Compared to iron and calcium, magnesium is one of the lesser known minerals, but it’s just as important to our health. Magnesium is a macromineral, meaning that we need to consume large amounts of it daily to ensure optimal health. But, are we getting enough? Magnesium can be found in a variety of food sources, but many people simply aren’t consuming enough magnesium-rich foods to keep their levels high enough, and this can put you at risk for some  health concerns. If you’re worried you’re not getting enough magnesium and are considering taking supplements, read on to find out everything you need to know about magnesium supplements.

1. Low Levels of Magnesium

Since magnesium has such an important role in so many of our bodily functions, it’s important to have adequate intake levels of this mineral. And yet, a surprising amount of us simply aren’t getting enough magnesium—or our bodies aren’t absorbing it properly. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about a third of the population don’t meet their requirements for magnesium. This alarming number isn’t something to take lightly; inadequate levels of magnesium can wreak havoc on your health, without you even realizing. In fact, even a blood test might not give you a true picture of your magnesium levels, and doctors often resort to lifestyle and diet questions to diagnose you.

 2. Magnesium Deficiency

Fortunately, true magnesium deficiency is rare. Most healthy people won’t experience magnesium deficiency if they’re consuming enough magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium deficiency can occur when low levels of magnesium last for a long period of time, or due to excessive alcohol intake (which can prevent your body from absorbing magnesium), or because of certain medications and illnesses. Some early signs of low levels of magnesium include muscle cramps, muscle twitching and spasms, irritability, stress and fatigue. 

3. Food Sources

Magnesium is found in many foods, but unless you eat healthy balanced diet, there’s a risk you’re still not hitting your daily recommended intake. Foods that are highest in magnesium include spinach, Swiss chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, yogurt, and bananas (not the easiest list of food for kids and picky eaters). Other good sources of magnesium include fish, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. If you consume a good ratio of these foods and moderate your consumption of alcohol, chances are your levels of magnesium are adequate.

4. Dosage

If you think you’re not getting enough magnesium from your diet, supplements can be a great way to boost your levels and see an improvement in your overall health. According to the Australian Ministry of Health, the average recommended daily intake of magnesium for adult men is 400-420 mg/day (depending on your age), and 310-320 mg/day for adult women (depending on your age). The recommendation changes whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or a child, so make sure to check with your health professional first.

5. Benefits

Magnesium supplements can help you with a whole host of health concerns Some of the ways magnesium helps your body include: helping your body absorb calcium into the bone to promote bone health, supports nervous system, relaxes muscles and nerves, helps improve sleep quality, and helps keep your muscles – especially your heart – healthy, and may even help with mild anxiety. Maintaining adequate levels of magnesium is so important for overall good health, and supplements can help you achieve them.