The role of vitamins and minerals in our diet is often overlooked with a main focus on adequate macronutrients intake such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates. However, just as we need certain macronutrients, we need our vitamins and minerals to be provided through our diets. Specifically, magnesium is a major player in the body and its importance is something might want to consider if we are looking to become the healthiest versions of ourselves.
We all NEED magnesium, an important biological element and one of the most abundant electrolytes in our bodies. You may have heard of supplementing with magnesium from not having enough in our diets. However, many of us are unaware of its importance and the prevalence of deficiencies. Not only may adults be deficient, but children and young adults, too
Let’s dive into understanding this wonderful electrolyte and its role in children’s development a little deeper!
Depending on the various stages of our lives, some of us will need more than others. Did you know many children often have magnesium deficiencies? It’s true!
Magnesium affects hundreds of enzyme systems including protein synthesis, hormones, bone function, blood glucose control, etc. All of these functions affect our entire beings as we grow, develop and mature. Without magnesium, other important nutrients wouldn’t properly be utilized such as vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium.
Does my child need magnesium?
To start, did you know that vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium? Or that vitamin D supports parathyroid function and metabolism?
Magnesium is critical for vitamin D to properly do its job in the body. Without enough magnesium bone growth suffers and development is hindered. The most important time to influence bone growth is before the peak of adolescence; this means during childhood. Some studies have shown that the higher levels of magnesium in humans, the higher the bone mineral density. Keeping bones strong when they are growing is vital!
Further, magnesium is known to help a child’s mood and state of calmness. It lends itself to having a calming affect which can in turn lead to sleep facilitation. On the flip side, when there is a lack of magnesium in a child’s body, aggression and anger are often noticed. Additionally, trouble sleeping and irritability have been seen, as well.
Now at this point you’re probably wondering what causes a deficiency in a child. There are a few contributing factors we can look at.
- Lack of intake through diet
It’s not uncommon for a child to have a deficiency because of constant growth and development. If your child is a picky eater, this doesn’t help one bit! Did you know meat and refined carbs provide very little magnesium? From foods such as these, the child is receiving only about 20-30% of their required daily intake. Further, if the child is eating processed foods, I would say this is a big red flag. Processing foods can lower the amount of magnesium present by about 300%. To note, diets high in salt and sugar hinder magnesium absorption and should be avoided when possible.
- Inability to absorb magnesium
Maybe your child eats well and is getting lots of magnesium in their diet, yet they still have a deficiency. This could be due to an underlying vitamin D deficiency or frequent use of antibiotics. These two factors are the biggest contributors to reduced magnesium absorption.
- A great loss of magnesium leading to deficiency
Active children frequently loose more magnesium than other children because they often have increased sweat production. Secondly, if your child has increased stress and anxiety particularly around school or friendships they will lose magnesium faster than others. Children who fall under these categories means it’s extra important for them to eat diets rich in magnesium foods such as spinach, bananas, brown rice and black beans. Offer them smoothies or healthy homemade snacks including these foods when possible!
Lastly, I just want to touch on some conditions that may require more magnesium. Some conditions include, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, obesity, stress, restless leg syndrome, pinworm, etc. If your child has any of these conditions, just be aware that they may need more magnesium than what they are currently receiving.
Daily Magnesium Requirements for Children:
- Birth to 6 months- 30mg
- 7-12 months – 75 mg
- 1-3 years- 80 mg
- 4-8 years- 130 mg
- 9-13 years- 240 mg
- 14-18 years 350- 410 mg
While magnesium deficiencies are not something you should stress or worry over, it’s just important to be aware of any symptoms mentioned above. Taking action early could prevent your child from experiencing health consequences later on!
The best way to absorb magnesium is through a Magnesium Bath! Taking a ½ cup of magnesium flakes, throw some bubble mix in and play! A magnesium bath is so efficient and cost effective! Absorb those magnesium needs almost immediately!