Magnesium deficiency is a widespread condition among both young and older adults. But even though hypermagnesemia (magnesium toxicity) is not occurring as often, we have to be aware of the risks, which magnesium supplements bring. In the article about “Minerals,” we have briefly mentioned the benefits and drawbacks of magnesium, yet in this blog post, you will find some more detailed information about this micronutrient.
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Why do we need magnesium?
Your body needs magnesium to function properly. Evidence suggest that proper levels of magnesium in the blood may be associated with prevention of various health conditions, including osteoporosis, diabetes, migraine, bronchial asthma, preeclampsia, and cardiac diseases. Besides, may play a vital role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions , and is vital for the growth, development, and proper function of multiple organs and systems :
- Thyroid gland
- Nervous system
- Cardiac system
- Synthesis of proteins
- Absorption of calcium
- Blood sugar levels
- Insulin production
- Blood pressure
What is the recommended daily intake of magnesium?
Optimal levels of magnesium in the blood for adults are between 1.3 and 2.1 (mEq/L); For children between 1.4 and 1.7 (mEq/L); For newborns between 1.4 and 2 (mEq/L). 
However, the recommended daily intake of magnesium supplied through food is different, depending on the region and country of life, age, and sex. The suggested averaged (global) daily intake of magnesium is as follows  :
Keep in mind that pregnant women, teenagers, and men may need more magnesium than other people. In that sense, it’s important for those group of individuals to monitor their magnesium blood levels and follow the recommendations of their healthcare provider.
What foods are rich in magnesium?
The following foods are packed with nutrients and can help you to support proper levels of magnesium in the blood 
- Pumpkin seeds (100 grams of pumpkin seeds contain 600 mg magnesium)
- Beans, lentils, peas
- Peanut butter
- Potato peels (or potatoes with the peel)
- Raw nuts (cashew, sunflower seeds, and almonds)
- Brown rice
- Dark chocolate (at least 70%)
Generally, people consume enough magnesium by sticking to balanced and diverse diet. However, the degree to which you absorb the mineral depends on various factors like age and health condition.  Evidence suggests that the following groups of people may bear increased risk of impaired magnesium absorption:
- People suffering from gastrointestinal diseases (like IBD and IBS)
- People with type 2 diabetes
- Individuals with alcohol addition
- Older adults
What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
If you have impaired magnesium absorption, you might experience different signs of deficiency, including :
- Anxiety and depression
- Aggression and irritability
- Muscular weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Ringing in years
- Headache and migraine
Should you supplement with magnesium?
First, if you have doubts that you don’t absorb magnesium properly or experience deficiency symptoms, it’s essential to visit your healthcare provider and follow his/her advise. Also, always follow the instructions listed on the packaging of your supplement!
If you supplement with magnesium and aim to improve it’s absorption, here are a couple of tricks to try  :
- Take the supplement with water before you start eating.
- After you take the supplement, consume foods low in insoluble fiber content and high in protein.
- Take with foods rich in vitamin C and D.
- Choose supplements which are easily absorbed: Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Carbonate (the ones that end in “ATE”). Keep in mind that magnesium oxide might not be suitable.
- DO NOT take magnesium with calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and copper. Those microniutrients were found to interfere with magnesium absorption.
Can magnesium be dangerous?
It is always better to intake magnesium with food (and not supplements). The reason for this is the fact that you can easily overdose with magnesium when supplementing. As a result, you may experience symptoms of magnesium toxicity.
Especially people suffering from kidney disease might bare higher risk! Those patients should be careful with their magnesium intake because their kidneys cannot effectively drain the excess amounts of magnesium from the body. 
For that reason, when you supplement with magnesium, you should continuously monitor the levels of magnesium in the blood and take a break from supplementing every 3 months (for at least 10 days), or when your healthcare provider advises you to do so.
Even though magnesium is an essential supplement for pregnant women, continuous and uncontrolled intake may lead to severe health problems. One of the most frequently occurring issues concerns the fetus, and later- the baby .
- Slow teeth growth
- Weak, brittle, loose teeth, prone to cavities (in some cases the teeth can crack when developing)
- Limited calcium absorption by the child
- Weak, over flexible bones
- Muscle weakness
- Skin problems (redness, flakiness, easy irritation)
- High/low blood pressure