5 Signs Your Child has a Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is an essential mineral for our body’s functioning. Unfortunately, many people are not getting enough magnesium in their diets, which can lead to a range of health problems. A magnesium deficiency can even lead to mental health concerns such as excessive worry! In this blog, Dr. Kate Sage, Naturopathic Family Physician, explores the signs that your child may be deficient in magnesium and how to make sure your child is getting enough of this crucial mineral. Dr. Sage also shares magnesium-rich foods you can incorporate into your child’s diet and another bonus method for getting magnesium to your child. Read on to learn if your child needs more magnesium.

Top 5 Signs Your Child May Need Extra Magnesium

How do you know if you or your child are not getting enough magnesium in your diet? According to Dr. Kate Sage, the top 5 signs of a magnesium deficiency include teeth grinding, sensitivity to noise, twitching muscles, excessive worry and/or panic attacks, and constipation. If you notice that your child has some of these symptoms, consider speaking to your doctor to determine if a lack of magnesium might be at least partially to blame.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Magnesium

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the minimum amount of a nutrient you need to consume in order not to begin to experience signs and symptoms of deficiency.  Yet, this is most often not the optimal dose people need to feel their best. Optimal dosages are a bit more elusive, but some sources say adults should get 350mg a day whereas others suggest up to 600-800mg a day. Getting the just right amount for children depends on their body size, but Dr. Sage finds that the RDA’s listed in the visual below are a minimum amount to try to surpass. On the flip side, consuming too much magnesium causes diarrhea. So if you or your child begin to experience loose stools, talk to your doctor about the possibility of decreasing the amount of magnesium you are consuming.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Neglecting this important mineral can lead to a lot of other issues. Magnesium deficiency can impact your or your child’s ability to absorb calcium and can worsen a calcium deficiency. Magnesium also has a role to play in anxiety! As Dr. Sage notes to many of her patients experiencing worry, magnesium helps with anxiety because it boosts both serotonin and melatonin levels. This helps improve a person’s mood and sleep. It also relaxes smooth muscles, thus reducing blood pressure and improving respiration– key elements for achieving a state of calm.
These days it is difficult to get enough magnesium just through food as much of the nutrient is often lost when a food is processed. Yet, there are some great magnesium-rich foods that will certainly help! Making it to the top of the list are Brazil nuts, brown rice, spinach, avocados, almonds, chickpeas, milk and bananas.
Dr. Sage also recommends another way to support absorption of magnesium– by putting it in the bathtub! Epsom salt is a naturally occurring compound that includes magnesium. Although it’s not a substitute for incorporating magnesium into your child’s diet, magnesium can be absorbed through the skin as well. Add about 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and invite your child to soak. A warm soak and some additional magnesium are a perfect combo to support relaxation.

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.

Written by Dr. Kate Sage, NMD, Naturopathic Family Physician

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