Magnesium calms the nervous system and helps to transmit messages through it. No wonder then that numerous studies have connected magnesium with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Children with ADHD have lower magnesium levels than the average child. Getting magnesium supplements eases hyperactive behavior and increases focus and attention. People with attention-deficit have differences in their metabolism and therefore require supplements to help alleviate this magnesium deficit.
ADHD is a complex set of conditions that are still not well understood. Magnesium is one link in this story. With magnesium, there is something of the chicken and the egg dilemma. Do lower magnesium levels cause the ADHD behavior, or does the ADHD cause the lower magnesium level.
Whichever it is, the fact remains that with the right amount of magnesium in the body, people with ADHD can think clearer and concentrate better.
Magnesium relaxes the mind and the body. In the body, magnesium is necessary for the relaxation of muscle fibers and nerves and so helps muscles relax and function well. A calm body helps a hyperactive person to feel calm. Feelings of unease cause children to become fidgety, one of the key characteristics of a hyperactive child.
In fact, being anxious is one of the 100 or more causes of ADHD-like behavior and a calm body helps the hyperactive child to have a calm mind as well. Magnesium helps calm the mind in many ways, one of which is the role it plays in the production of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that gives a feeling of calm and well-being. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, moodiness, and irritability.
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Hyperactivity, inattention, aggressive behavior, and sleep problems are associated with low magnesium levels. Low magnesium levels have also been shown to cause reduced blood flow to the brain. This is a pattern frequently seen in brain scans of people with ADHD.
For ADD and ADHD, magnesium should be taken together with vitamin B-6. Zinc is also usually low in hyperactive people, and a supplement like the product ZMA from NOW is ideal as it contains these elements and vitamins in the right quantities for attention deficit and hyperactivity and is designed to maximize absorption. It is a synergistic combination of zinc and magnesium with vitamin B6 without sugar, yeast, gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish, or preservatives.
For treating ADD and ADHD the recommended doses vary but is in the region of:
Magnesium: 3 mg to 6 mg per pound bodyweight and day.
Vitamin B-6: 0.3 mg per pound bodyweight and day.
You can experiment, starting with these dosages, as your need is very individual depending on your metabolism. There is no risk of overdosing on vitamin B6 at this level of dosage in healthy people. (See !!! NOTE below on magnesium overdosage.)
Other Health Benefits from Magnesium
Research shows that magnesium plays a preventive role in hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as a positive effect in the treatment of diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.
Our bodies use magnesium to make body tissues, especially bone. The majority of the magnesium in the body is in the bones muscles and soft tissues. It is a crucial part of the bones and teeth. Magnesium binds the calcium in the teeth to make teeth more resistant to cavities.
This essential mineral plays a role in the functioning of muscle and the nervous system, activates over 300 enzymes, and helps calcium and potassium uptake, aiding many biosynthetic processes as well as being needed for maintaining cell membranes and connective tissue.
Magnesium is also required to maintain an adequate supply of nucleotides required for DNA and RNA synthesis. There are hundreds of metabolic reactions and hundreds of enzyme systems that rely on magnesium. Learn more about RNA by clicking here.
Every cell in your body needs magnesium to produce energy. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the main energy transfer molecule in the cell’s energy production, which forms a complex with magnesium, where magnesium stabilizes the phosphates in the ATP molecule.
Bananas and avocados are good sources of magnesium as are many dark green vegetables (magnesium is part of the green pigment in plants), spinach is especially rich in magnesium, whole wheat bread, sunflower seeds, nuts (even chunky peanut butter), beans, and grains.
Recommended Daily Intake for Magnesium:
Men: 420 mg
Women: 320 mg
Pregnant Women: 350 – 400 mg
Nursing Women: 320 – 350 mg
Of course, there are dozens of other health benefits that come with getting plenty of magnesium, and here are just a few examples:
- Magnesium is essential in regulating blood sugar, preventing highs and lows.
- Magnesium helps to absorb and utilize other important minerals and nutrients.
- Magnesium activates enzymes that manage energy production, nutrient absorption and hormone production.
- Magnesium is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from damage by free radicals.
- All of these factors improve our overall health and help manage conditions like attention deficit and hyperactivity.
!!! NOTE on magnesium overdosage:
For most healthy people large doses of magnesium appear safe, so magnesium from food and a reasonable addition of supplement will not lead to an overdose. The first sign of taking too much magnesium is the laxative effect. Many laxative products contain magnesium compounds for this effect.
Stimulant medication taken for ADHD increases the absorption of magnesium, therefore if you do take this medication be aware of this effect.
A deficiency in magnesium is less pleasant, it results in nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, irritability, depression, loss of appetite, cramps, abnormal heart rhythm, and in women increased premenstrual stress.
!!! NOTE If you have kidney problems:
You should not take magnesium supplements. Your doctor should prescribe medication to counter magnesium deficiency. Although people with kidney disorders may have low magnesium levels, they risk complications from a high magnesium intake and should use medication instead of supplements.