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How do you get enough magnesium from food?

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  • How do you get enough magnesium from food?

    I have three helpings of greens a day, plenty of meat and fish... and I'm starting to get occasional little cramps in my calf muscles when I wake up in the morning. Looking at nutritiondata.com, I'm not surprised: 1 mackerel fillet, 21% of daily requirement of magnesium. 1 cup raw spinach, 6%. 1 slice beef liver, 4%, 1tbsp almond butter 12%... and so on. Getting to 100% isn't easy.

    How to get enough without supplements? Is there a magic food I'm missing, or something that increases absorption so you need less magnesium in the diet?

  • #2
    Almonds and avocados.
    ...how do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

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    • #3
      I can eat those . Don't want to go mad on the almonds, though, because of the omega 6 and general ease of stuffing myself on too many calories.

      I suppose in my normal day's food I'd get lots of little contributions that might just about add up to enough... except that judging from the incipient cramping, it doesn't. Let me rephrase the question - what can I sensibly eat more of?

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      • #4
        I thought avocados were higher in potassium; I've recently started using lots of tomato puree, but that's for potassium.

        Pumpkin seeds have lots of magnesium I believe.

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        • #5
          Tea.
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          • #6
            Grok would have gotten a decent portion of his magnesium from his drinking water and from what I have read it is more bioavailable than that found in food sources. Also, in the absence of mineral inhibitors (grains, etc) I don't think our requirements are as high as the general population. I live in a hard water area so simply drinking 2 liters of tap water a day provides a healthy portion of my calcium and magnesium. Some European sourced mineral waters provide over 100% of the daily calcium requirement and 82% of magnesium per 2 liters. Interesting study here:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495189/
            Last edited by JEL62; 10-13-2010, 02:02 PM.

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            • #7
              I eat avocados and almonds every day.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hilary View Post
                I have three helpings of greens a day, plenty of meat and fish... and I'm starting to get occasional little cramps in my calf muscles when I wake up in the morning. Looking at nutritiondata.com, I'm not surprised: 1 mackerel fillet, 21% of daily requirement of magnesium. 1 cup raw spinach, 6%. 1 slice beef liver, 4%, 1tbsp almond butter 12%... and so on. Getting to 100% isn't easy.

                How to get enough without supplements? Is there a magic food I'm missing, or something that increases absorption so you need less magnesium in the diet?
                More fish. No dairy. A looooot more potassium. (ETA: organ meats don't appear to be a great source)

                from nutritiondata.self.com
                100g (approx 3.5 oz)
                Mollusks, snail, raw Magnesium: 250mg
                Mollusks, conch, baked or broiled Magnesium: 238mg
                Candies, chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids Magnesium: 228mg

                To simplify (or oversimplify - lol). Calcium(Ca) and sodium(Na) are contractors. Magnesium(Mg) and potassium (K) are relaxers. So consider those ratios when assessing. When the ratios are out of whack with too much sodium (common) and too much calcium (common) we can have symptoms of Mg or K deficiency/insufficiency even when there is not a frank deficiency. I'd venture a guess that stabby and maybe a handful of folks here are getting appropriate kcal:na:k ratios - see my docs below for a very rough outline of some basic kcal:na:K information. Krispin.com/potassium also has some good information.

                Fish and organ meats are the best options for more magnesium and whomever mentioned water was correct. At one point, mineral rich water was an important source of magnesium - and still is in some places.

                Based on syptoms, I take 375-1000 mg (usually toward the lower end) of Jigsaw Health's Magnesium dimalate (time released formulations) as it's the only one i can tolerate *at the doses I need* without intestinal symptoms. I can't take even minute amounts of mg citrate - even 100 mg will trigger water-like stools for me. Some here use topical mg oil (mag chloride in distilled water) which is cheap, easy and is a great workaround for those who have problems with the oral route. I've yet to run across anyone who has problems with Jigsaw's magnesium though I'm sure eventually I will

                Here here are my bookmarked links for magnesium most of them are from this forum, a few are from other sources. It's worth taking the time to read.

                Originally posted by Hilary View Post
                I can eat those . Don't want to go mad on the almonds, though, because of the omega 6 and general ease of stuffing myself on too many calories.
                +1 While nuts can make a good mg donation, eating more of them isn't the answer.

                Originally posted by JEL62 View Post
                Grok would have gotten a decent portion of his magnesium from his drinking water, which from what I have read is also more bioavailable than that found in food sources. Also remember that in the absence of mineral inhibitors (grains, etc) our requirements are not as high as the general population.
                Muscle cramps are *such* a huge problem with folks here that it seems to be almost a given that the majority will need Mg supplements. One of the docs here, a neurologist (jturk?) had some interesting theories. Those posts might be bookmarked in my Mg info. While I've often had a problem with muscle tension that has been relieved by supplemental magnesium, never in my life had I had experienced a muscle cramp until going 'primal'. I started supp'ing mg again at around 500 mg per day in divided doses. In either August or September it was still so bad that I was waking up many times per night on the verge of a muscle cramp. (I wake before it happens...just as it's beginning and I can still stop it). I had to up my supplementation to 1000mg for 3 days to get it to stop, it did and now I'm back down to 3-5 125 mg tabs of mg dimalate.

                Hope this is helpful.

                Katherine
                Last edited by cillakat; 10-13-2010, 02:17 PM.



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                • #9
                  Brilliant links, thank you; I will read. I hadn't found that nutrient search at nutritiondata - it'll save loads of time.

                  Why 'no dairy'? Is the idea that you reduce calcium and hence the need for magnesium?

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                  • #10
                    Katherine,

                    I've been getting muscle cramps too. I don't eat red meat or pork, so my protein comes from chicken, turkey, and fish. I do eat some Greek yogurt and cheese. Almonds and other nuts and seeds are an every day thing (plus tons of veggies of course). My 20% is red wine and dark chocolate.

                    If you don't mind, can you give me an idea of how many of the supplements I listed below I should be taking? I just got them. Also, when? I already take a multi that has vit D 1000 IU (doesn't say it's D3 though), magnesium 50 mg, zinc 15mg, and no potassium unfortunately. I also take fish oil supps.

                    potassium (99mg each)
                    magnesium (400mg each)
                    zinc (50mg each)
                    vitamin D3 (1000 IU each)

                    Thank you in advance! You seem to be a wealth of information and I greatly appreciate your help!

                    --Nuna

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                    • #11
                      Pumpkin seeds, yummy. 1 serving of the eden organics brand say 50% of daily mag.

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                      • #12
                        From what I been reading a deficiency in magnesium and other nutrients can be one of the causes for anxiety.

                        Balance diet is A good way to go,it works for me.Not alot of process food.

                        foods rich in magnesium—whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, fish, avocados, and leafy green vegetables .

                        Importance of Magnesium in Diet

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                        • #13
                          I can't seem to get enough magnesium without supplementation, and I have played around with my diet a bit to make it happen.
                          Karin

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                          • #14
                            This thread is relevant to my interests too. I'm about 7 weeks Primal and this last week, I have been woken up twice in the middle of the night with foot cramping.

                            I've cut way back on my banana intake because of the carbs, but might try adding back in 1/2 a day. I do have a calcium/magnesium supplement (which I keep forgetting to take), but I'm not sure that this is the right combination, or the right type of magnesium either. I can certainly up my dark chocolate intake if that helps
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                            • #15
                              I started experiencing cramps while exercising for the first time in my life when I went strict Paleo. I agree with the above posters that the water Grok drank was much more mineralized (and the Drs Eade bring this up in Protein Power Lifeplan). So I use ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops in all my water. I actually like the taste, and cramps are a thing of the past.

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