Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in maintaining proper gut health and digestion . Around 52% of the magnesium stores located in the bone and approximately 40% of peak bone mass accumulate by adolescence . Kids require increased magnesium intake because of constant growth and development . It is estimated that at least 42% of young adults have an ongoing magnesium deficiency . Therefore, it’s important to ensure that our little ones are meeting their daily magnesium requirements to support their overall health.
Human bodies can’t produce magnesium, so we need to consume it through the diet or through supplements. We’ve discussed how magnesium can help support constipation before, but how does a deficiency affect gut health? Let’s explore the connection between magnesium deficiency, gut health and digestion, along with potential solutions to maintain magnesium levels in both our bodies and our kid’s growing bodies.
Factors that Reduce Magnesium Absorption
The human body only absorbs 30% to 40% of magnesium intake and expels the rest, either via the kidneys or the bowels . While extreme cases of magnesium deficiencies are rare in the United States, inadequate intake of magnesium-rich foods may contribute to lower levels of magnesium in the body . Aside from poor intake, other possible factors that reduce magnesium absorption include:
Magnesium Helps Regulate Digestive Enzymes
Magnesium is involved in the activation and regulation of digestive enzymes that break down food in the stomach and intestines. Low magnesium levels can potentially impair enzyme function, resulting in poor digestion and nutrient absorption in adults .
Magnesium Helps Gut Motility and Peristalsis
Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining proper gut motility and facilitating peristalsis, the wave-like contractions that move food through the digestive tract. Inadequate magnesium levels can disrupt these processes, leading to constipation, bloating, and irregular bowel movements in adults .
Magnesium Impacts the Gut Microbiota
Research suggests that magnesium deficiencies can alter the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota . A healthy gut microbiome is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health. Imbalances in the gut microbiota have been linked to various gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) .
What are the signs of a Magnesium Deficiency?
Although severe deficiencies are rare in the United States, some symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:
Preventing a Magnesium Deficiency: How to Maintain Proper Levels
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May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.
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