Magnesium deficiencies are increasingly common in the United States and a deficiency in this key mineral can affect your brain health leading to depression; it can also affect your muscles. You may struggle with twitching muscles and muscle cramps, but the most important muscle in your body, your heart, can also be affected. Magnesium deficiency is linked to heart disease and other cardiac problems.
The biggest reason Americans do not get enough magnesium is that the American diet is largely deficient in this important mineral. Fast food as a class is an extremely poor source of magnesium. There is virtually no magnesium in white flour, one of the staples of the fast food industry. Magnesium is most abundant in leafy greens. A problem with leafy greens, is that they are actually lower in magnesium today then they were 50 years ago. Since scientists studied food and its magnesium content in the 1950s and we have on record the magnesium content of food in that time. Scientists today can examine magnesium content of the same food and compare it to the content of the food from 50 years ago. Magnesium in produce has declined significantly. In the 1950s as Caesar salad would have given you far more magnesium than it does today.
A second major source of magnesium in our diet would be whole grains. Most of us do not eat whole grains. We rely on white bread and other refined flour products for the grain in our diet. White flour has virtually no magnesium. A complicating factor with whole grain flour such as whole wheat is that it actually has an ingredient that inhibits your digestion of magnesium, a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals in your digestive tract and keeps you from absorbing those minerals. Kitchen preparation techniques such as sourdough baking actually break down the phytic acid and allow you to absorb more magnesium. However most of us no longer bake in our own kitchens and sourdough baking is relatively uncommon.
If you do not have enough magnesium in your diet (and that is very likely), your best solution is to begin taking a magnesium supplement. Any magnesium supplements will improve your magnesium levels. The least expensive form of magnesium is magnesium oxide and it will help you. However if you have the funds consider a more highly absorbed form of magnesium like the chelated magnesium products such as magnesium taurate. Your magnesium status will improve that much faster. Your brain health may improve, your muscles may stop twitching, and your heart may think you for it.