Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our body. In fact, it is essential for over 300 different enzymatic processes to help your body function optimally. It is estimated that nearly 80% of the adult population is deficient in magnesium. Unfortunately, blood tests are relatively ineffective in gauging magnesium levels as less than 1% of magnesium is in the blood.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency:
- Chocolate Cravings
- Fatigue or unusual tiredness
- High Blood Pressure
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Muscle Cramps
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Sensitivity to noise
- Sleep Troubles
Causes of Depleted Magnesium:
Drinking carbonated beverages on a regular basis-Phosphates in dark coloured sodas bind with magnesium in the digestive tract.
Consumption of refined sugar- Magnesium excretion through the kidneys occurs when refined sugar is eaten on a regular basis.
Stress- Chronic stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem.
Caffeine consumption- regular consumption of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and pop causes the kidneys to excrete magnesium through the kidneys.
Medications- Certain medications such as diuretics, heart medications, asthma medications, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.
Alcohol consumption- An excess of alcohol (more than 7 alcoholic beverages per week) causes a diuretic effect lowering the amount of magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys.
Calcium supplementation- Without adequate magnesium, calcium supplementation has been shown to further deplete magnesium levels. Calcium should always be taken with magnesium and Vitamin D3 to prevent arterial calcification. The body tends to retain calcium when in a magnesium-deficient state. Extra calcium intake at such a time could cause an abnormal rise of calcium levels inside the cells including the cells of the heart and blood vessels.
Restoring Magnesium Levels
Magnesium deficiency is becoming such a widespread issue due to modern farming techniques which tax the soil and deplete it of its own natural magnesium. On top of that, many hybrids are selectively bred to survive low levels of magnesium and most conventional fertilizers use nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus which do nothing to replenish magnesium levels.
There are several ways to restore magnesium levels including consuming foods high in magnesium.
Foods that are high in magnesium include:
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Swiss Chard
- Sunflower seeds
(Choosing organic versions of these foods may greatly increase the magnesium content)
Other ways to restore Magnesium levels:
Soak in Epsom salt baths. This will provide not only magnesium but sulfur for your liver as well.
Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption.
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid and is very easily absorbed. This type is great for people with sluggish bowels. (Dr Cobi’s top pick)
Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.