Magnesium: Expert discusses effects of mineral supplements
The body needs certain vitamins and minerals to function to the best of its ability. Most of the nutrients we need we can get through diet. However, in some cases we can become deficient, exposing ourselves to potential health risks.
Magnesium is one such mineral, required for functions such as building strong bones, regulating blood sugar, and muscle and nerve function.
It is found in plant foods like legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fortified cereals. And it is also in fish, poultry, and beef.
An expert spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about an unexpected sign you could be low in magnesium.
Mark Gilbert, nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, explained: “A craving for chocolate could possibly mean that the body is asking for a magnesium boost!
“Chocolate – especially the dark variety – is one of the foods containing magnesium due to its high cocoa content.
“The darker the chocolate, the more of the valuable mineral it contains.”
He said that eating a certain amount of chocolate could help top up magnesium levels.
“A large bar of dark chocolate can cover over 70 percent of the daily magnesium requirement,” he said.
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“Nevertheless, the sweet treat should only be consumed in moderation, because it is very high in calories.
“However, there are healthier alternatives such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, bananas, figs or spinach that can be used to cover the daily magnesium requirement.”
This was backed by supplement specialists Better You.
On their website, they said: “Cravings for specific foods could be an indication of a deficiency in a micro or macro nutrient.
“In particular, a craving for chocolate could highlight a magnesium deficiency.
“Magnesium is an essential mineral and is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body.
“So, try eating a good quality dark chocolate bar (preferably organic and above 70 percent cocoa) which is a rich source of magnesium, or try a magnesium supplement to see if your cravings subside.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic some of the earlier signs of a magnesium deficiency are:
- Loss of appetite.
- Muscle spasms
However, if it becomes more severe it can cause:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Numbness and tingling
- Personality changes
There are certain factors that can raise your risk of a magnesium deficiency.
These include if you have:
- A gastrointestinal disease (like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease).
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Alcohol use disorder.
If you are over the age of 60 you are also more likely to be low on magnesium as the older we get, the harder it is for our bodies to absorb the mineral.
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