Magnesium-An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health
Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation, energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.
According to statistics, almost 80 percent of Americans is magnesium deficient. Another research shows that only 25 percent of American adults have the recommended daily magnesium intake which is about 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and neuropathic doctor, even this amount is “just enough to ward off outright deficiency”.
Dr. Dean has examined magnesium for more than 15 years. In the latest addition of her book, The Magnesium Miracle, published in 2014, she writes about 22 medical issues that lack of magnesium triggers or causes, all of which have been scientifically proven. This includes:
- Activating muscles and nerves
- Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
- Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
- Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Anxiety and panic attacks Asthma Blood clots
Bowel diseases Cystitis Depression
Detoxification Diabetes Fatigue
Heart disease Hypertension Hypoglycemia
Insomnia Kidney disease Liver disease
Migraine Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.)
Obstetrics and gynecology (PMS, infertility, and preeclampsia)
Osteoporosis Raynaud’s syndrome
The first symptoms of magnesium deficiency are: loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. Progressed magnesium deficiency causes more serious health issues such as:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Personality changes
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Coronary spasms
The Role of Magnesium in Diabetes, Cancer, and More
Several important studies have proved that magnesium plays an essential role in the proper function of metabolism, especially in regulation of glucose, insulin sensitivity, and protection from type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium, when taken in higher doses, has the ability to protect from impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and reduces the risk of progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged people. “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.” explained the scientists.
Moreover, higher magnesium intake contributes to a higher bone density in men and women, according to a number of studies. Also, a study from Norway has proved the link between magnesium in drinking water and a reduced risk of hip fractures.
A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that magnesium is able to reduce the risk of cancer, especially colorectal tumor.
Furthermore, for every 100-mg of increased magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor lowered by 13 percent, and the risk of colorectal cancer development was reduced by 12 percent, according to the results of meta-analysis.
Surprising Factors That Influence Your Magnesium Levels
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach and Swiss chard)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds)
You can juice these vegetables and consume regularly on daily basis.
Dr. Dean says:
“Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams.”
There are many foods which can have an impact the absorption of magnesium in the body. Too much alcohol consumption obstructs the vitamin D absorption which is connected to magnesium absorption as well. Excess sugar consumption also leads to magnesium excretion through the kidneys, according to Dr. Danine Fruge, associate medical director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida.
Magnesium deficiency is also caused by the following factors:
- Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
- Older age (older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption)
- Certain medications, including diuretics, certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin and tobramycin), corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone), antacids, and insulin
- An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs your body’s ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, etc.)
Calcium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D Must Be Balanced with Magnesium
The problem of magnesium deficiency cannot be solved by simply taking magnesium supplements. Namely, magnesium supplementation is accompanied by vitamin D3, calcium and vitamin K2 intake as well, because they function synergistically. For example, excess intake of calcium without the appropriate balance of magnesium can lead to serious health issues such as heart attack and sudden death. Also, this imbalance can cause muscle spasms which can damage your heart health as well. “What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” says Dr. Dean.
The magnesium-calcium balance also requires proper vitamin D and K2 intake because they all function together. Lack of balance of these four nutrients can lead to heart attack and stroke, and in some people can even lead to vitamin D toxicity.
If you take oral vitamin D supplements you have to take vitamin K2 and magnesium supplements as well.
Tips for Increasing Your Magnesium Levels
Prepare a drink from freshly juiced green vegetables and consume every day. This drink is the best source of magnesium. If you choose magnesium supplements, you should bear in mind the fact that there are a number of magnesium supplements on the market because it must always be in combination with other substances. There is no 100 percent magnesium supplement.
The substance combined with magnesium is very important because it has a direct impact on the absorption of magnesium, and therefore it may have different health benefits. The best supplements are magnesium threonate and citrate which have the ability to penetrate cell membranes and therefore provide your body with energy. Moreover, it is able to penetrate the blood-brain barriers which can boost your memory and protect from dementia. For people who take magnesium supplements it is recommended doing a bowel test in order to determine whether they`re taking excess magnesium.
According to Dr. Dean:
“The best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test”. You know when you have too much magnesium when your stools become loose. This, in fact, may be a blessing for people with constipation… [which] is one of the many ways magnesium deficiency manifests.”
Epsom salt baths or foot baths are also an excellent way to increase magnesium levels. Epsom salt is in fact magnesium sulfate which is easily absorbed in the body through the skin. Also, magnesium oil can used topically which also gets absorbed in the body through the skin.
Magnesium glycinate has the ability to provide you with the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is the perfect choice for people with severe magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium.
Magnesium carbonate has antacid effects and contains 45 percent magnesium.
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties, is well absorbed and is inexpensive.
Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has the ability to relieve constipation.
Magnesium taurate is a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. It has a calming effect on your body and mind.
Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that has the ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, and it has been considered as the best magnesium supplement on the market.