Did you know around 80-90% of the population are deficient in Magnesium? One reason is because of it being deficient in your food. Another contributor is food processing. We burn up a lot of magnesium when our stress levels are high. This can include physical and mental stressors and allergies, which stimulate the adrenal glands to work harder, using up more magnesium than normal.
Magnesium is found to be lower in people with; ADHD, with excessive usage of caffeine and soft drinks, the elderly as they have poorer digestion. Also people with digestive issues which will affect the uptake of magnesium. People who take medications such as certain antibiotics and hypertension drugs (thiazide diuretics), the oral contraceptive pill, antacids, insulin and corticosteroids all deplete magnesium. (1)
Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells. (2)
What does this super mineral do?
This essential mineral is important for bone health, cardiovascular health and energy production.
It is involved in more than 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions occurring in the body on a near constant basis.
All nutrients used by the human body function as either:
- Sources of energy
- Building blocks for body structures
- Elements needed to regulate and control the body’s many functions
Its presence is crucial to:
- Glucose and fat breakdown
- Production of proteins, enzymes and antioxidants such as glutathione
- Creation of DNA and RNA
- Regulation of cholesterol production
Dr. Dean is an American Dr who studied magnesium for 15 years. She wrote a book in 2014 called the Magnesium Miracle which cites the following medical conditions that magnesium deficiency triggers or causes:
Anxiety and panic attacks, asthma, blood clots bowel diseases, cystitis, depression, detoxification, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, hypertension, hypoglycaemia, insomnia, kidney disease, liver disease, migraines, musculoskeletal problems (ie; fibromyalgia), nerve problems, obstetrics and gynaecology, osteoporosis and tooth decay.
She also says that short term magnesium deficiency can lead to loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, headaches and weakness.
Long term deficiency can lead to numbness and tingling, coronary spasms, muscle cramps, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms and seizures.
How do I know if I am deficient?
Apart from the already mentioned symptoms, you may have other symptoms such as fatigue, heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, eye twitches, sore achy muscles or muscle cramps, high blood pressure as signs you are lower in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is also common in tics, tremors, in difficulty swallowing and in children that fail to thrive. (3)
Serum blood is not a very useful tool to test magnesium levels. Only about 1% of magnesium circulates in the blood. It is found in tissues such as muscles, heart and red blood cells. In my clinic I perform live and dried blood analysis which can show if you are deficient. This is totally different to the pathology blood tests.
So which wonderful foods have magnesium?
Natural sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocadoes and some beans. Also raw cacao! Yum. Food that are not organic will have lowers sources of phyto -nutrients and magnesium and as our soil in Australia is generally mineral deficient we are not getting the levels we use to years ago.
Absorption varies between types of magnesium. The easiest to absorb is the glycinate form and the hardest / poorest absorption is oxide form. The oxide form can cause loose or looser stools as it isn’t absorbed into the cells of your body. You can now buy magnesium oils and creams which can ensure better levels of magnesium, along with magnesium supplements and magnesium salt baths.
Clinically magnesium can be used for menstrual problems, menopause, insomnia, migraines, muscular complaints, cardiovascular disease and energy production.
During a naturopathic consultation in my clinic, I use live and dried blood analysis. With this I can see nutrient deficiencies such as magnesium in your blood, in the red and white blood cells. Some 80% of my patients show signs of magnesium deficiency.
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1 . Lininger SW, Gaby AR, Austin S, et al. A-Z guide to drug-herb-vitamin interactions. USA: Prima Publishing, 1999
- Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: its proven and potential clinical significance. Southern Medical Journal. 2003;94(12):1195-201. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/423568_1. Accessed March 8, 2010. [↵] [↵]
DiSilvestro R. Handbook of Minerals as Nutritional Supplements. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2004. [↵]
Kimura M. Overview of Magnesium Nutrition. In: International Magnesium Symposium. New Perspectives in Magnesium Research. London: Springer-Verlag; 2007:239-260