Feel Fatigued? You Might Need More Of This Critical Mineral
There are a number of reasons you might be feeling fatigued lately—poor sleep, stress, an active toddler perhaps? But one sneaky culprit behind fatigue you may not have considered is a mineral deficiency. Namely, not getting enough magnesium is associated with a host of undesirable side effects. Here's what to know.
How a magnesium deficiency can contribute to fatigue.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps keep our bodies functioning at their best, and when you aren't getting enough of it, you'll definitely notice a difference (even if you don't realize it's the lack of magnesium behind your symptoms).
As registered dietitian nutritionist, Natalie Butler, RDN, L.D., previously wrote for mindbodygreen, fatigue and exhaustion are generalized symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. "You may attribute your tiredness to stress, poor sleep, or a host of other reasons and not realize just how much nutrition is playing a role," she says, adding, "This is because magnesium is required for the production of energy. If the body has inadequate access to magnesium, then energy production suffers, leaving you prone to fatigue."
Not to mention, magnesium also plays an essential role in managing the body's normal inflammatory response. "When magnesium intake is low, inflammatory biomarkers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6, and fibrinogen1 are significantly affected," Butler notes.
To that end, chronic inflammation is associated with fatigue as well, furthering the importance of making sure your magnesium levels are adequate to keep both inflammation and fatigue in check.
What to do about it.
If you think you could be deficient in magnesium, the only way to know for sure is to test your levels with either a blood or urine sample.
But as Butler explains, "While you'll need formal testing to know if you're clinically deficient, you can also add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet or try a magnesium supplement to see if your symptoms improve." After all, she notes, research on chronic fatigue syndrome2 has indicated that magnesium actually provides nutritional support to combat fatigue.
Here's a quick list of some magnesium-rich foods to get you started:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Nuts & seeds
- Dark chocolate
Taking a high-quality magnesium supplement can also help ensure that your magnesium needs are met. Here are the main types of magnesium supplements you'll find, and 14 high-quality options currently on shelves.
Fatigue is certainly no fun, especially when you can't figure out why you're feeling exhausted. If that sounds all too familiar, including more magnesium in your routine could be the missing link you're looking for.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.