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Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to your body, playing a role in nearly all bodily functions and contributing to most body tissues. If you're like many people, you don't get enough magnesium in your daily diet, which may contribute to a wide range of symptoms, neck pain among them. According to a New York Times Health article, as many as 3/4 of Americans do not consume enough magnesium to avoid the adverse effects associated with chronic magnesium deficiency.

Three-Hundred Reasons Why You Need Magnesium

According to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center, magnesium plays important roles in the structure and function of your body and is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions 1. Among these is energy production, because the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats requires a number of magnesium-dependent chemical reactions. Magnesium is necessary for the production of proteins, DNA and RNA and plays a structural role in bone, cell membranes and chromosomes.

A State of Inadequacy

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A study published by the American Diabetes Association on the relationship between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance in obese children found that 27 percent of lean study subjects had insufficient levels of magnesium, as did 55 percent of obese subjects, which the study authors say, indicates that magnesium deficiency may be more prevalent in children than previously suspected 3. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, between 29 and 52 percent of Americans don't consume enough magnesium.

Muscle Pain and Magnesium Insufficiency

Among the most common signs of magnesium deficiency are those that effect the skeletal muscles. According to an article on CTV News, some Canadian doctors are calling for studies on magnesium for the relief of chronic pain. One of these, Dr. Linda Rapson, who specializes in treating chronic pain, tells CTV News that she has added magnesium to the diets of patients complaining of muscle pain and has seen improvement in virtually all of them.

Other Deficiency Symptoms

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Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • constipation
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • menstrual cramps
  • hyperactivity
  • restlessness

Magnesium deficiency can cause cardiovascular symptoms that include palpitations, heart arrhythmias, angina, mitral valve prolapse and high blood pressure.

Where to Get It and How Much

Recommended daily requirements of magnesium for adults are 310 to 320mg for women and 400 to 425mg for men. Supplements can be helpful if you have difficulty getting enough magnesium in your daily diet, but follow RDA guidelines. It is possible to overdose on magnesium.