According to the National Institute of Health in the United States magnesium is important to good health, being needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It is an extraordinary mineral needed for good health across the board; it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body where half of it is used for keeping the bones strong. It also functions in keeping the heart rate regular, relaxing muscles, and nerve functions. It is being studied for its role in preventing and treating heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.
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A magnesium deficiency can be associated with Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Workers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain carried out two studies designed to discover whether diabetes could be the cause of a magnesium deficiency in obese patients.
Study No. 1: Their first study, published in PLoS One in January 2012, included:
- 150 obese volunteers without diabetes, and
- 50 obese people with Type 2 diabetes.
The volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were found to have lower levels of magnesium than the non-diabetic volunteers. Low levels of magnesium were associated with:
- poor diabetic control,
- insensitivity to insulin, and
- high weight per height.
Study No. 2: The second study involved surgery for obesity which can be curative for Type 2 diabetes. Eighty obese people who were not diabetic, and 40 people diagnosed as being obese and having Type 2 diabetes, taken from the first study, were included.
After the procedure, magnesium levels increased only in the diabetic volunteers whose diabetes was cured. Both groups lost the same amount of weight. The amount of increase in magnesium improved with better control of blood sugar levels. It was therefore concluded that controlling blood sugar levels is necessary for normalizing magnesium levels when one is obese.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the daily allowance, or RDA for magnesium is 400 mg. Some good food sources rich in magnesium include the following:
- pumpkin and squash seeds, and
- whole grains.
Try sprinkling an ounce of dried pumpkin seeds over your salad for 37 per cent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium. Have a medium artichoke for 19 per cent of your RDA of magnesium. A cup of cooked spinach supplies 39 per cent of your RDA of magnesium. One large stalk of cooked broccoli has 15 per cent of magnesium’s RDA. Food.com suggests cooking broccoli with artichoke hearts along with olive oil, hot pepper flakes, garlic, and lime juice.
It has been found that during the course of processing food, minerals are stripped away. Green leafy vegetables are really great sources of magnesium as they contain high levels of chlorophyll.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- anxiety and agitation,
- sleep disorders,
- restless leg syndrome,
- abnormal heart rhythms,
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Improving your magnesium level may improve the activity of insulin in your body as well as strengthen your arteries and produce healthier cholesterol levels.
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