Check Your Magnesium
A national nutrition survey reveals that half of us are low on magnesium, the multitasking mineral that aids strength, endurance, and recovery. The shortage can lead to fatigue, irritability, and poor muscle performance.
Here’s what registered dietitian Lory Hayon RD, LDN, NASM-CPT, wants you and your clients to know about magnesium—including why a high-dose supplement isn’t the answer.
- Men and women have different needs. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of magnesium for men is 400 mg before age 30, 420 mg after. For women, it’s 310 and 320 mg, respectively (with higher levels during pregnancy). Most of us get two-thirds of what we need.
- Fill the gap with whole foods. Magnesium is found in chlorophyll, which means green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are stellar sources. (One cup of cooked spinach delivers 156 mg.) Whole grains like brown rice and oats, along with beans (white, black, red, etc.), nuts, and seeds also contain respectable amounts, Hayon says. “Getting at least five servings of vegetables a day, eating whole grains, and having a serving of nuts or seeds daily will get you close to what you need,” she notes.
- Add a multi for insurance. “It can be tough to get the magnesium you need from food every day, so try a multivitamin that contains up to 100 milligrams,” Hayon suggests. “Best-absorbed are magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride.”
- More isn’t better. “Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea,” Hayon warns. And taking extra didn’t boost sports performance in a Lenox Hill Hospital study of runners.