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December 06, 2018

While doctors and researchers stress the importance of our calcium and vitamin D intake, it can be easy for us to overlook one of the body’s most abundant minerals: magnesium. This nutrient is responsible for some of the body’s most important functions. It has a hand in converting food into energy, promotes bone health, helps with muscle movements and assists in regulating neurotransmitters, which relay messages to the brain. Magnesium is mostly found in our bones, muscles, soft tissues and blood.

Are There Any Other Benefits?

If promoting healthy joints isn’t enough to leave you impressed, consider the following: magnesium is also said to promote a more restful night’s sleep by helping to maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter associated with restorative sleep. Think of magnesium as GABA’s equally important partner. They work hand-in-hand. Without magnesium’s ability to increase GABA, the neurotransmitter wouldn’t be able to promote a calm, relaxed state for the body.

Is It Possible to Increase Our Bodies’ Magnesium Levels?

Of course. In fact, the only way to benefit from magnesium is through outside sources like our diets. The body does not produce it itself. Of course, magnesium supplements are available for added health benefits. And like most minerals and vitamins, consuming foods rich in the nutrient can lead to a boost in magnesium. Some of these foods may include dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, legumes, meat, unprocessed whole grains and broccoli, among other vegetables.

So, What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough?

A deficiency in magnesium, which is more common in older adults, can be a dangerous thing. Symptoms may include a loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and weakness.