Do you need more magnesium?


The World Health Organisation believes that as many as 75% of the population do not get the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. Do you fall into this category?


Emily Condon
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

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What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a key mineral, involved in over 300 processes in the body. However, despite its importance, many are unaware they are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is a macro-mineral which is needed by the body in large amounts. The mineral is found in a wide variety of foods including green leafy vegetables, bananas, brown rice, whole grain bread, fish and dairy foods. The NHS recommends 300 mg of magnesium a day for men (19-64 years) and 270 mg a day for women (19-64 years).

Within the body, magnesium, along with oxygen and hydrogen, is amongst the 11 elements that are necessary for life. Magnesium is essential for many different processes in the body including maintaining healthy bones, energy production, normal nerve and muscle function, regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well as aiding the production of DNA - the body’s genetic material. 

How much magnesium do we need?

Over the last few years, the number of people who are deficient in magnesium has risen and low magnesium is often referred to as ‘the silent epidemic of our time’. The daily recommended amount of magnesium would once have been easy to obtain from eating green leafy vegetables and meat but intensive farming has had an effect on the magnesium content of crops. Our fast-paced, modern-day lifestyles may also be to blame for our low magnesium levels as the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can deplete the body’s magnesium stores. Alcohol and caffeine both act as magnesium diuretics; meaning they can increase the urinary excretion of magnesium from the body.

What are the symptoms of low magnesium?

Because the symptoms of low magnesium are not unique to a magnesium deficiency, low magnesium levels can be very difficult to pinpoint and diagnose. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Eye twitches 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems sleeping
  • Low mood

Many people who are magnesium deficient go undiagnosed for a long while as severe symptoms don’t often appear until levels are extremely low.

How are your magnesium levels?

Because quite often low magnesium levels go unrecognised, many people suffer from the symptoms of a deficiency when something as simple as increasing their dietary intake of magnesium could really help them feel better.

The majority of the magnesium present in the body is stored in bone and muscle, however, a Medichecks Magnesium blood test is a valuable way to check your levels. A low result can help to identify the cause of any deficiency-related symptoms, allowing you to take control of your health and make the necessary dietary changes to improve levels. This test can be completed from the comfort of your own home with your results returned back to you within a couple of days. Our Magnesium (red cell) blood test can provide an even earlier indicator of a magnesium deficiency. When levels are low in the body, magnesium is pulled into the blood from cells to keep blood levels normal. Our advanced tests - the Well Man and Well Woman UltraVit both include a test for magnesium, as well as other important nutrients such as iron and vitamins D and B12, allowing you to monitor your levels as part of a general health check.

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