Why Magnesium Levels Decline With Age & What To Do About It?

ABSTRACT

Magnesium is a vital mineral or an electrolyte that plays numerous essential roles in the human body. It is to be consumed in the diet as the body cannot produce it. Aging has a great impact on this essential electrolyte. In this article, we will be all learning about the relation between magnesium and aging and measures to correct magnesium deficiency. The deficiency of Magnesium is also termed as Hypomagnesemia.

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INTRODUCTION

As per the studies, more of the magnesium is stored in the bones, and the remaining is present in the blood. More than 300 enzyme reactions carrying out in the body are brought about by the magnesium. It also has other major roles like maintaining the health of nerves and muscles, regulates blood pressure, helps in the synthesis of the main constituent of the organism that is DNA and RNA, and helps in the production of energy in the cells of the body. Now, as all these phenomena are very important to be in balance for any human body function properly and magnesium deficiency can bring many problems along with it which must be corrected timely to prevent any further complications. The body requires minerals in two forms: trace or a large amount of it. Similarly, our body requires a good amount of magnesium. It is a macromineral that means the mineral is required in a higher amount as compared to the trace one for the body in order to function it smoothly. It helps the body to carry out various chemical reactions. Magnesium helps in managing blood pressure, blood sugar, transportation of the nutrients, enhances immunity, and smoothen the nerve and muscle transmission.

Nowadays magnesium deficiency is more common as compared to previous times as today the vegetables are grown with the mono-cropping concept which does not allow vegetables to take up a good amount of minerals from the soil. Also, the water you drink is much filtered that gives only very little minerals to you, unlike older days when the water was of natural springs that were full of natural minerals.

Aging is a natural phenomenon that slows down everything and physiological degeneration starts at many places. Similarly, in the case of magnesium there occurs decreased absorption and storage and increased excretion through urine. The only a diet is not enough for fulfilling the magnesium needs, hence extra supplements are required. With progressing age, there is seeing a decline of appetite, which eventually affects the level of magnesium in the body. Aging causes many significant changes in the body that lead to a deficiency of magnesium. The main three reasons due to which magnesium level goes down with aging are reduction in storage of magnesium in bones, decreased absorption of nutrients and minerals in the intestines, and increased loss of magnesium in urine. Certain drugs also result in depletion of magnesium like diuretics, antibiotics, drugs used to treat osteoporosis, and proton pump inhibitors. These things cause increased requirements of magnesium in elderly people. All the mentioned reasons tend to bring the magnesium level to borderline or deficient. As with aging the magnesium levels deplete there occur many pathological changes in the body like cardiac troubles, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and dysrhythmias. As magnesium prevents the calcification leading to pathologies and its deficiency leads to calcium stone formation in the body. Hypomagnesemia can prove to be fatal in some cases if not treated timely.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

When there is a deficiency of Magnesium, the body shows some signs and symptoms, ranging from mild to severe:

  • Feeling of exhaustion and weakness
  • Tremors and twitches especially in the muscles of the face
  • Frequent headaches
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Continuous ringing sound in ears
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic feeling of fatigue
  • Depression
  • Nauseous feeling and vomiting
  • Sudden changes in the personality
  • Constipation
  • Contractions of muscles
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Abnormality in the heart rhythm

Now as we come to know the value of magnesium in our body, we know that this deficiency, especially in the elderly must be corrected in order to prevent any complications. There are certain means to correct this deficiency of magnesium in a person and including in the diet is one of them. However, with increasing age, there occurs, a decrease in the physical activity that eventually leads to a low appetite. Also, the foods which are rich in magnesium like legumes are difficult to digest in elderly and aging persons, hence avoided by them. However, there are two main ways that can help in correcting this deficiency, that is diet and supplements.

Diet- Aging people should include magnesium-rich food in their diet like nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, cereals, yogurts, and milk. All these things should be added by the one who is suffering from magnesium deficiency. As discussed that some of these things are avoided by aging people due to difficulty in digestion, in that case, decrease the quantity but do not completely abandon them.

Supplement- Even after including most of the magnesium-rich things in the diet, it might not be sufficient to fulfill the deficiency just with diet due to high requirement and less storage. Hence, additional food supplements are required of magnesium to be added to these dietary changes. Magnesium supplements are cheaply and easily available in the market. However, before taking any supplement must consult your physician regarding it to check for the dosage and to prevent any interaction with your ongoing medications for other health issues. High doses of magnesium can result in toxicity which is very rare, but should be always kept in mind and dosage must be followed as per the physician’s advice.

CONCLUSION

Aging brings with it many unwanted changes in the body and magnesium deficiency is one of them. Aging is inevitable, however the magnesium deficiency can be corrected by following the right guidelines. Magnesium deficiency might not be life-threatening, but the eventual complications caused due to leaving it untreated can be dangerous. Hence, timely diagnosis and correct measures to correct it must be taken to live a healthy life.