. Let me know if you suspect that you have low magnesium and would like further evaluation and treatment.