Hi friend! For those of you who don’t know me yet, I don’t take many supplements. I prefer to get the nutrients I need from good old fashion whole foods. However, there are several reasons that I feel strongly about taking this one – Magnesium.
Magnesium: What’s all the fuss about?
Did you know that magnesium is essential for over 300 biochemical functions in the body including:
- Energy Production
- Heart Rhythm
- Muscle Function
- Neurotransmitter Function
- Blood Pressure Control
- Maintaining Healthy Bones
Just to name a few! And did you know that approximately 80% of people are deficient in this critical mineral and don’t even know it. Many experts say magnesium deficiency in one of the most prevalent yet overlooked health concerns of our time because it is linked to so many illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney damage, liver damage and multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Norman Shealy MD, PH.D, an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer in the field of medicine, went as far as saying “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases.”
Why are we so deficient?
You may be wondering why so many people are deficient in magnesium if it’s a naturally occurring mineral. Well the answer is “modern times”(the cause of most of our health woes in today’s world and the ache in my backside…I digress!). Here are the reasons why magnesium deficiency is a common health issue now but wasn’t in the past:
- Soil depletion (caused by modern rigorous agriculture methods and pesticides), genetically modified organisms(GMOs) and chemical additives has decreased the percentage of magnesium present in food
- Use of chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine in the water supply has made magnesium less available in water, since these chemicals bind to magnesium
- Higher rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use has damaged our digestive tract resulting in our body not being able to absorb minerals such as magnesium
- Increased consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol and stress levels depletes magnesium from the body
How can I tell if I’m deficient?
Unfortunately magnesium deficiency will most likely not be brought up as an issue by your family physician because a regular blood test is not an accurate read of the body’s magnesium level. This is because only 1% of our body’s magnesium is stored in the blood with the remainder in our bones. If you think you may have a deficiency, there are a couple of options for testing that you can have done through a functional medicine practitioner or private lab.
Here are some signs you may be deficient:
- Regular Muscle Pain/Fibromyalgia
- Leg Cramps or Spasms
- Trouble Sleeping/Insomnia
- Migraines or Tension Headaches
- Anxiety or Depression
- Chronic Fatigue
- Hormone Imbalance or Worsened PMS
- Chronic Constipation
- High Blood Pressure
- Frequent cavities
- Nutrient deficiencies including vitamin D, K and B1, calcium and potassium
How do I get the stuff?
My first preference is always to get my nutrients from food.
The best food sources of magnesium are:
- Kelp (seaweed) – 760 mg per 100 grams
- Dulse (seaweed) – 220 mg per 100 grams
- Spinach – 150 mg per cup
- Swiss Chard – 150 mg per cup
- Pumpkin Seeds – 180 mg per ¼ cup
- Avocado – 58mg per 1 medium
- Dark Chocolate – 95mg per 1 square
- Figs – 50mg per ½ cup
- Banana – 32mg per 1 medium
However, as I mentioned food, in most cases, is no longer a sufficient source. Therefore I also supplement with magnesium.
You can supplement with magnesium in the following ways:
- Taking a high quality magnesium supplement
- Topically, by rubbing magnesium oil on your skin
- Taking baths with Epsom salts or magnesium flakes
I hope this post inspired you to take ownership of your health and get your magnesium level up to where it needs to be. Since the majority of the population is deficient in this powerhouse mineral, we need to start shouting from the rooftops that fixing one’s magnesium levels can have a dramatic impact on their health!
Yours in health,
The Well Girl