Could your child be low in magnesium? When it comes to magnesium for kids, there are so many benefits – particularly for their sleep and mood. But when magnesium levels are low, symptoms can start to pop up.
If you’ve ever been curious about why magnesium is so important for kids health or how to get more magnesium into the diet, you’ve come to the right place.
Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more about the benefits of magnesium for kids.
Why is magnesium critical for healthy, happy kids?
Magnesium is needed for over 300 chemical reactions in the body. This affects countless functions and systems, including:
- Muscle function
- Nerve function
- Blood sugar regulation
- The production of energy in the cells
- Protein synthesis
- DNA & RNA synthesis
- Bone growth and development
When it comes to magnesium for kids, it is particularly important for supporting mood and sleep. They need magnesium for a balanced mood, a deep sleep and the ongoing growth and development that occurs throughout the body.
Unfortunately, low magnesium is common in kids. The average child’s diet is low in magnesium, and their bodies use more due to growth and development. This can lead to a range of health issues.
Some of the health concerns associated with low magnesium include:
- ADHD and autism – studies have shown low magnesium levels in ADHD and autism are common
- Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
- Weight issues and obesity – this is due to the effect on blood glucose and insulin levels
The signs and symptoms of low magnesium
So how do you know if your child might have low magnesium? One clue we look for when it comes to magnesium for kids is the correlating signs and symptoms.
Common symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Constipation – we often forget that the bowel is a muscle that needs to contract and relax!
- Twitching muscles
- Eye twitch
- Growing pains
- Sleep issues
- Grinding teeth
- Sensitivity to noise
As with any set of symptoms, low magnesium isn’t the only cause. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional who can help you identify the root cause.
The benefits of magnesium for kids (and adults!)
Magnesium and mood
You’ll often hear magnesium being referred to as the calming or relaxing mineral. This is because it has an overall calming effect on the nervous system. So when our kids are wound up, hyperactive or irritable, it can help relieve the symptoms.
Magnesium also promotes GABA. GABA is an important brain chemical that also calms the nervous system. When GABA is low, our kids might experience agitation, irritability, anxiety, poor attention and aggression.
So if any of these sound familiar, your child may benefit from more magnesium.
Magnesium and sleep
Low magnesium is associated with several sleep issues. Restless sleep, restless leg syndrome, frequent waking and difficulty getting to sleep can all be due to low magnesium.
GABA is also important for promoting a restful sleep. So this may be part of magnesium’s role in supporting sleep.
Studies support magnesium as a tool to improve sleep. Research has found that magnesium supplements can improve sleep quality and duration. This is an important finding, as sleep is not just about how many hours we sleep. The quality is just as important, as deep sleep allows the body to perform many essential processes that reset and repair.
Of course, sleep is a complex process. Magnesium isn’t the answer to every sleep problem, but it will often help!
Magnesium and stress support
Another function of magnesium is supporting the stress response. We need more magnesium when we are under stress. But when our stress levels are high, we excrete more magnesium!
This leaves us with a gap that is often hard to fill with food alone. If you experience a prolonged period of stress, a magnesium supplement may be required.
Think that your child isn’t stressed? Many of the things we take as part of life can be stressful for kids. Moving house, changing schools and simply growing up can be big stressors! If you want your kids to cope effectively with stress, you want them getting plenty of magnesium.
Magnesium and hormone balance
This is one area where magnesium is just as essential for us mums! It’s particularly useful for women over 40, as it promotes progesterone, supports oestrogen detoxification, and calms the nervous system and muscles.
How to include more magnesium for kids
Wondering how to boost up your child’s magnesium intake? There are two main ways to increase magnesium for kids – through the diet and through supplements.
Magnesium in the diet
Magnesium is found in a range of wholefoods, including:
- Nuts and seeds
- Green veggies such as avocado, spinach and broccoli
- Wholegrains such as buckwheat, spelt, rye and brown rice
- Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils
- Dark chocolate (my favourite!)
However, it is difficult to get enough through the diet alone. This is a combination of higher stress levels and depleted soils. Modern farming techniques don’t replenish the soils, so the magnesium levels are lower even in the wholefoods that contain it.
In many cases, trying to get magnesium through the diet alone can still lead to low levels.
For many, a supplement can be a way to bridge the gap between the intake and the body’s needs.
But choosing a supplement can be overwhelming! There are a lot of magnesium options out there – pills, capsules, powders, creams and oils, all with different forms of magnesium.
One tip is to look out for a well-absorbed form. Our top pick is magnesium bisglycinate – it is easy to absorb and often has fewer side effects for the tummy.
The therapeutic dose of magnesium for kids depends on their age and need. However, it usually falls between 100mg-300mg elemental magnesium.
What about topical magnesium?
Mums often ask us about magnesium oil, spray or flakes as a topical option. You might be wondering if topical magnesium is effective for boosting your child’s levels.
The truth is – yes, you can absorb magnesium through the skin. For some, this might be enough of a boost to correct the issue. But it is not comparable to an internal dose for achieving a therapeutic dose.
Can you still use magnesium spray or Epsom salt baths with your kids? Absolutely! But it is only one piece of the magnesium puzzle.
If you’re unsure whether your child is getting enough magnesium, your best bet is to work with an experienced nutritionist or naturopath who can advise you.
Are you concerned that your child isn’t getting enough magnesium?
It’s always a good idea to get professional support to determine and correct any nutrient deficiencies in children.
That’s why we offer online consultations to support you in a convenient way. To check out the details and book in, click here.