Did you know that more that three quarters of us have a magnesium deficiency? Chances are you’re in that group.
Why Are We So Deficient?
The main reasons we’re showing up short in magnesium is due to:
- Processed Foods And Junk Foods – Our modern diets are laden with simple carbohydrates and sugar. Our bodies actually use 54 molecules of magnesium to process simple sugars alone. The diuretics in both tea and coffee raise the levels of magnesium secretion. Fluoride, the known neurotoxin in your city water supply, will try to outdo the available magnesium in our body for absorption.
- Our Soils Are Depleted – Factory farming, GMOs, and improper crop rotation have depleted our soils of magnesium. Overall our vegetables are 24% deplete compared to the 1940s, and our fruits are also coming in at just 16% of what we would have derived nutritionally in the same decade.
- We’re Stressed To The Max – Due to sleep deprivation, stress hormone production, always being on the go, long hours engaged with our phones and computers; all of which need high levels of magnesium to try to cope.
- Drugs – Antibiotics, prednisone, statins, oral contraceptives (estrogen compounds), and cortisone all produce drug/herb/nutrient depletions in your body, including magnesium.
What Does Magnesium Do?
The health of your musculoskeletal system relies on proper minerals in order to function normally. Muscular, joint, and ligament pain can be reduced significantly by getting enough magnesium. Considering that the heart is probably the most important muscle in the body, magnesium helps to keep it supple and healthy.
Just as it helps nerve function throughout the body, magnesium is important for coordinating the activity of the heart muscle and the nerves that initiate the heartbeat. If your magnesium levels are low, you are more likely to be at risk for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats) and heart palpitations.
Magnesium is also vital for proper detoxification. It helps protect the body from the effects of environmental toxins and heavy metals.
It’s intrinsic for the following functions:
- DNA synthesis
- energy production
- the control of blood sugar
- regulation of blood pressure
- temperature regulation (think hot flashes)
- bone and teeth formation
- protein formation
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, magnesium inhibits blood clots, thins the blood, blocks calcium uptake, and relaxes blood vessels. Sounds very much like the unnatural low-dose aspirin they’ve been recommending for years. Magnesium is a “co-factor” in over 300-900 reactions in the body, so it’s pretty important.
What Symptoms Indicate Magnesium Deficiency?
While magnesium deficiency can have cardiovascular and muscular implications, it can show up as neurological issues as well. In our own clinic, we’ve seen mental illness markers from prolonged stress corrected from regular magnesium supplementation.
Other metabolic, endocrine, and chief complaints like these can also be indicators for a shortage in magnesium.
- behavioral disturbances
- lethargy (no motivation)
- impaired thinking/memory
- seizures and spasms
- chronic fatigue
- sleep disturbances
- body aches/pains
- sugar cravings
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- muscle cramps
- menstrual pain
- high blood pressure (Hypertension)
- chronic back pain
- brain fog
And that’s just a partial list! The Journal of the American College of Nutrition cites:
“Similarly, patients with diagnoses of depression, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, tremor, Parkinsonism, arrhythmias, circulatory disturbances (stroke, cardiac infarction, arteriosclerosis), hypertension, migraine, cluster headache, cramps, neuro-vegetative disorders, abdominal pain, osteoporosis, asthma, stress dependent disorders, tinnitus, ataxia, confusion, preeclampsia, weakness, might also be consequences of the magnesium deficiency syndrome.”
How Can I Test For My Magnesium Levels?
This is a little tricky as standardized blood tests in a doctor’s office aren’t wholly effective. The reason for this is that magnesium doesn’t hang out in the blood. The best way that we know of testing, even by distance, is through Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. We have a colleague, Michelle Haley, who accepts hair samples in the mail and will test them and get back to you with the results.
What Foods Are High In Magnesium?
At Arcanum Wholistic Clinic, we recommend getting your minerals through whole, organic foods. The reason for this is that they’re less costly and much easier to absorb by the body.
Dark Leafy Greens
- spinach (the highest source of magnesium)
Seeds and Nuts (soak or sprout them prior)
- watermelon seeds
- squash and pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
Legumes (soak and cook before eating)
- black beans
- navy beans
- mung beans
- brown rice
Natural Dark Chocolate (70% or more cacao)
*All foods above should be eaten to satiety and not gorged upon. All things in moderation after all.
If I Need To Take A Supplement, Which One Do I Use?
If you’re really depleted, like I was due to rounds of antibiotics as a child, poor food quality as a kid, and high levels of stress for decades, I did have to resort to magnesium supplements for a year until I got things back to a better state of grace. Once my symptoms abated, I then went to whole, organic foods, being sure to focus on those listed above as a regular part of eating healthy.
Best Topical Supplements
- topical magnesium oil
- magnesium lotion
- DIY homemade magnesium spray
- epsom salts or magnesium flakes
Oral Magnesium Supplement
- Magnesium Glycinate (Everyone)
- Magnesium Malate (Fibromyalgia)
- Magnesium Taurate Combo. (Calming, relaxing, gentle)
- Magnesium Orotate (Memory)
- Magnesium Threonate (Cognition)
- Solé Brine (Everyone)
- Hyland’s Bio XII Tissue Salts (Kids)
- Mineralized Water Like PiMag Water System
Supplements and their sources change. Be sure to cross-reference with this guide: https://labdoor.com/rankings/magnesium to ensure that your popular brand is ethically sourced and does not contain arsenic.
Adding In The Necessary Co-Factors
Co-factors are the helpful elements that assist in optimum magnesium absorption. Your system runs an orchestra of 5,000 regulating hormones, minerals, and chemicals, so you can be taking magnesium from the best sources, but not be purveying it to the cells for maximum uptake. Here’s a list of mostly natural food sources to be sure you’re in good supply:
- Methylated Vit. B6 Complex (raw bee pollen, liver pills, nutritional yeast flakes)
- Bicarbonate Soda (¼-½ tsp. of non-aluminum baking soda in water before bed or put ½ a cup in your bath water).
- Boron (10-12 prunes a day)
- Selenium (3-4 Brazil nuts)
- Vitamin D3 (20 minutes of sunlight a day or 2-4,000 IU’s)
- Vitamin K2 (fermented foods, organic meats, brie, gouda)
- Potassium (dark leafy greens, squash, fish, bananas, potatoes and avocados)
Sources and Resources:
Drug-induced nutrient depletion handbook,” Pelton, 2001