Article published by : Max Health on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Category : Diet & Nutrition

Older Adults Found Deficient in Magnesium, Leading to Insomnia, Osteoporosis, Leg Cramps and Diabetes

A recent Gallup Poll survey reported that magnesium consumption decreases as we age, with 79% of adults 55 and over reportedly eating below the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium. In addition, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) fact sheet says that older adults are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency due to their decreased ability to absorb the mineral. The diseases to which the elderly are vulnerable, and some of the drugs used in therapy, also contribute to magnesium loss.

Richard Rivlin, M.D., Chief of the Nutrition Division at New York Hospital says: "A potential magnesium deficiency is a matter of concern for many individuals of all ages, but for the elderly, it could be particularly serious. The prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and even leg cramps increases dramatically among older persons, and these are all health conditions in which magnesium deficiency has been found."


Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated the dietary intake of specific nutrients for more than 85,000 women and 42,000 men, in data supplied over 18 years for the women and over 12 years for the men. They found that the men and women whose diets included the largest amounts of magnesium were the least likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Most of the participants in the study consumed magnesium through foods, such as whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Other good sources of magnesium include black beans, pumpkin seeds, spinach, halibut and cooked whole grain cereal.


A lack of magnesium is also associated with osteoporosis. Bone health is supported by many factors, most notably calcium and vitamin D. However, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. This may be due to the fact that magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium. In one study of older adults from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a greater magnesium intake maintained bone mineral density to a higher degree than a lower intake did.

Insomnia Remedy

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that a majority of older adults (67%) report having frequent sleep problems. This translates to 37 million older adults in the U.S. having some form of insomnia. Particularly for older people, a possible underlying nutritional cause of insomnia may be a deficiency of certain minerals. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: "A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep."

Chronic insomnia is one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Sleep with magnesium deficiency is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was shown in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

Types of Magnesium

Some forms of magnesium are more digestible than others - an important factor because our digestive enzymes and our ability to absorb nutrients lessen with age. One example is magnesium citrate -- a unique form of magnesium in which the magnesium is bonded with citric acid to make it more absorbable. Citric acid is a natural acid that is found fruits such as lemons and limes.

Supplements with Magnesium

The combination of minerals included in a supplement and the presence of vitamin cofactors (such as calcium and vitamin D) are key. Formulas should contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews. In addition, softgels made with natural carrier oils allow the minerals to be better absorbed than with tablets or capsules.

One formula that has these qualities and is gaining in popularity is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale California. Sleep Minerals II contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless legs syndrome, bone strength and menopause insomnia. The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making it quickly absorbable and allowing it to provide a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Valerie H. of Santa Clarita, California says: "I had such severe menopause insomnia it took me hours to fall asleep even though I was extremely tired. My legs also had crawling and tingling feelings at night. I got the Sleep Minerals and after a few days, it started to work really well. I fall asleep now within 20 minutes and no more restless legs."

Dr. Rivlin sums up the Gallup Poll survey results by saying: "It is clear that consumers are largely unaware of the role of magnesium -- a nutrient that is essential for the function of other minerals like calcium."

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit


By: Max Health

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