The Miracle of Magnesium…

The most powerful relaxation mineral and natural tranquilizer

Magnesium is the most versatile mineral in your body and is known to be required for several hundred different functions.  One of the principle functions of magnesium in the body is that it enables muscles to relax.  Without sufficient magnesium in the body, the muscles cramp and we can feel tense, nervous and jittery.  In fact, anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff – whether it is a body part or even a mood – is a sign of magnesium deficiency.  When this happens to the heart muscles, for example, the heart does not go through a complete relaxation phase.  This results in rapid heart beat and irregular heart rate known as arrhythmia and can eventually lead to other more serious problems such as chronic degenerative heart disease.

According to the Nutrition Almanac, “Magnesium deficiency is thought to be closely related to coronary heart disease, including myocardial necrosis.  An inadequate supply of this mineral may result in the formation of clots in the heart and brain and may contribute to calcium deposits in the kidneys blood vessels, and heart.  Heart failure resulting from fibrillation and lesions in the small arteries is linked to a deficiency of magnesium, as is vasodilation, which is followed by hyperkinetic behavior and fatal convulsions.”

Deficiency Effects and Symptoms:

Studies have revealed that up to half of Americans are deficient in magnesium and don’t know it.  According to one study published in the journal of “Critical Care”, a deficiency in this critical nutrient can make you twice as likely to die as other people and may be a major factor in many common health problems in industrialized countries.   Several common conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, migraines, attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, asthma and allergies have all been linked to a magnesium deficiency.  Perhaps not coincidentally, these conditions also tend to occur in clusters together within the same individual which thereby may provide a logical explanation of why some people suffer from a constellation of these types of problems.

One of the ways we become deficient in magnesium is because of the competing nature of calcium and magnesium; excessive calcium intake from foods or supplements can lead to a magnesium deficiency.  Another way we become magnesium deficient is because many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium – a high processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium).

According to the Nutrition Almanac, “Magnesium deficiency can easily occur because magnesium is refined out of many foods during processing. Cooking food removes the minerals; the oxalic acid in foods like spinach and phytic acid found in cereals bind magnesium in the body, as do unbalanced amounts of salts….A deficiency can occur in people with diabetes, those who use diuretics or digitalis preparations, the elderly, those with pancreatitis, chronic alcoholism, kwashiorkor, pregnancy, cirrhosis of the liver, arteriosclerosis or kidney malfunction, those on low-calorie or high-carbohydrate diets, and those who have severe malabsorption such as that caused  by chronic diarrhea or vomiting….Fluoride, high zinc levels, high levels of vitamin D, diuretics, and diarrhea will cause a deficiency of magnesium.”

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Because magnesium is active in so many different processes in your body (over 300), magnesium deficiency symptoms are varied and can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness
  • Constipation
  • Muscle spasms, twitches, soreness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Back aches
  • Headaches
  • Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Osteoporosis
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Autism
  • ADD
  • Angina
  • Anal spasms
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Acid reflux
  • Irritable bladder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Difficulty swallowing

Any of these common symptoms may indicate that you need more magnesium in your diet, but this simple mineral can help eliminate these symptoms and enhance your health.

Magnesium deficiency has even has been linked to inflammation in the body and higher C-reactive protein levels (CRP).  C-reactive protein is a plasma protein that rises in the blood with the inflammation from certain conditions.  It can rise as high as 1000-fold with inflammation and is therefore a test of value in medicine, reflecting the presence and intensity of inflammation.  Since inflammation is believed to play a major role in the development of coronary artery disease (and many other chronic diseases), markers of inflammation have been tested in respect to heart health.  CRP was found to be the only marker of inflammation that independently predicts the risk of a heart attack.

The Calcium to Magnesium Ratio

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 800 mg/day, whereas for magnesium it is 400 to 450 mg/day.  Only about one-third of magnesium is absorbed from dietary sources.  Therefore, a daily magnesium intake of 1200 mg/day has been recommended by some researchers (22).  The traditional ratio of approximately 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium needs to be upgraded to increase magnesium intake in view of the overwhelming beneficial role of magnesium.  The ideal ratio for most people’s needs is an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium.

The absorption and metabolism of calcium and magnesium is one of mutual dependence, and therefore, the balance between these two minerals is especially important.  If calcium consumption is high, magnesium intake needs to be high also.

How to Reverse Your Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

If you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned above or have any of the diseases noted, don’t worry – it’s an easy fix!!

Here’s how:

To absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamins B6 and D and selenium to get the job done. Moreover, much of modern life conspires to help us lose whatever magnesium we get in our diet.

Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites.

Diet and lifestyle play a key role in your magnesium intake. Here are some simple and easy ways to boost your magnesium intake:

  • Eat green vegetables. Green vegetables have lots of chlorophyll, a molecule that contains magnesium.
  • Eat foods high in magnesiumThese include kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, Dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, avocado, parsley, beans, dandelion greens, and garlic
  • Avoid refined and processed foods. Most refined products like white sugar and processed foods made with white flour have had their magnesium removed.
  • Try fermented foods and drinks. Fermented foods and drink populate your gut with probiotics (beneficial bacteria and yeast) that help your body absorb more magnesium from your food.
  • Try a magnesium supplement. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Krebs cycle chelate (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.
  • Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide.  They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements) Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate.
  • Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium, not to mention relaxes your entire body.
  • Most people benefit from taking 400-1600 mg per day of magnesium to help relax you and to help your bowels move on a regular basis.

And remember, most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.

Be Relaxed with Magnesium

If you want to feel your best, then don’t overlook magnesium. This low profile mineral is actually a key to your health and vitality! With the right calcium magnesium ratio, you’ll always be feeling calm and relaxed.

 

Sources:

Dean, Carolyn, MD., the Miracle of Magnesium (2005)

Fast Facts, National Osteoporosis Foundation.
http://www.nof.org/osteoporosis/diseasefacts.htm

Hyman, Mark, MD, Ultra-metabolism, November 2007

De Angellis, Tony, “Tony’s Tidbits: Magnificent Magnesium,” Tony’s Tidbits, Jan 2002.

Schachter, Michael, “The Importance of Magnesium to Human Nutrition,” http://www.mbschachter.com/importance_of_magnesium_to_human.htm

Simmons, Sandy, “Common Conditions Linked to a Magnesium Deficiency,” CTDS.info.
http://www.ctds.info/magnesium.html

Magnesium Online Library, http://www.mgwater.com/

 


Hi! I'm Deirdre Rawlings, a personal Certified Health Coach, Holistic Nutritionist, Master Herbalist, Naturopathic doctor, Sports Nutritionist, Speaker, Author, and a trained Plant-based Chef. I practice a holistic approach to health and nutrition to help you to uncover the root cause for symptoms and disease so you can live a life that restores and supports your wellness, growth, and highest self. Read More . . .

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