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Low-Magnesium Diet

Magnesium, an alkaline earth mineral, is essential to your health. A diet low in magnesium may lead to an increased risk of some health disorders, and the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that most Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Visit with your doctor before making any major changes to your regular diet.

Magnesium’s Role

The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, magnesium is necessary for strong muscle and bone development. This essential mineral also helps the body process protein and contributes to optimal nerve function, according to the “Gale Encyclopedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition.” Magnesium also plays a role in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure and in converting nutrients into energy.

Effects of a Low-Magnesium Diet

The Bread & Butter Diet

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A diet low in magnesium may lead to magnesium deficiency, or hypomagnesaemia. When your body does not have a sufficient amount of magnesium, you’re more likely to experience anxiety and sleep disorders, according to UMMC. Other symptoms of too little magnesium include restless leg syndrome, confusion, weakness, muscle spasms, low blood pressure and seizures in severe cases.

Food Sources of Magnesium

A diet low in magnesium will benefit from the addition of foods rich in this vital mineral, including foods from the legume family, whole grains and some vegetables. Almonds, cashews and soybeans are good sources of magnesium and so are peanuts, black-eyed peas, baked potatoes with the skin on, yogurt, oatmeal and cooked halibut. Bananas, wheat germ, milk and brown rice also provide magnesium.

Recommended Intake of Magnesium

How Much Magnesium Per Day?

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The FDA sets a suggested Daily Value, or DV, for essential nutrients. The DV for magnesium for adults is 400 milligrams, reports the Office of Dietary Supplements. Another recommendation, set by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, lists Dietary Reference Intakes, or DRIs, for nutrients in the daily diet. DRIs more closely target different population groups, and the magnesium DRI for females 19 to 30 years old is 310 milligrams. After the age of 30, the DRI for females increases to 320 milligrams.

Excess Magnesium

Getting too much magnesium, known as hypermagnesemia, is rare, according to the “Gale Encyclopedia,” and it is more likely to occur as a result of laxative and antacid abuse than by eating foods high in magnesium.