Do you crave chocolate???
Do you often get leg cramps? Or twitchy muscles? Osteoporosis/weak bones?
Do you suffer constipation often? Acid reflux/heartburn?
What about heart palpitations? Angina? AF? High Blood Pressure?
Anxious? Stressed? Irritable? Disturbed sleep or difficulty sleeping? Fatigue and lack of energy?
Migraines? Muscular tension? Cluster headache?
If you have any of these symptoms you may be deficient in Magnesium. And surprisingly a large percentage of the population are just not getting enough of this miracle mineral.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and its importance in a healthy and vibrant life is hard to overstate.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish
Magnesium (Mg) is like the “spark” to all metabolic systems in the body. It is critical in the creation of energy and its transport (ATP, the body’s fundamental energy currency), and the creation of proteins—the nucleic acid chemistry of life—RNA and DNA, in all known living organisms. In plants, a magnesium ion is found at the center of every chlorophyll molecule, vital for the creation of energy from sunlight. Magnesium is an essential element for both animals and plants, involved in literally hundreds of enzymatic reactions affecting virtually all aspects of life.
Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs (the highest concentrations to be found are in the brain and heart). Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood which is why a blood test is not the most accurate test for deficiency.
The list of the medical conditions that may arise from inadequate magnesium is long but a few most commonly observed are
- heart arrhythmias (AF)
- heart attacks
- metabolic syndrome
- gastrointestinal disturbances (heartburn,constipation )
- premature ejaculation
- premenstrual syndrome
- Oestrogen dominance
- muscular cramps (leg cramps at night) and twitches and muscular weakness
I believe the deficiency of this mineral is also playing a huge role in the current epidemic of mental health disorders especially affecting the very young and teenagers.It is involved in relaxing our muscles, it is an antidote to stress, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, and it can help improve your sleep, it is critical in the production of serotonin and the regulation of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
One of the interesting psychological manifestationsof low Mg in tissues is beligerence:a person becomes hostile,irritable, quick to react and overly sensitive to criticism. The flight or fight respone activation is lower. The stress response is highly disregulated and more erratic because the adrenal glands in stress produce more adrenaline and cortisol..as these hormones increase it stimulates magnesium “wasting” as it is elimated from tissue and body. The subjected feeling is nervous tension, restlessness and symptoms extremely similar to generalised anxiety disorder.
Why are we so deficient in Mg?
- Soil depletion, due to farming methods and the use of pesticides which antagonise Mg
- Harvesting, storage, transport and refridgeration of food
- Over-processing of food (milling of grain, cooking greens, roasting nuts)
- Common medication: birth control pills;insulin;digoxin, diuretics such as Furosemide; some antibiotics; corticosteroids bronchodilators for asthma, proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole, statins
- High sugar diets, alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Fluoride in drinking water(and part of many medicines) binds to Mg making it unavailable to the body
- Mental and physical stress( vigorous exercise/excess sweating) uses up Mg very rapidly.
- Irritable Bowel syndrome, Leaky Gut, candidiasis can limit Mg absoprption
- Overload of Calcium in the body (due to diet and many common drugs)
- Over-supplementing with Vitamin D
All this means that now we may only be getting 200mg of Mg in our diet where as a hundered years ago we would be getting 500mg! The recommended daily amount for a healthy adult is set around 310-420mg. Although some researchers believe we may need as much as 600 to 900 mg/day for optimal health
How can we get enough Mg?
Diet is crucial but unfortunately due to soil depletion and food processing we are unlikely to get enough even when on a healthy whole food diet. However, it is always best to get your nutrients from food wherever possible.
- Dark-green leafy vegetables lead the pack when it comes to magnesium content and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake. Greens with the highest magnesium levels include: Spinach,Swiss chard,Turnip greens,Beet greens,Collard greens,Broccoli,Brussel sprouts,Kale,Bok Choy,Romaine lettuce
- Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder
- Seeds and nuts:Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds score among the highest, with one-quarter cup providing an estimated 48 percent, 32 percent and 28 percent of the RDA of magnesium respectively. Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are also good sources
- Fatty fish such as wild caught Alaskan salmon and mackerel
- Herbs and spices: coriander, chives, cumin seed, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel, basil and cloves.
- Fruits and berries: papaya, raspberries, tomato, cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon.
- Organic, raw grass fed yogurt
If you still develop any symptoms or are lacking in energy even though you are eating well, it may be you need supplements. In a situation of magnesium deficiency, it may take up to 6 months of oral supplementation to correct things.
Magnesium is LIKELY SAFE for most people, though for some it might cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. A change of form or reduction in dose is then needed
Doses between 350-600 mg daily are safe for most adults. When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death. Magnesium is safe when taken in doses less than 65 mg for children 1-3 years, 110 mg for children 4-8 years, and 350 mg for children older than 8 years.
Epsoms salts (MG sulphate) :particularly great for autistic/ADHD kids and athletes with muscular or joint aches.
Mg citrate in powder form, stir it in water and sip it through the day (probably the most cost effective). This is highly absorbable form though can have laxative effects. Start out by taking 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, and gradually increase your dose until you develop slightly loose stools. Excessive magnesium is simply flushed out, so in this way you can determine your own individual cutoff point
Chelated magnesium forms have less side-effects and are more bioavailable.
Mg threonate seems to be most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria, which can help boost your energy level. It also penetrates your blood-brain barrier and may help improve memory. It seems to be effective for migraines and headaches too.
PLEASE NOTE: when supplementing be careful to balance magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D. These four nutrients work together in a synergistic fashion. Improper balance between them is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity. Most people get enough Calcium in the diet or through medication. This means your Mg needs will be 2-3 times greater than Calcium. Vitamin K2 is essential when taking vitamin D3, so for every 1000iu of vit D you may benefit from 100iu of K2.
Patients who should not take Mg / or exercise caution and take medical advice are: Low blood pressure, kidney failure, kidney problems,bleeding disorders, bowel obstruction, myasthenia gravis, or heart tablets, heart block.
- Carolyn Dean, Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms