I know many people who suffer from the occasional Charlie horse and assume that they must be magnesium deficient; I just love it when we diagnose ourselves based on our savvy Google searches! While those pesky cramps can be indicative of a deficiency, it is by no means a tell-all (as other factors such as dehydration or hormones could be to blame as well).
Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency are as follows: • Abnormal heart rhythms • Loss of appetite • Cramps • Nausea • Tingling • Weakness • Numbness • Fatigue
The National Institute of Health recommends different amounts for men and women as well as the age of the individual, so it could be 410mg for a 14-18 year old man or 420 for a gentleman over the age of 51; for women 19-30 years old it could be 310 mg unless you are pregnant (350 mg) or nursing (310 mg). For a woman not bearing children 31 and up, the recommendation is 320 mg.
The best way to get your magnesium is through food of course! The best sources are found in leafy greens such as spinach, as well as seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Some processed foods are fortified with magnesium as well, but whole foods are always more superior than man-made, chemical copy-cats.
Some people feel that they can get adequate amounts from their municipal water supply systems, but it varies from source to source, so I wouldn’t rely solely on this.
For those who are indeed doctor-diagnosed deficient, they may need to supplement if they are below adequate levels, but this is best determined by your doctor to see what is necessary for you.
Sometimes you may get the occasional Charlie horse from doing an exercise that your body isn’t used to doing on a regular basis; for many of my clients that can be any exercise that requires pointing the toes (calves), using the hamstrings, or even bending over (abs)! With exercise-induced cramping, it should subside as your body builds a tolerance for these particular workouts, or even after a simple warm up. If you’ve ruled out exercise and/or hydration and experience the aforementioned symptoms on a recurring basis, you may want to look into getting your magnesium levels checked.
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email [email protected] She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.