Magnesium: Why You Need It 09/03/15

MAGNESIUM

One of the most important minerals in the human body is magnesium.  Magnesium is responsible for over 300 reactions in the human body.  It has anti – inflammatory properties and offers protection from a host of chronic conditions and illnesses. Magnesium can also help with acute conditions as well.

Some studies have shown that about only 1/2 of Americans consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium each day.  Also remember the RDA is not necessarily the amount that is needed for optimal health but rather it is the amount needed to prevent chronic debilitating diseases.

How can you tell if you are deficient in magnesium?  Well there are simple blood tests that your physician can order to check your magnesium status; however, the standard “magnesium level” may not show the entire picture.  Magnesium is an intracellular mineral meaning that very little is found in the blood.  In fact only 1% of magnesium is found in our blood.  It primarily concentrates itself inside the red blood cell.  It is not un common for your standard magnesium level to be normal; while your intracellular level is low. To get a true gage of your magnesium status ask your physician to check your red blood cell magnesium level.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

Fatigue – Remember magnesium is needed for over 300 reactions in the human body, including producing ATP which is needed to provide energy to our cells.

Depression, anxiety brain fog, & difficulty concentrating – Neurons in the brain need magnesium to communicate effectively.  Low levels of magnesium have been linked to depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

Muscle soreness & chronic pain – Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and has been shown to help with muscle soreness and chronic pain, especially nerve pain due to its affect on the NMDA receptors.  Depleted levels are often times associated with longer recovery times from workouts.

Muscle cramps & Restless Legs – Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and has been shown to improve symptoms from muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome.

Insomnia – Because magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and has natural muscle relaxing capabilities it has also been shown to help promote healthy sleep patterns.  One interesting fact is that animals that hibernate are able to maintain their magnesium status at extremely high levels.

Hormonal imbalances – Our bodies hormones are control by a number of things and a number of organs in the body.  The adrenal gland produces cortisol that helps regulate hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  When magnesium levels are low the body begins to over produce cortisol which makes achieving hormonal balance extremely difficult.  In fact studies have shown that magnesium can reduce mood changes and pain associated with PMS.

Constipation – Magnesium is a natural laxative and is often times present in products that produce constipation.

Headaches & migraines – Most likely due to its muscle relaxing abilities magnesium has been shown to really improve pain associated with headaches, especially migraines.

High Blood Pressure – When blood vessels and arteries become still hyper tensile the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, this is one mechanism for high blood pressure.  Magnesium naturally relaxes the vessels helping to lower blood pressure.

Osteoporosis – Magnesium is extremely important in relation to bone health.  One study showed that women who supplemented magnesium over 2 years saw significant increases in bone density versus the women that did not.

So just how does one become deficient in magnesium.  There are really 3 ways:

·         Diet

·         Medications

·         Exercise

DIET

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us do NOT eat a balanced diet.  The Standard American Diet is high in saturated fats, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugars and very low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.  Some foods that are high in magnesium include:

·         dark leafy greens                                 whole grains

·         almonds                                                  avocados

·         pumpkin seeds                                     yogurt

·         fish                                                            bananas

·         beans                                                        dark chocolate

Let me first say that I am a HUGE proponent of obtaining nutrients through diet. Eating a healthy, clean, balanced diet has been proven to promote weight loss and to prevent many chronic conditions; however, there are a few reasons why it may be difficult to get the necessary amounts of nutrients from food.

Varying Your Diet – In order to obtain all of the nutrients you need for optimal health you would have to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, etc.  While almonds may be packed with one mineral, pecans may be backed with another.  Also you may have to consume LARGE amounts of a particle item to obtain the amount of nutrients that you need.

Studies have shown that even individuals that consume a healthy diet still have very little variety in their diet.

Storage of Food –  The word fresh is truly a “relative” term.  As soon as foods are harvested from the ground their nutritional value begins to decline.  Some nutrients decline faster then others but by the time it gets to your table the amount that you thought was in that tomato may be dramatically reduced.

Quality of the Soil – The mineral & nutritional content of fruits, vegetables and grains are largely dependent on the quality of the soil.  Soil content can range between different countries, different regions in the same country and sometimes different farms in the same region.

One study found a 100 x difference in the calcium content of lettuce between two different forms in the United States – Do you know where your lettuce came from?

MEDICATIONS

Many different medications can cause you to lose magnesium.  Hydrochlorothiazide (HTCZ) and furosemide (Lasix) are some medications used to treat high blood pressure known as “water pills” can result in dangerously low levels of magnesium.  Other medications for heart arrhythmias, allergies, chemotherapy can also cause low magnesium levels.

EXERCISE

Remember magnesium is involved in over 300 reactions in the human body. Studies have shown that low magnesium levels may result in reduce exercise performance and increased side effects from strenuous exercise.  Exercise has also been shown to increase urine and sweat loss of magnesium.  In fact strenuous exercise may increase a person’s need for magnesium by as much as 20%.

 So you can see how a person who eats the standard diet, is on a medication for blood pressure, and has just started an exercise program could be severely depleted in magnesium.

 

Magnesium Supplements are probably the most effective way of supplementing magnesium.  There are numerous products on the market that are used for a variety of purposes.

Magnesium Citrate for example is typically consumed as a laxative.  While Magnesium Oxide and Chloride are typically prescribed for supplementation.  None of these forms of magnesium are absorbed particularity well.

When magnesium is combined (chelated) with amino acids the absorption of the magnesium is dramatically improved and the product works much better.

We often times recommend two types of chelated magnesium supplements.

Magnesium GlycinateMagnesium Glycinate is an excellent source of magnesium that is combined with the amino acid glycine.  We recommend this supplement for those with issues with restless legs, muscle cramps, soreness, and sleeplessness.  We also recommend this product for those who want to supplement magnesium in an effort to strengthen their bones.

MAgTaur400-456x1024Magnesium Taurate is another form of magnesium that we often times recommend.  We recommend this form of magnesium for people with issues with their heart (angina, heart failure, arrhythmias) or who are wanting to supplement for blood pressure reasons.  Taurine is an amino acid that have numerous positive effects on the heart.

 

 


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