Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in the industrialized world today due to the heavy processing that occurs, creating foods with very low magnesium levels. If you suffer a magnesium deficiency, your body is experiencing stress – whether you are aware of it or not.
Magnesium is an essential player in over 300 biochemical reactions. Imagine that you were going to watch a baseball game and the pitcher didn’t show up and there were no alternates. The game could not be played. For just about every single cell in your body, magnesium is a key player – essential to get the job done. Magnesium deficiencies are as common as they are overlooked. A deficiency affects all of you, every cell of you, yet you may have no idea.
The reason magnesium deficiencies are so sneaky is because if you have a mild deficiency you may just feel sluggish or get a headache once in a while or have a little depression here and there or not sleep good one night. It doesn’t always show up the same way because the body is always remodeling, moving nutrients around to support the system that needs it most.
The RDA for magnesium is on average 400 mg daily, more or less for larger and smaller individuals. The average American diet provides much less than this averaging less than 210 mg daily. This deficiency creates unnecessary health symptoms and risks as it is such an easy thing to fix. Because magnesium affects so many cells, it is often missed as a potential cause to symptoms or disease processes.
Below is a list of the common symptoms and conditions that can occur with magnesium deficiencies:
* Aggressive behavior
* Heart arrhythmias
* Heart disease
* Insulin resistance
* Joint pain
* Loose skin
* Loss of focus
* Loss of appetite
* Memory loss
* Metabolic syndrome
* Muscle pain
* Muscle spasms
* Muscle twitching
* Muscle weakness
* Panic disorder
* Poor calcium absorption
* Poor skin tone
* Psychological disorders
* Reynaud’s spastic vessels asthma
* Sugar cravings
* Urinary incontinence and frequency
Although magnesium is essential for many enzymatic reactions, it is best known for its essential role in the formation of energy. If there is no magnesium in the body, there is no energy. Imagine a body without a heart or a skull without a brain. This just can’t be!
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. In fact half of the body’s magnesium resides in the bone and the other half resides inside the cells and only 1% of magnesium circulates freely in the blood. So if the body becomes deficient, the blood will always optimize its saturation and pull magnesium from tissues in order to maintain adequate levels in the blood. Magnesium therefore, is being moved around within the body constantly, based on demand, and if deficient, the job of remodeling becomes a little more difficult. This is why magnesium blood levels are not reflective of overall magnesium status. Red blood cell magnesium levels and mineral testing through the urine are more reflective of overall magnesium status.
Below is a list of foods that are highest in magnesium. If you are not eating these foods regularly or if you suffer any of the above mentioned symptoms, you might want to consider supplementing with magnesium:
* Green vegetables – especially spinach and beet greens
* Unrefined grains
Magnesium is difficult to absorb orally, and in some studies suggest that it takes up to one year to reestablish optimal cellular levels by simply adding these foods in on a daily basis. If you have extreme fatigue like chronic fatigue syndrome or chronic pain like fibromyalgia, you may consider receiving magnesium IV’s as it goes right into your vein, doesn’t have to be absorbed in the intestines and your cells suck it right up and start using it right away to create energy. This is one of the many reasons that we administer magnesium IV therapy in our office. There are magnesium creams that you can use as well, especially in children. The recommended daily dose, if eating the SAD diet is 1000 mg daily in divided dosages for adults to prevent diarrhea. Children should obviously start lower and work up to tolerance. Too much will cause diarrhea and this is the dosage that is too high for your body and you are no longer absorbing it well.
There are several types of magnesium. There are liquids, powders, teas, capsules, creams and IV forms. Magnesium can be related to many different types of amino acids or minerals. Some research points to the Orotate form being more valuable in cardiovascular patients. The citrate form tends to cause loose stools at a lower dosage. Aspartate has received a lot of attention for greater gastric tolerance. Depending on the research you read, you’ll find differing opinions. The type you decide to use will also be defined by the delivery method. If you like the liquids over capsules or creams over powders you will be drawn to one that best suites you. The main message is that we all can tend to be magnesium deficient due to the lowering content in our food supplies. The other take home piece is that many common complaints may simply be due to low magnesium. As long as you don’t get diarrhea, indulge and enjoy the miracle of magnesium.