It is as vital to health to ensure you get enough magnesium. There is a lot of magnesium in the human body. In fact, there are only three mineral that are more abundant than magnesium. With over 3,700 magnesium receptors and over 300 enzymes that require magnesium, the human body has the need to, and capacity to use a lot o magnesium, and if you don’t get enough in your diet your health will suffer. In my case, I’ve found that getting enough magnesium, from the right sources, is as important as getting enough Vitamin D from sunlight. Health experts estimate that as much as 80% of the American population is magnesium deficient. This YouTube video by Dr. Mercola explains some of the more common signs of magnesium deficiency.
- Magnesium is used in almost every body process, and by almost every cell in the body. It’s important to understand what magnesium does for us:
- It’s called the “anti-stress” mineral because it relaxes smooth muscle through out the body. This includes the smooth muscles of the heart, blood vessels, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
- Magnesium activates enzymes used in the metabolism of protein and carbs.
- DNA needs magnesium in order to function properly.
- Magnesium helps control the amount to electrical potential energy across cell membranes.
- Magnesium is vital to energy production. It critical in ATP production.
- It helps prevent over-stimulation of nerve cells caused by too much calcium.
- Magnesium can dilate blood vessels.
- Magnesium helps to prevent excitotoxicity.
- Magnesium is vital to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.
- Magnesium is needed to maintain proper bone mass.
Okay, so what does all that mean in everyday life? Magnesium can help reduce muscle spasms in every part of the body–this includes leg cramps, twitchy eyes, the spasticity of many auto-immune and neurological disorders. It also includes muscle spasms that occur in blood vessels, and in the heart.
- Magnesium can calm an asthma attack as well as, and in some cases better than, Prednisone. I’ve had ER doctors give me a magnesium I.V. to calm a severe asthma attack in place of Prednisone. (I refuse to take Medrol, prednisone, or any of the related oral and I.V steroids because of a little known side effect called prednisone Induced Psychosis. Look it up. I’ve experienced it. It’s horrible..)
- Magnesium can calm even the most severe PMS symptoms and menstrual pain.
- Magnesium can help relieve insomnia, and calm the sleep resistant toddler.
- Magnesium binds with oxalates in the intestine. Taken 30 minutes before a high-oxalate meal, it can reduce, and even eliminate, a reaction.
- Magnesium taken during an oxalate dumping reaction calms the symptoms.
- Because of it’s effect on oxalates, magnesium can be useful in the prevention of kidney stones.
- It’s used to calm anxiety, stress reactions within the body, and to alleviate fatigue even in people with CFS, MS and Fibro.
- Magnesium can lower blood pressure, and calm hyperactivity.
- It’s used in the treatment of heart arrhythmias, Autism, Epilepsy, angina pectoris, alcoholism, and atherosclerosis.
- Magnesium relieves constipation, and is the main effective ingredient in more than one OTC constipation medication.
In addition to the signs of deficiency on the video above, other symptoms include: being irritable and short tempered, sleep difficulties, changes in general mood or disposition, apathy, confusion, poor memory, apprehension or nervousness, numbness or tingling in muscles. A severe magnesium deficiency can even cause delirium, hallucinations, and spasms in the arteries which can lead to angina or even heart attack.
There are plenty of healthy foods that provide high levels of magnesium. Leafy greens of all types, flaxseeds pumpkin seeds, unsweetened cocoa powder, avocado, Brussel sprouts, cashews, almond butter, seaweed, raspberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon are among the Paleo/Primal options. For those who eat grains, try quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, oats, and rye.
Sitting in an Epsom salts bath for 20 minutes or so is a good way to add supplemental magnesium. (follow the directions on the package)
There are also several good magnesium supplements on the market.
The rule when supplementing with magnesium is to start with a small dose, maybe 200 mg per day. Then, increase the dosage a little every day until you experience loose stools. This is called “bowel tolerance.” When you find your bowel tolerance, cut the dosage by 10%.
Of course, no nutrient in the body works alone. If you have magnesium deficiency, it’s important to make sure calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K levels are adequate and balanced as well. Here’s a short video that explains why this balance is so important.