Magnesium – the Missing Mineral for Men

Men who eat a modern diet with processed foods may be more at risk of deficiency.

Magnesium is a mineral needed by every organ in the body including the heart, muscles and kidneys.

Magnesium is a mineral needed by every organ in the body including the heart, muscles and kidneys. It is found naturally in foods and available as a supplement. Adults normally have approximately 25g of magnesium in their body, at least half of which is stored in the bones and the rest in soft tissue. Magnesium contributes to energy production and helps to absorb and regulate calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin D levels.

Men who eat a modern diet with few fruit and vegetables and too many processed foods may be more at risk of deficiency than those eating a broad range of foods. Excessive alcohol consumption and fizzy drinks may also play a part. Men who suffer from hyperthyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease and some gastrointestinal conditions, could also be at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency. Depression and anxiety may increase the body’s requirements for magnesium to help deal with the psychological stress.

Symptoms of low magnesium levels can include: agitation and anxiety, muscle cramps, spasms and weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, sleep disorders or insomnia, restless leg syndrome, irritability and low blood pressure.

Magnesium Health Benefits for Men:

Results from a large research project, involving more than 15,000 participants from four US communities, indicated there may be a link between low levels of magnesium and the incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. The researchers found that, generally, magnesium levels were lower in those with some form of heart disease and high blood pressure compared to healthy subjects. They also found serum levels of magnesium were lower in those with type 2 diabetes, although participants with type 2 diabetes often had the highest dietary intake of magnesium. The study also found that higher magnesium levels led to lower fasting insulin levels, which could be a potential protective factor against type 2 diabetes.

A recent World Health Organization report into the public health significance of calcium and magnesium in water supplies recognized that sub-clinical magnesium deficiencies could increase calcium imbalance, worsen blood vessel calcification, and potentially lead to type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium may also have a protective effect against prostate cancer. A Taiwanese study concluded that magnesium intake from drinking water and other dietary sources may offer a significant protective effect against the risk of prostate cancer development.