Children are busy, and not just with school, sports practice, and weekend activity schedules. The very act of being a child means every minute of the day, the body is growing and building entire bone structures, organs, and developing a complex nervous system that needs crucial nutrients like magnesium in order to grow.
Fortunately, Novomins are making the process easier with magnesium supplements for kids that are tasty enough to be welcomed by children.
In the article below, we’ll explore why magnesium is critical to the growth and development of your child, advising recommended daily intakes, benefits of magnesium, and provide a few suggestions as to how you can ensure your little ones get their necessary daily dose.
Why is Magnesium Important for Children?
The fast-paced growth that children experience from infancy into their teens cannot be accomplished alone. They need essential nutrients to make it all happen.
Magnesium alone is a part of over 300 enzyme processes in the body. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and makes up one of the 7 core microminerals needed to sustain life.
An often forgotten powerhouse, healthy magnesium levels are crucial for maintaining health and healing for everyone, especially children, as they rapidly grow. Yet, getting enough nutrients into growing kids can be tricky at times.
Magnesium is vital for many functions of the body, and most of them are still developing during childhood. As a child's nervous system grows, muscles build, and processes for making proteins and energy develop, magnesium has a crucial role in all of them. Everything from brain function and digestive health to sleep regulation and blood sugar is affected by magnesium levels.
Benefits of Adequate Magnesium Intake for Children
Magnesium plays a big part in keeping many systems in the body healthy. When magnesium levels are healthy, they can benefit the body by:
- Supporting Proper Sleep: Sleep is an essential part of health and healing for everyone. In children, its crucial role in the development of their bodies and brains makes it even more vital that they get enough sleep. Magnesium supplements for children, like Novomins Kids Magnesium Gummies help to regulate neurotransmitters that prepare the body for sleep.
- Regulating Mood: Magnesium helps us to turn nutrients found in our food, into serotonin. This vital chemical regulates our mental health by affecting our moods and sleep schedules. The role of mental health in overall health is often overlooked. It is critical that children's emotional and mood development be given as much attention as their physical growth.
- Improving Concentration: Magnesium helps us to create strong neural connections in our brains. These connections help us achieve synaptic plasticity and help us to learn, concentrate, and retain information. Plasticity allows us to think quickly and keep cognitive function longer in our older years. Along with magnesium, omega oils help children to develop strong neural connections.
- Boosting Energy Levels: Magnesium is at the heart of one of the most basic parts of our physiology. It helps to power our cells. It is responsible for helping ATP, a molecule that provides energy to our cells, to do its job. With low levels of magnesium, the low amounts of energy in our cells soon become fatigued. Looking after ourselves at a cellular level is vital for our energy. Incorporating iron gummy supplements for kids into your child's diet can help to keep blood cells healthy and energy levels high.
- Supporting Bone and Teeth Health: Around 60% of the total magnesium in our body is stored in the bones. Bone development in children is crucial, and people with higher mineral density in their bones suffer less from osteoporosis in later life. Supporting bone health with good nutrition or supplements is a vital part of children's growth affecting their health for the rest of their lives.
- Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels: Magnesium has a vital role in how we metabolise carbohydrates and regulate our insulin and blood sugar levels. Low magnesium levels can often be seen in people with type 2 diabetes, showing how vital the mineral is in this regulation process.
- Offering Bowel Regulation: Probably the most recognisable of the jobs magnesium does is regulating bowel movements. Magnesium supplements were used generations ago to aid constipation, particularly in children. By getting enough magnesium, the nerves within the gut work correctly, regulating bowel movements and preventing issues such as constipation.
- Bolstering the Immune System: Along with vitamin D, magnesium supports efficient immune cell responses, helping kids to develop a healthy immune system that can effectively fight off sickness but remain regulated.
- Supporting Healthy Digestion: As it is involved in over 300 enzyme processes, it is no surprise that regulating the digestive system is a large part of magnesium’s role in the body. Digestion relies on many enzyme processes, and our entire digestive system is controlled by nerves and muscles that pass food through the gut at the correct pace.
- Relaxing Muscles: Magnesium and calcium dance together in the body. Magnesium regulates calcium by allowing it to provide the body with what it needs while preventing it from causing problems. Without magnesium to block calcium channels in our body, we would find our muscles in constant spasms. By blocking calcium channels, magnesium allows our muscles to relax when we need them to.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency in Children
Although very mild nutritional deficiencies can go undetected without symptoms, children with magnesium deficiencies can quickly begin to show symptoms as their body struggles to cope without enough of this vital mineral.
Common symptoms of deficiency include:
- Muscle twitches
- Mental disorders
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
Some research suggests that increasing vitamin D and magnesium in children with ADHD has the potential to improve behavioural problems and reduce anxiety. Research is ongoing into the links between ADHD and magnesium.
Recommended Daily Intake
When children take in vitamins and minerals from diet or supplement sources, the body gets to work quickly using them to fuel growth and development. To keep up with the demands of growing an entire nervous system, and other functions, magnesium needs to be in steady supply.
