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Don't lose sleep over magnesium

magnesium foods

If you spend any time on TikTok, you probably know that some of its users have been singing the praises of what magnesium can do for people when it comes to sleep. But medical experts are saying not so fast.

Experts say there is not enough research currently to back that claim. Although there are many supplements like magnesium, claiming to help with sleep such as melatonin or tart cherry juice, what's most important is that we are creating a sleep schedule, eating healthy, staying hydrated and exercising to develop good sleep habits.

While the jury’s still out about sleep and magnesium, the attention garnered on TikTok is raising awareness of the important mineral. One study, estimates more than half of the country is magnesium deficient.

“Magnesium plays a very crucial role in many different body systems such as muscle and nerve function as well as energy production," says Brittany Van Tine, a dietetic intern with OSF HealthCare. "It’s also very important for maintaining blood sugar, blood pressure, as well as the activity of your muscle nerves in cardiovascular system.”

Other benefits include stress relief and improved hydration. Van Tine says because our bodies lack the ability to produce magnesium on our own, consumption must come from our diets. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 400 -420 milligrams for men, and 310-320 milligrams for women.

“Magnesium is found in a lot of different foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy vegetables, as well as milk and yogurt, and also fortified foods, which means that magnesium has been added back into foods like bread and cereal," says Van Tine. 

Other good sources of magnesium are avocados, black beans and bananas. And if you’re a fan of almonds, you’re in luck. Van Tine says one ounce or one handful of almonds is about 20% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium for adults.

But if you’re still not getting the right amount through your diet, Van Tine recommends a magnesium supplement.

“There are many supplements available on the shelves and they come in different forms such as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate," she says. "When talking about purchasing a supplement, we need to talk about the bioavailability This is the amount that can be absorbed and then utilized in the body.”

That’s because large doses of magnesium can cause nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

While toxicity is rare when it comes to magnesium, Van Tine suggests having the conversation with your doctor first. You’ll be better off in the long run.

For more information on magnesium, visit OSF HealthCare.


Interview Clips 

View Brittany Van Tine - crucial role
Brittany Van Tine - crucial role
Dietetic Intern, OSF HealthCare
View Brittany Van Tine - different foods
Brittany Van Tine - different foods
Dietetic Intern, OSF HealthCare
View Brittany Van Tine - supplements
Brittany Van Tine - supplements
Dietetic Intern, OSF HealthCare