Vitamins and minerals are important for bodily functions as they play a vital role in increasing immunity, fighting infections, strengthening our bones and regulating hormones. In today’s highly competitive healthcare world, the market is full of oral supplements in the form of either tablets or capsules. Quite a few of us include multivitamins, zinc and magnesium pills as part of our daily routine.
While some minerals have mutual benefits, their excess consumption can lead to complications in later stages. For instance, Zinc and Magnesium, if taken in the right proportions, work to each other’s advantage. A healthy human body needs just the right amount of Magnesium (400-500 mg — 100-125 per cent of the Daily Value) and Zinc (15-50 mg — 136-455 per cent of the Daily Value) for them to be effective. This may vary in dosage because these minerals come in varied formulations in the market.
In general, one may not need to consume these minerals as supplements as they are usually present in adequate quantities in the foods we consume.
Zinc: Red meat, poultry, beans and nuts, shellfish (such as oysters), whole grains, cereal products (such as wheatgerm)
Magnesium: Dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, leafy vegetables and legumes
But if you are consuming them as part of oral supplements, you should be careful about the quantity and the quality of these minerals as their over-consumption can lead to several unavoidable side effects.
Role of Zinc and Magnesium
While Zinc plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and muscles, Magnesium helps in managing metabolism, muscle growth and managing sleep.
Varied benefits of Zinc and Magnesium
There is a multitude of benefits, some of which are as follows:
Magnesium: Helps in aiding muscle recovery after exercise, reduces tension and fatigue, strengthens bones and relieves muscle tension among others.
Zinc: While Zinc is an element that can be traced in every cell of your body, it helps in healing wounds, boosting immune functions, processing carbohydrates, fat and proteins in the food and playing a key role in the growth and division of cells among others.
What causes deficiency of Magnesium and Zinc and its symptoms?
The deficiency of Zinc and Magnesium is uncommon as both of these minerals are present in abundance in the daily foods we consume. But sometimes deficiency is noted in specific cases.
Deficiency of Magnesium: In the early stages, the deficiency can lead to nausea, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and vomitting. If it worsens, there are complications like numbness, tingling and coronary spasms. In severe deficiency, the patient may face conditions of hypocalcemia (low calcium) or hypokalemia (low potassium) because mineral homeostasis is disrupted.
Deficiency of Zinc: People with low levels of Zinc may face symptoms of diarrhoea, lack of alertness, loss of appetite and weight loss among others.
Excess of Magnesium: While Magnesium is essential for the human body, an excess can cause problems, including digestive issues, lethargy and an irregular heartbeat. In rare cases, a Magnesium overdose can be fatal.
Excess of Zinc: Excess of Zinc can lead to short-term side effects or chronic effects, resulting in long-term issues. These include nausea, vomitting, stomach ache, diarrhoea and headaches.
The pros and cons of taking Zinc and Magnesium together
When taken together in the right quantity, Zinc and Magnesium work to each other’s advantage. Magnesium plays a vital role in the body to regulate Zinc levels. However, the excess consumption of Zinc can be detrimental to Magnesium absorption and may lead to Magnesium imbalance in the body. If you are taking an abnormally high dosage of zinc — around 142 mg per day — it will create an imbalance in the absorption of Magnesium in your body. Therefore, never take mineral supplements on your own. It is important to consult a doctor and take it in the right quantity.