As children age and their appetites grow, they must increase their intake of important vitamins and minerals with their volume of food.
The UK government's recommendations for daily magnesium intake are as follows:
- Infants aged up to 1 year - 85mg
- Toddlers aged 2-3 years - 85mg
- Children aged 4-6 years - 120mg
- Children aged 7-10 years - 180mg
- Children aged 11-14 years - 280mg
- Teenagers aged 15-18 years - 300mg
It’s worth noting that any magnesium supplement used for kids should be done as part of a healthy diet that contains a variety of magnesium sources.
Dietary Sources of Magnesium
Although many foods contain reasonable amounts of magnesium, the body generally only absorbs 30-40% of the consumed magnesium into the body. To get enough vital nutrients, we need to increase our family's intake of these mineral-rich foods or consider supplementing to ensure healthy levels.
Some foods that contain the highest levels of magnesium are:
- Black beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Soy milk
Sounds a little healthy for your child's tastes?
If your children could use more magnesium in their diet but you can’t imagine them snacking on nuts and spinach, it might be time to get creative with incorporating them into meals. Grains and legumes like quinoa and black beans can easily disappear into stews, soups, casseroles, chilli, and other tasty dishes.
Nuts can transform into smoothies with tasty fruit or even chocolate-based protein powders for a sweet treat. We can also surprise ourselves after assuming our children won't like certain foods, only to find they become their favourite food this month.
Magnesium Supplements for Children
For many children, a healthy and varied diet alone supplies their brains and bodies with enough magnesium to support their development. For some parents, their child's diet, nutrition, and eating habits can be a daily struggle.
Consider supplementing children's magnesium if:
- Your child is particularly picky: A picky relationship with food can lead to less nutrients being absorbed than a parent might want. If getting your child to eat is a task, parents can feel that any food they eat is a win, no matter its nutritional profile. In this case, it may be helpful to boost nutrition with supplements while your child figures out their relationship with food in the future.
- They suffer from malabsorption: Some children have trouble absorbing nutrients in the gut despite eating a healthy diet, due to underlying gastrointestinal or autoimmune conditions.
Children with gastrointestinal conditions often absorb nutrients at a lower rate, and supplementation is necessary to achieve good health throughout their lives. These children are more prone to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and should be watched closely for new symptoms.
Some conditions that can affect the body's ability to absorb nutrients are:
- Coeliac disease
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- Enzyme deficiencies
- Prior surgeries that affected the stomach and bowel
If you suspect that your child may suffer from one of these conditions that is not yet diagnosed, see your doctor to establish any underlying problem and seek treatment before simply supplementing nutrition.
Types of magnesium
Magnesium comes in different forms, with supplements available in several of them. The difference in magnesium types depends on what the magnesium is bound with. In magnesium citrate, magnesium is bound with citric acid, the same acid found in citrus fruits.
Some forms of magnesium include:
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium malate
Although each of the different types available contains magnesium, they are not all absorbed by the body at the same rate. Some types are better than others at being recognised and absorbed by the body, and therefore providing vital nutrients.
In a study from 2015 that tested the bioavailability of both magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide in a small group of males, the magnesium citrate won the day with a large increase in bioavailability over the magnesium oxide.
When choosing magnesium supplements, absorption rates make a difference, in both the amount of nutrition your child receives and value for money.
Supplement delivery methods
Boosting our nutrition has come a long way, with many methods available to suit different lifestyles and tastes. Magnesium is no different and can be found in several innovative delivery methods such as:
- Pills and capsules
- Chewable tablets
- Liquid solutions
- Powders to mix into food and drinks
Often, when trying to get vitamins into children, gummies are the favoured option for kids, who prefer the delicious flavours of a gummy over other methods. Gummy options are also often faster and more convenient, not needing water or any special preparation, and eating them on the go is easy.
Side effects and interactions
As constipation can be a common issue for children, the stool-softening effects of magnesium can be helpful in regulating bowel movements. For others, some diarrhoea, nausea, or stomach cramps can occur as a side effect of taking magnesium supplements.
Sometimes, magnesium supplements can interact with other medicines. Some antibiotics, diuretics, and medicines for some heart medications can cause interactions that should be avoided. If your child is currently taking any medication, always seek medical advice before starting a new supplement.
If you suspect that your child is suffering from magnesium or any other nutritional deficiency, be sure to consult your doctor to ensure they do not have an underlying condition, and to seek personalised advice for the best way to improve their health.
Sleep, of both good quantity and quality, is critical for children's healing and development. If you think your child could benefit from more sleep support, supplementing magnesium with Kids Magnesium Gummies can help them to get this vital mineral in a quick and tasty gummy.
If you have a picky eater, or think your child could benefit from additional vitamin and mineral supplementation, Novomins has a range of kids-focused gummies in tasty flavours to make nutrition easy.