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Mad about magnesium

Magnesium—it’s a mineral that plays a major role in maintaining heart and bone health, but many Americans don’t get enough of it.

The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for men and 320 mg for women. If you’re an older adult, you face a greater risk of lower-than-optimal magnesium levels than younger people do for several reasons. First, as you age, your body loses its ability to absorb as much magnesium as it once did. Second, certain medications like diuretics or antibiotics can interfere with magnesium’s absorption and retention. Finally, you simply may not be eating enough magnesium-rich foods, such as beans, whole grains, nuts and dark green, leafy vegetables.

What’s your body missing out on if you’re not getting enough magnesium? Magnesium helps to:

  • regulate heart rhythm
  • keep bones strong
  • keep nerves and muscles functioning properly
  • regulate metabolism
  • support your immune system so you can fight disease
  • promote normal blood pressure

Recent studies suggest that magnesium also helps regulate insulin.

Fortunately, magnesium deficiency is rare in the United States, although diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.