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a variety of foods that are high in magnesium

The body contains more magnesium than almost any other mineral. Involved in more than 300 different enzymatic reactions, magnesium affects how we feel and function every day. Yet most of us don’t get enough of it; among nutrient deficiencies, only vitamin D is more common.

“It’s hard to find a body system that magnesium doesn’t impact,” says Life Time master trainer and nutritionist Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT. The mineral aids energy production, blood-sugar control, bone health, nerve conduction, muscle control, heart health, cognition, mood, and more.

“If someone’s even a little bit low in magnesium, all of those systems are going to be impacted. And you can imagine that there’s a whole trickle-down effect within each one of those areas.”

To optimize your health, McKinney offers these three tips for increasing your intake of this vital mineral.

1. Eat Well

Dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, and legumes are all good magnesium sources. Still, food alone probably won’t enable you to reach optimal levels if you are under stress or are active, or your diet includes a lot of added sugar, McKinney says.

2. Supplement Your Diet

Look for high-quality, chelated supplements; McKinney favors magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, and magnesium threonate. They’re more easily absorbed than cheaper supplement forms, such as magnesium oxide, which can cause digestive distress.

3. Test — But Don’t Rely Solely on Testing

You can measure magnesium in your red blood cells, but only about 1 percent of the mineral in your body is in the blood, so tests don’t provide a complete picture. Magnesium supplementation is generally considered safe, and most people can take it regularly. (If you experience loose stools, scale back your dosage a little bit.)

Hear More About Magnesium

Tune in to the Life Time Talks podcast to discover more details about this mineral at “Why Magnesium?“.

This article originally appeared as “Why Magnesium” in the September 2022 issue of Experience Life.

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