If you’re feeling tired, depressed or otherwise unhealthy, the problem could be a magnesium deficiency. In this Food is Medicine video, Dr. Josh Axe, a chiropractor and natural medicine expert, points out eight warning signs that you aren’t getting enough of the mineral in your diet.
“There is a good chance you have a health condition, and if you just got more magnesium it could be gone for good,” Dr. Axe says.
If you are one of the 80 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient, take heed if you have any of these symptoms or diseases:
Headache: “Whether you have a tension headache or a migraine headache, that’s a big warning sign,” Dr. Axe says. Magnesium helps with cellular function and relaxing muscles so it can bring relief to ongoing or persistent headaches.
Muscle Cramps: While many people know a potassium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, it’s less well known that lack of magnesium can be another culprit.
Osteoporosis: This bone degenerative condition that frequently accompanies old age is another sign you don’t have enough magnesium in your diet. The same also applies to osteopenia or any other sign of weak bones — your body needs magnesium in order to take advantage of calcium and keep your skeletal system healthy. “It’s critical for building strong bones,” says the doctor.
Diabetes: “Magnesium is a critical mineral for improving glucose absorption and really balancing out your blood sugar,” Dr. Axe tells us. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with full-blown diabetes, if you get tired after eating it could be a sign that your blood sugars are unbalanced.
High Blood Pressure: Try a natural solution before you sign up for daily blood pressure medication for the rest of your life. “Magnesium has been shown to be one of the best natural remedies to naturally lower or balance out your blood pressure,” says Dr. Axe.
Insomnia: If you have trouble falling asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, magnesium could again be your problem. The best time to take a supplement, the doctor suggests, is with dinner or right before bed in the evening.
Anxiety and Depression: Taking magnesium can help relieve these widespread mood disorders and get you back on an even keel. “It is a vital mineral for overall mood,” Dr. Axe says.
Muscle Pain: The mineral can also help people who suffer from muscle pain or fibromyalgia. “Even within minutes of taking it, it can start to relax your muscles,” says the doctor.
Dr. Axe gives a bonus warning sign as well: If you struggle with constipation, you can help move things along by upping your magnesium intake.
So if you do suffer from any of the above symptoms, how can you get more magnesium in your diet to see if it helps? First of all, make sure you consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in your day-to-day meals. Dr. Axe especially recommends avocados, bananas, and pumpkin seeds. You can also get supplements if you aren’t getting enough magnesium from food alone.
Check out the video below to learn more.