For all of the reasons we need magnesium as adults, children need it too. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes in the body relating to energy and the nervous system, the development of bones, the functioning of muscles, and more!
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY IN KIDS
The symptoms of deficiency in kids are what we see in adults. Kids who don’t get enough magnesium are:
- irritable, anxious, stressed, moody
- sleeping poorly, frequently tired
- complaining of cramps or growing pains
- hyperactive, unable to focus or relax
As parents, I know we’re particularly attuned to issues around hyperactivity and sleep.
In a study of magnesium-deficient children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), those who boosted their intake through supplements showed a marked improvement in behaviour.
As for sleep, there’s a reason we call it Natural Calm. Magnesium soothes the central nervous system and acts as a sedative. It helps us fall asleep and stay asleep longer, waking more rested and better able to learn and cope with daily stress.
Children’s sleep can be disturbed by what are commonly known as ‘growing pains’. These deep pangs, typically in the legs, are thought to be caused by a deficiency in magnesium.
Kids, too, can be disturbed by nighttime twitching and jerking – either restless leg syndrome or the more common jolts associated with dreams of falling. For little people, these disturbances can be especially disruptive because they don’t always know how to get back to sleep.
WHY CHILDREN MAY NEED A MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENT
So, why might your kids be deficient in magnesium?
It’s tough to get enough through diet, even for the most flexible eaters, and most kids aren’t huge fans of beans, dark, leafy greens and fish – some of the best sources.
What’s more, if they eat a lot of sugar, processed foods or animal proteins, they’ll quickly deplete what magnesium they do ingest. These foods create an acidic environment in the body and magnesium is drawn from existing supplies to restore an alkaline balance.
Your first step should always be to address deficiencies in diet. Seeds and nuts are excellent sources, and given the chance, kids can love the rich, crunchy flavours. Try pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts and dry roasted soybeans (‘soy nuts’). If you’re talented – or persistent – you might succeed in creating little addicts of legumes and greens, too.
Not sure how much dietary magnesium your kids are getting? Unclear on how much of a gap they need to fill?
A number of diet apps (e.g. Nutrition Journal for iphone) will calculate your intake of nutrients from a record of what you’ve eaten. Just enter your meals, snacks and drinks, and these apps will churn out a calculation of where you’re meeting your needs for minerals (as well as vitamins, calories, protein, fibre and more) and where you’re off-track. It can be really eye-opening!
You can also simply look at symptoms. If your child demonstrates any of the above symptoms of magnesium deficiency, chances are they need more.
HOW TO SUPPLEMENT MAGNESIUM WITH KIDS
Magnesium supplementation is often needed, and we’re regularly asked how to use our products with children of all ages.
The focus will be on ‘how to’, and believe me, they won’t be holding their noses! No spoonful of sugar to make the magnesium go down.
In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions or success stories about kids and magnesium.