Importance of Magnesium
What it is, why it’s important and how to make sure your child gets enough
Magnesium’s importance often is overlooked, but this nutrient is so important in the health and development of adults and kids alike. Studies are showing the benefits of magnesium intake in developing bone density in children, according to AAP.org. Calcium is usually looked at when we think about the health of bones, but magnesium may play an equally important role. In addition to bone development and support, magnesium plays a part in keeping the heart rhythm steady, while also supporting the immune system and helping with muscle and nerve development, according to BabyCenter.com.
Meeting the exact requirements for magnesium every single day isn’t necessary. Instead, focus on hitting a good average over the course of a few days or a week. For kids ages 1-3, 80 mg daily is sufficient. For ages 4-8, 130 mg is the recommended daily average, according to BabyCenter.com. Fortunately, magnesium is found in a lot of foods, most commonly in nuts, beans, seeds and leafy green vegetables. Adding one serving of nuts during the day or adding beans to your salad or burritos will go a long way toward making sure your family reaches recommended levels.
Some people prefer to take supplements to ensure they reach their desired amount of magnesium. While ingesting too much magnesium in its natural state is almost impossible, consuming too much through supplementation can happen. Typically, an over-the-counter multivitamin doesn’t contain the full dosage of magnesium needed per day. However, when a person combines a multivitamin with a balanced diet, she often can reach the appropriate level.
Spotting magnesium deficiency in a child isn’t always easy. The child may have difficulty verbalizing what he feels. Muscle weakness and cramping are the most common symptoms. If the deficiency goes on long enough, it can affect heart health, cause anxiety and increase blood pressure. As with avoiding many ailments, a well-balanced diet is the key! If you have any questions or concerns about any symptoms your child is experiencing, call your health care provider.
Olathe mom Jessica Heine is a labor and delivery nurse.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.