Are you magnesium deficient?

Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral inside our cells and the second most common deficiency, next to Vitamin D.

Common signs of magnesium deficiency are:

  • Muscle pain and cramps, including headaches as magnesium is essential for muscle relaxation and cellular function
  • Sugar or chocolate cravings, appetite loss and blood sugar imbalances. More magnesium is also required to process sugar which actually then depletes magnesium levels even further
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness and insomnia
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Loss of mental clarity, memory issues and stress
  • Brain imbalances as magnesium helps to calm down the brain
  • Constipation and bowel irregularity
  • High blood pressure

More serious problems linked to Magnesium Deficiency include cardiovascular disorders, obesity type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. A large number of studies that show that magnesium helps to significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and regulate blood sugar levels. Evidence suggests it can change our gene (DNA) expression involved in insulin and glucose metabolism. People with type 2 diabetes die mostly from cardiovascular disease and have high incidences of anxiety/ depression and nerve damage.

Research now supports the theory that magnesium is crucial in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium cannot do its job of strengthening bones without magnesium. Significant results with osteoporosis sufferers have been found from magnesium supplementation.

Magnesium deficiency can also be linked to asthma, infertility, seizures, kidney and liver disease. Studies have shown that children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) showed improvement in hyperactivity with supplemental magnesium.

Why is magnesium so important?

Magnesium is crucial to more than 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions occurring in the body on a near constant basis.  Magnesium is crucial in:

  • Nervous system function; electrical conductivity of nerves and neurotransmitter production in the brain
  • Glucose, fat breakdown, energy production and metabolism
  • Production of proteins, enzymes and antioxidants
  • Creation of DNA, RNA and normal cellular function
  • Regulation of cholesterol production and hormones
  • Muscle contraction
  • Maintenance of bones
  • Regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular health and digestive function
  • Detoxification and alleviating effects of stress

Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function, muscle contraction including heart muscle 35% of the body’s total magnesium stores are stored in muscle.

50%- 60% of the body’s magnesium is found in bone. Magnesium is needed for the absorption, transport and metabolism of calcium, regulating parathyroid hormone that regulates bone breakdown and activating the enzyme required for the production of new bone. Studies have shown that Magnesium improved bone density.

Sources and why are we so depleted?

Magnesium is found naturally in dark leafy vegetables, beans, nuts seeds and whole grains, all of which take their Magnesium from the soil. Due to a decline in soil mineral content even good sources of magnesium are lacking.

Other factor contributing to low magnesium levels include:

  • Food processing decreases magnesium. It is lost in grains during milling and making of white flour. Magnesium is lost from vegetables when they are boiled
  • Fluoride in water and toothpastes binds to Magnesium making it unavailable to the body. Fluoride is insoluble and replaces magnesium in bone and cartilage
  • Increased stress results in decreased stomach acid and decreased hydrochloric acid in the stomach results in decreased absorption of magnesium. Commonly consumed antacids neutralise hydrochloric acid, decreasing magnesium absorption
  • Magnesium absorption is altered by an unhealthy intestine, IBS, leaky gut, gluten and casein, candida, worms, pancreatic insufficiency, vitamin D deficiency
  • Some foods can block the absorption of magnesium. High protein diets can decrease magnesium absorption. Tannins in tea and large consumption of caffeine and alcohol cause depletion with their diuretic effect removing magnesium
  • Junk foods, sugary foods all use up extra magnesium
  • Saturated and trans fats alter cell wall integrity, making it more rigid which affects receptor site function and prevents nutrients from getting into or out of the cell.
  • Drugs- some drugs eliminate magnesium, antacids, antibiotics, diuretics all cause magnesium depletion
  • Magnesium is an electrolyte that can be lost from gastrointestinal complains after excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea or hydration.

Magnesium is a crucial and very important mineral. I would recommend taking it as a regular supplement as it is vital in a multitude of body processes.

 

References

  1. Dean C. The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books; 2007.
  2. Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: Its Proven and Potential Clinical Significance. Southern Medical Journal. 2001;94(12). Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/423568. Accessed August 30, 2009.
  3. Rubin H. Central role for magnesium in coordinate control of metabolism and growth in animal cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.1975 Sep;72(9):3551-5.
  4. Hartwig A. Role of magnesium in genomic stability. Mutation Research[serial online]. April 18, 2001;475(1-2):113-121. Available from: MEDLINE with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 14, 2009.
  5. Pressman A. Vitamins and Minerals. New York: Alpha Books; 2007.
  6. Sultenfuss, SW, Sultenfuss TJ. A Woman’s Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Alternative Healing.New York: MJF Books; 1999.
  7. Labrie, Suzanne. The Nutrition Code: Activate your body to heal and thrive with 4 key strategies and simple nutritional supplements (Kindle Locations 1309-1313). SpiritCast Network. Kindle Edition.
  8. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
  9. Rude RK. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
  10. Rude RK. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.
Posted in

Frank Caristo