Magnesium is by far the most important nutrient in the body and has a vital role to play in health. According to American neurosurgeon and pain medicine pioneer, Norman Healy, MD, Ph.D., every illness is somehow associated with a magnesium deficiency, and it is the missing cure to many diseases.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is found in the teeth, red blood cells and bones.
Magnesium helps regulate potassium, sodium and calcium, and it is necessary for cellular health and over 300 biochemical functions. The most powerful antioxidant in your body, glutathione, requires magnesium for synthesis. Sadly, many people are unaware of the role of magnesium and the fact that they may well be deficient.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
The human body is constantly seeking balance. It will do what is necessary to bring about internal balance, which is its job. To reach homeostasis, the body will send up red flags, flares if you will, that are not to be ignored. If you just push off these warning flags, your body will go into a deep spiral that will result in disease and poor overall health.
Could you be deficient in magnesium? See how many of these are true of you.
Millions of people suffer from migraine headaches and are not even sure why they suffer. Magnesium is necessary for balancing neurotransmitters in the body. Studies have shown that 360-600 milligrams of magnesium daily reduced the frequency of migraine headaches by up to 42 percent.
Over seventy percent of adults and many children experience leg cramps with regularity. If you have ever suffered from leg cramps you know just how painful they can be – even debilitating. Magnesium is vital in the control of neuromuscular signals and muscle contraction. Magnesium deficiency can lead to leg cramps and those who eat magnesium-rich foods or take a supplement, generally find relief from these cramps. Persons who suffer from both restless leg syndrome and leg cramps are often prescribed magnesium and potassium together to alleviate these conditions.
Do you often have trouble falling or staying asleep or suffer from frequent anxiety, hyperactivity or restlessness? If so, you may be lacking in magnesium. Magnesium is critical in something known as GABA function that is known to bring about feelings of relaxation and calmness. Adding magnesium-rich food to your diet – especially your dinner meals is important for sleep and relaxation. A magnesium supplement is also useful in getting a good night’s sleep.
Recommended Reading: 7 Healing Herbs To Beat Insomnia & Help You Sleep
High Blood Pressure
Statistics tell us that over 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure – a precursor to heart disease and stroke. Magnesium, coupled with potassium help to keep the heart healthy and blood pressure balanced. When the body is deficient in magnesium, calcium is usually low as well.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet high in magnesium-rich foods can reduce the risk of a stroke by 8 percent.
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a remarkably serious condition that is on the rise in America, even among our youth. People who have diabetes are at a great risk of developing a number of health complications including heart disease, kidney failure, vision loss, amputation of toes, feet or legs and even premature death. About ninety to ninety-five percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes are type 2, also known as lifestyle diabetes.
The good news is that, type 2 diabetes can be easily managed and even reversed through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Researchers have also found that many people who have type 2 diabetes have low magnesium levels.
Diets that are rich in magnesium have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is due to the role that magnesium plays in the metabolism of sugar. One study demonstrated that the addition of just 100 milligrams of magnesium daily lowered the risk of diabetes by 15 percent.
Are you often tired and feel like you are running on your last cylinder? Perhaps you have a busy life, and you just put your fatigue off on this. However, low energy, weakness, and fatigue, can be the result of a magnesium deficiency. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 300- 1,000 milligrams of magnesium per day can help with energy levels.
Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition that is marked by pain, fatigue, sleep problems and tender joints. Over 5.8 million Americans over the age of 8 are thought to suffer from fibromyalgia and between 80 and 90 percent of these people are women. According to a study that was published in Magnesium Research, magnesium consumption can reduce pain and tenderness fund in this condition and also improve blood markers.
Also, a lack of magnesium may promote the following:
- bacterial and fungal infections
- kidney and liver damage
- mood swings
- increased symptoms of PMS
Increased Risk Of Magnesium Deficiency Are Found In These Groups…
Some people do a better job of assimilating magnesium than others. You can even inherit an inability to absorb magnesium.
There are four groups of people that are at a greater risk than other for developing a magnesium deficiency. These include:
People with type 2 diabetes – Diabetics tend to have increased urination that makes it difficult to absorb magnesium. Changing to a whole food diet, limiting sugar, fast and processed foods can help tremendously with magnesium retention.
People who have digestive disorders – Digestive disorders such as Chron’s disease and celiac disease tend to impair magnesium absorption.
People with alcohol problems – Alcohol is an “anti-nutrient” that sucks the nutrients or your cells and does not allow you to absorb vitamins and minerals from your food. Regular, recreational alcohol use can cause a problem as well. If you consume more than 2 glasses of wine per week it can be hard on your liver and leave you lacking in minerals because it causes dehydration, an imbalance in gut bacteria, immune system compromise, disrupted sleep and premature aging.
Aging people – As we age magnesium levels drop and many elderly people don’t eat as much magnesium-rich food as they did when they were younger.
People who take a lot of antibiotics – Taking a lot of antibiotics can damage the digestive tract and make it more difficult for magnesium found in foods to be absorbed.
Magnesium Levels in Food are Decreasing
Even if you eat a totally healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, don’t drink too much and are in apparently great health, does not guarantee that your magnesium levels are where they should be.
Most of this is because magnesium levels in our food supply have been on the decrease for many years. We don’t feed the soil like we used to . Back in the day, farmers would allow the soil to rest by harvesting crops six years on and one year off. This would give the land time to heal and regenerate – resulting in higher amounts of nutrients.
Research indicates that there has been a marked decline in the amount of nutrients. Not to mention the fact that we are growing fewer heirloom plants, using increased amounts of pesticides and introducing GMO’s into our diet.
What Foods Are High in Magnesium?
Regardless, we should still try to eat as many foods that are high in magnesium as possible. These include the following:
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Black Beans
- Mung Beans
- Sweet Corn
How Much Magnesium Do I Need?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggests the recommended dietary allowance for adult males is approximately 400 mg, 320 mg for adult females and 350-400 mg for pregnant females. According to alternative health practitioner Dr. Weil, people should take half as much magnesium as calcium
What About Supplements
If you feel that you need a magnesium supplement, it is always best to speak to your health care provider. Here are some of the types of supplements that my be suggested:
Magnesium Chelate – The magnesium in this supplement is easily absorbed and is the type that is found in many foods. Try this Doctor’s Best High Absorption Chelated Magnesium.
Magnesium Chloride Oil – This type of magnesium can be applied to the skin and is often given to people who have digestive disorders. Some athletes use magnesium oil to increase endurance and energy. It is often used to ease muscle pain, heal wounds or irritation of the skin. You can buy magnesium oil from this page on Amazon, or you can make your own at home using this recipe from Wellness Mama.
Magnesium Citrate – This is magnesium combined with citric acid. When taken in high doses it may have a laxative effect but is often used to improve digestion and prevent constipation. You can get magnesium citrate from this page.
Magnesium Threonate – This magnesium supplement is very easily absorbed as it can penetrate mitochondrial membranes. Although not as readily available as other kinds, it is becoming more popular and is available from here.
Magnesium Glycinate – This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that is recommended for anyone who has a deficiency. It is less likely than some other supplements to cause a laxative effect. You can buy magnesium glycinate from this page on Amazon.
Keep in mind: deficiency most likely won’t show up on a routine blood test. Concentrations can also be measured in urine and saliva. However, since most people are deficient and supplements are relatively safe with few side effects, some practitioners suggest taking magnesium to prevent deficiency.
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