Magnesium is an essential mineral, but most Americans don’t eat enough. It’s needed for over 300 cellular reactions! DNA synthesis, nerve function, and heart rhythm all depend on magnesium. Deficiency can be reversed with not only food and supplements but herbs as well.
For men, the recommended daily intake for men is 400 to 420 milligrams. Women should get 310 to 320 milligrams. Both groups don’t meet these levels, and low intake is even more likely in older men over 71 and adolescent women.1
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?
The kidneys prevent deficiency by stopping excess urinary excretion. Regardless, a low intake may still cause issues. Rich sources of magnesium include fruits, leafy greens, unrefined grains, and nuts. It doesn’t help that the typical Western diet isn’t high in magnesium.
Additionally, if the kidneys start to fail, more magnesium can be lost through the urine. It’s a likely problem for alcoholics and type 2 diabetics.
Gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s and celiac, can disrupt magnesium absorption. Sometimes, prescription drugs have the same effect.2
Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency
About 23 percent of American adults between ages 25 to 74 have low blood magnesium.3 If a deficiency develops, early signs can be mistaken for other conditions. Get a blood test to know for sure. The early signs of magnesium include: 4
- Muscle cramps
- Behavior changes
- Abnormal heartbeat
If magnesium deficiency isn’t caught and treated, long-term symptoms can include:
Herbs For Magnesium Deficiency
Almonds, spinach, and cashews are awesome sources of magnesium. But don’t limit yourself to food! These herbs can also up your magnesium intake.
Thyme offers magnesium plus calcium, potassium, and iron. One teaspoon offers 1 milligram of magnesium.9 It’s a popular herb for savory baked goods, but you can also add it to soup and roasted veggies.
Two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil have 3 milligrams of magnesium.10 It’s a delicious reason to toss it into pasta, soups, and sauces. Even better, use basil leaves to make a simple Caprese salad.
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is used in so many different cuisines. It’ll freshen up a meal while adding 5 milligrams of magnesium per 9 springs.11 Toss it on nachos, rice, or tacos.
Despite the name, dill weed is a delicious herb. Five sprigs have 1 milligram of magnesium, along with some calcium and potassium.12 Mix fresh dill with plain yogurt for a tasty, magnesium-rich dip.
Love earthy flavors? Use sage, which has 3 milligrams of magnesium in 1 teaspoon.13 This herb is tasty with autumn dishes like pumpkin bread, butternut squash soup, and stuffing. If you love tea, steep these dried herbs in hot water. Add lemon juice or honey to sweeten things up. You can also find pre-prepared tea bags at the health food store.
Obviously, eating these herbs won’t cure magnesium deficiency. You’ll have to fuel up on food, supplements, and the doctor’s prescribed regimen. Together, these remedies will reverse deficiency and prevent future problems.
|↑1, ↑7||Magnesium. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑2||Barbagallo, Mario, and Ligia J. Dominguez. “Magnesium and type 2 diabetes.” World journal of diabetes 6, no. 10 (2015): 1152.|
|↑3||Ford, Earl S., and Ali H. Mokdad. “Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults.” The Journal of Nutrition 133, no. 9 (2003): 2879-2882.|
|↑4||Jahnen-Dechent, Wilhelm, and Markus Ketteler. “Magnesium basics.” Clinical kidney journal 5, no. Suppl_1 (2012): i3-i14.|
|↑5||Kokubo, Yoshihiro, Isao Saito, Hiroyasu Iso, Kazumasa Yamagishi, Hiroshi Yatsuya, Junko Ishihara, Koutatsu Maruyama et al. “Dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident coronary heart disease in men: A prospective cohort study.” Clinical Nutrition (2017).|
|↑6||Castiglioni, Sara, Alessandra Cazzaniga, Walter Albisetti, and Jeanette AM Maier. “Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions.” Nutrients 5, no. 8 (2013): 3022-3033.|
|↑8||Sun-Edelstein, Christina, and Alexander Mauskop. “Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine.” Expert review of neurotherapeutics 9, no. 3 (2009): 369-379.|
|↑9||Basic Report: 02049, Thyme, fresh. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑10||Basic Report: 02044, Basil, fresh. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑11||Basic Report: 11165, Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑12||Basic Report: 02045, Dill weed, fresh. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑13||Basic Report: 02038, Spices, sage, ground. United States Department of Agriculture.|