The majority of teenagers in this country have, according to studies performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Unites State Department of Agriculture, significant magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium is required for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. Our muscle and nerve function depends on magnesium as do our skeletal system and our immune system. Magnesium is required to maintain normal blood sugar levels and a normal blood pressure. Perhaps the most important role that magnesium plays is in protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
Magnesium works with calcium to power the cells in our body but according to the 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and published in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, What We Eat in America, 2006-2007 Report, most of our kids have magnesium deficiencies. Many younger kids and adults do as well but the statistics are most alarming for teenagers. Eighty-nine percent of boys and seventy percent of girls aged 14-18 have inadequate dietary intake of Magnesium.
Studies have found that magnesium can be used to improve a host of conditions including insomnia, anxiety and depression. There is some scientific evidence that magnesium may be able to regulate neurotransmitter function. Deficiencies in magnesium, which can be caused by excess perspiration or by decreased dietary intake, may cause faulty neurotransmission as well as anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, mood disorders, hyperactivity and decreased concentration. Low magnesium has also been linked to sudden cardiac death, mitral valve prolapsed, diabetes and hypertension.
Several studies have shown that supplementation with 80 mg to 200 mg of magnesium daily improves anxiety, depression and ADHD symptoms. Most multivitamins have between 20mg to 50 mg of magnesium. This may be plenty of supplementation if you, or your children, are eating foods that are rich in magnesium such as green leafy vegetables, lot of whole grains, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts, beans, fish, pumpkin, bananas, avocados, raisins, milk products and tomato paste but is likely not enough if you are not.
This table lists the daily recommended requirements, The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), for Magnesium as recommended by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Magnesium is an important nutritional element that may be deficient in the diet of most Americans. Teenagers in particular, are likely to have magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium is lost through respiration and sweating and active people are more at risk for having borderline low magnesium levels than people who are sedentary. Eating foods high in magnesium or supplementing your diet with a magnesium vitamin is essential to avoid the poor health outcomes that result from low magnesium levels.
Check your multivitamin to insure that you and your children are getting enough magnesium. Those of us, who like hot chocolate and coffee, have yet another reason to drink more of these beverages. It turns out that cocoa and caffeine both contain a fair amount of magnesium. Some of the mood lifting effects of chocolate and coffee could be attributed to these magnesium levels.
The ADHD community has been quick to recommend fatty acid supplementation to improve the behavioral symptoms that cause problems in people with ADHD. The research community is only now learning that nutritional substances such as calcium, magnesium and zinc also play a role in moderating our mood and our behavior. By supplementing our diets with magnesium we may avoid worsening the symptoms of ADHD and may, in the process not only improve our overall health but also diminish the incidence of developing conditions such as depression and anxiety that often accompany a diagnosis of ADHD.
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Supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium and zinc in children seeking medical advice for attention-deficit/hyperactivity problems - an observational cohort study.