We talk a lot about magnesium and how common magnesium deficiency is here on the blog. Usually, we focus on adults but did you know that kids can be affected by magnesium deficiency too?
Many of the symptoms you should watch for in adults (click here to learn more) are the same in children but they can be harder to spot in kids depending on their age, ability to communicate and their stage of development.
Sometimes we attribute nutrient deficiency symptoms to teething, adapting to new environments or growing pains. Sometimes what you’re seeing may be a combination of things.
Here’s how you can figure out if your child is getting enough magnesium and what to do about it if they’re not.
Signs of magnesium deficiency in children…
When children don’t have enough magnesium in their systems, they experience many of the same symptoms as adults.
Difficulty sleeping, muscle twitches and spasms, constipation and irritability are all potential symptoms you might see in a child that needs more magnesium.
According to a study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, posted on PubMed.gov , magnesium can help children prevent and cope with mental illness too: “ The study shows an association between higher dietary Mg intake and reduced externalising behaviour problems in adolescents.” These problems include anxiety, depression, ADD and ADHD.
In addition to putting a stop to these deficiency symptoms, getting enough magnesium can benefit your child’s body and overall health in a number of ways. Click here for a list of the top 10 benefits of magnesium.
Getting enough magnesium is important. Long-term magnesium deficiency is linked to diabetes, kidney stones, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and restless legs syndrome.
How can you tell if these symptoms are related to nutrient deficiency and not a growth and development factor? Well, you could start by considering their diet.
To be honest, it’s difficult to get enough magnesium from food to begin with. If your child isn’t eating enough magnesium-rich foods, you can be pretty sure that they need a boost of this important nutrient.
Some experts suggest keeping a record of what your child eats in a day and then measure the amount of magnesium in their diet based on your notes.
The recommended daily dosage for magnesium in children varies depending on their age. The National Institutes of Health recommends the following amounts:
Birth to 6 months = 30 mg
7-12 months = 75 mg
1-3 years = 80 mg
4-8 years = 130 mg
9-13 years = 240 mg
14-18 years = 360 mg for girls and 410 mg for boys
Children can be very picky eaters, especially through the toddler years. This can make getting magnesium-rich foods into their diet somewhat tricky.
How to get magnesium into your kid…
You have some options…
If you are dealing with a picky eater, try incorporating magnesium-rich foods into meals they enjoy.
Smoothies are one very easy way to deliver magnesium in a delicious form. Spinach is high in magnesium, and will easily blend into a fruit smoothie, where they won’t even taste it! Avocados and bananas can also be added to smoothies for more magnesium if your child is fond of those.
One of the best ways to add magnesium to a smoothie is with pumpkin seed oil or pumpkin seed butter. Pumpkin butter is also great on toast with jam.
Healthaliciousness.com notes that: “High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and more.”
The problem can be that absorbing the magnesium in your food isn’t always easy for your body, or your child’s, so they still don’t get enough.
Another option is using Epsom salts. Pouring the salts into your child’s bath or using a bath bomb that contains Epsom salts will allow them to absorb magnesium through their skin.
Again, this will help, but the magnesium in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is not the most bioavailable form. The amount that you get from Epsom salts is somewhat low.
Nourished Life talk about a more favorable option: “ The molecular structure of Magnesium Chloride is much more easily absorbed into the body than that of Epsom salt. So while both are wonderful, I find the effects of Magnesium Chloride much more intense. Magnesium salt typically comes from seawater and are often offered to those with severe deficiencies.”
Wondering where you can find magnesium chloride? That’s easy— in EASE Magnesium topical spray.
The formula contains pharmaceutical grade magnesium chloride hexahydrate to ensure optimal absorption and performance.
Each spray delivers approximately 25 mg of magnesium, so you can easily measure how much your child should be getting. It absorbs into the skin within 90 seconds and enters the bloodstream, so it can get to where it’s needed in their body.
We recommend 30-50 sprays per day for an adult (based on an average body weight of 150 lbs) so simply adjust based on your child’s weight.
There are definitely other forms of magnesium supplements available, including pills and powders that you dilute in water. Topical supplements are easier to absorb and easier on your digestive system.
Wellness Mama talks about her preference for topical magnesium:
“The best way to supplement with magnesium, in my opinion, is by using it on the skin. This is not only the safest way, since the body will only use what is needed, but the most effective.
Unlike internal doses of magnesium, topical magnesium does not have to pass through the digestive system and kidneys and can more quickly enter the blood and tissues of the body.
I have experimented with a variety of magnesium supplements over the years and now stick exclusively to topical magnesium spray because I found it to be the most effective (and cost effective!).”
If you want to read more about the difference between topical magnesium and oral supplements, check out this blog post.
Are magnesium supplements safe for children?
Absolutely. Talk to your health care professional about doses and whether or not magnesium supplements, and which ones, are right for your child based on their particular needs. In general, though, yes, it is safe.
Your body does not keep stores of magnesium. What your body doesn’t need, it excretes.
If you want the best magnesium supplement for your child…
Consider starting your child on EASE, you’ll be doing them a world of good!