Magnesium: Nutrition expert explains why you should add to your diet

Magnesium is a critical mineral that is linked to your energy, sleep, heart and bone health.

HOUSTON – Magnesium comes from food or supplements and our lifestyle works against us when it comes to absorbing this mineral.

A blood test only reveals when someone is extremely depleted of magnesium, not just a minor deficiency.

So, nutrition expert, Tammy Karni, said she hardly ever recommends supplements over diet except for magnesium.

“It becomes like a miracle drug for people that are deficient,” Karni said.

The daily recommended dose is 400 mg but it’s difficult to get that much from food alone. Therefore, Karni said she almost always recommends taking the pills.

“It is very difficult to get it from food. Our soils are depleted. We have a highly processed, refined diet that doesn’t have a lot of magnesium. But also, our lifestyles are depleting. So, things that increase our need for magnesium are things like stress.” Karni said. “We all have stress, caffeine, alcohol, excess sugar, and sweating. We live in Houston, right? Some medications increase our need for magnesium. Some people take diuretics for high blood pressure. They take acid blockers for reflux. Some antibiotics also increase our need for magnesium. People that drink dark colas, have phosphoric acid that increases our need for magnesium. So you can see that our lifestyle is also creating a problem. So the combination of not getting enough from food, but for us a lifestyle that is depleting is making people be deficient.”

Some foods that contain magnesium are:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocado

“I would recommend people going with chelated magnesium. So things like glycinate,” she said. “If you go to the store and you find oxide and carbonate... all of those are cheaper, but they’re not going to work,” Karni said.

Karni recommends magnesium citrate when someone suffers from constipation since she said it can relieve that symptom.

She also recommends taking it at night since it helps with sleep. Start with 400 mg and you can go up if you don’t feel much or down if you’re too sleepy.

Of course, those with a chronic condition should ask their doctor before mixing it into other treatments.