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Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.

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podcast

Magnesium—Nutrient Deficiencies found in Children with Symptoms of ADHD (Part 4)

Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium and can help with magnesium deficiencies and ADHD

Magnesium is another mineral that is more frequently found to be deficient in children with symptoms of ADHD than in healthy children.1 In particular, studies have found magnesium deficiencies in children with hyperactivity, distractibility, and disruptive behaviour.2 Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to decrease hyperactivity, in particular, in children with ADHD.3 

A deficiency in magnesium has also been shown to induce anxiety, which often accompanies the symptoms of ADHD.4Supplementing with magnesium reduces the symptoms of anxiety and stress.5

Understanding the role of magnesium in the body, what causes its deficiency, and how to correct the deficiency is essential to helping our children with ADHD thrive.

in a nutshell
  • Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions that regulate many biochemical reactions throughout the body.
  • Magnesium deficiency is easy to detect with a blood test.
  • Magnesium deficiency can occur for a number of reasons.
  • Correcting a magnesium deficiency can be done by making a few diet and supplementation changes.
  • High blood sugar levels will deplete magnesium in the body.

What nutrients are often found to be deficient in our children

Through this seven part series we will discuss the science behind these nutrient deficiencies and what steps you can take to correct them. Key nutrients that have been found to be deficient in children with ADHD symptoms include vitamin D, essential fatty acids (EFAs), and minerals including selenium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.

It is important to understand the function of these nutrients in the body, how to identify deficiency and why the deficiency may have developed, and how to address the deficiency.  

Keep in mind an entire book could and have been written about each of these nutrients, so these articles will stick to the highlights to give you the best overview.

The importance and role of magnesium in the body

Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic activities that regulate many biochemical reactions throughout the body.

It plays a role in healthy blood sugar management and assists in the production of energy and protein in the body.

Magnesium is also Involved in maintaining healthy neuromuscular function, supports the immune system, plays a role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate, and is an osmotic laxative.

Due to the wide range of activities in the body, it’s clear that appropriate magnesium levels are required to support overall health in everyone.

How do you know if your child is magnesium-deficient?

There are many potential signs and symptoms of an magnesium deficiency:

  • Sighing
  • Salt cravings
  • Constipation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • “Growing pains”
  • Muscle cramps (often in the legs)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Asthma

A magnesium deficiency is easy to confirm. Ask your health practitioner to order a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test. This simple blood test will help determine the need for supplementation.

Reasons why so many children have a magnesium deficiency

There are many reasons why some children are at higher risk for a magnesium deficiency. Here are a few main reasons:

  • Poor digestion. Your child may already be eating a diet high in magnesium, but if they are not cleaving the mineral and absorbing it appropriately, they may still be deficient. Check out this article on how to support digestion.
  • Eating a diet low in magnesium-containing foods.
  • Eating a diet high in processed foods (which are devoid of nutrients as the result of processing).
  • Lower levels of minerals in general in the food supply due to depletion of the soil. Consuming organic foods from farms that replenish the soil can help to increase the nutrient status of foods.
  • An exaggerated need for magnesium in order to manage blood sugar levels due to high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates in the diet. It takes 26 molecules of magnesium to process one molecule of sugar.

Simple steps you can take now to correct magnesium deficiencies

  1. Encourage your child to eat a diet high in magnesium. Foods high in magnesium include pumpkin seeds, dark green vegetables, legumes, fish, and nuts. Pair high-magnesium foods with foods containing vitamin C to increase absorption. Where possible consume foods from organic sources to ensure the highest nutrient content as possible.
  2. Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your child’s diet.
  3. Minimize sugar intake.
  4. Support digestion to ensure maximum absorption. See this article on how to identify and correct digestive challenges.
  5. Consider supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium citrate is most commonly used as it is easily absorbed and also aids in constipation, which many of our children suffer from. Other forms often recommended by practitioners include magnesium malate, magnesium L-threonate, and magnesium glycinate. Magnesium sulphate (found in Epsom salts) is best absorbed through the skin in a bath and will also aid in detoxification. One of the best ways to supplement is with magnesium oil applied to the bottom of the feet at night before bed.

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Articles Related to Magnesium- Nutrient Deficiencies found in Children with Symptoms of ADHD (Part 4)

Vitamin D – Nutrient deficiencies in children with symptoms of ADHD (Part 1)

Essential fatty acids — Nutrient deficiencies in children with symptoms of ADHD (Part 2)

Iron – Nutrient deficiencies found in children with symptoms of ADHD (Part 3)

Zinc – Nutrient deficiencies found in children with symptoms of ADHD (Part 5)

 

References/Sources

  1. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  2. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  3. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  4. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment
  5. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review

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