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. 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. Magnesium also functions as an electrolyte, responsible for the transport of potassium and calcium across cell membranes, affecting the conduction of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation, as well as normal heart rhythm.
A State of Inadequacy
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. 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 written by Dr. Michael B. Schachter, these can include twitches, cramps, muscle tension and muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw pain. 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
Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include constipation, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, menstrual cramps, hyperactivity and 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. Foods that are rich in magnesium include fruits and vegetables, nuts, peas, beans, whole grains and seeds. 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.
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Magnesium
- USDA: Magnesium: Percent of Population 1 Year Old and Over With Adequate Intakes Based on Average Requirement for Magnesium From Food Sources
- American Diabetes Association: Magnesium Deficiency Is Associated With Insulin Resistance in Obese Children
- CTV News: Overlooked Magnesium May Be Key to Pain Relief
- Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine: The Importance of Magnesium to Human Nutrition
- New York Times: Personal Health: A Dietary Mineral You Need (and Probably Didn't Know It)