Insulin resistance, diabetics, anxiety, high stress lifestyles, thyroid disorders, menopause, PMS and hormone imbalances, headaches, heart disease, osteoporosis, trouble sleeping, consuming sugar, processed foods, drinking alcohol and tap water. All of these are symptoms and conditions of a magnesium deficiency.
Many common prescription medications and OTC drugs deplete magnesium such as antacids and PPIs, diuretics, hypertension drugs, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and OTC and Rx sleep medications.
Food levels of magnesium have declined drastically over the years due to mineral-depleted soils. The Standard American Diet is lacking magnesium, and the very items that most people eat (wheat, sugar, starchy carbs, soda, caffeine, alcohol, factory-farmed meat and dairy products, GMOs, chemical-laden processed foods) deplete magnesium from the body.
For every molecule of sugar consumed, it takes 54 molecules of magnesium for your body to process it!
If you sweat excessively, drink fluoridated water, use fluoridated toothpaste, take pharmaceutical drugs, use OTC meds, experience anxiety, suffer from constipation, asthma, love sugar, your lifestyle is highly stressful, your blood pressure is high, and your adrenals are depleted, there’s no question that you’re deficient in magnesium.
When we think of stress, we often think of physical or emotional stress, but inflammatory foods, lack of sleep, chemical exposure, over-exercising, even loud noises activate the stress-response causing magnesium levels to decline. Magnesium deficiency is directly associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium requires healthy hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) production, and healthy functioning digestion for proper absorption of magnesium from the diet. Irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, Candida overgrowth and other gut disorders can severely limit the amount of magnesium that the body will be able to absorb. Malabsorption of magnesium can lead to anxiety, ADHD, panic attacks, hypertension, fungal and bacterial infections, PMS, and many other physical and mental ailments. If you’re deficient in magnesium, other minerals are likely to be low as well.
Many people often think they’re deficient in calcium, when in reality it’s magnesium they’re deficient in. Magnesium is a synergist for calcium and vitamin D absorption. No matter how much vitamin D you take, your body cannot properly use it if you’re deficient in magnesium. Taking large doses of vitamin D can induce severe depletion of magnesium. And, without adequate magnesium extra calcium collects in the soft tissues instead of bone causing calcium deposits in the arteries, organs and brain increasing risk of arthritis, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s disease. Magnesium is critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death.
Magnesium deficiency is responsible for many chronic health problems and diseases including low bone density, osteoporosis and metabolic disorders that can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In two separate studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, magnesium deficiency was found to be associated with abnormal bone calcification. Both studies reported that the higher the intake of magnesium, the higher the level of bone mineral density.
Circulating and dietary magnesium are inversely associated with cardiovascular risk. Insufficient levels of magnesium increase inflammation and exacerbate age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive dysfunction, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and hypertension. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to toxic heavy metal accumulation in the brain that may be responsible for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS. Depression and anxiety are also linked to a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium can act at the blood brain barrier to prevent the entrance of stress hormones making magnesium a necessary component for the release and uptake of serotonin by the brain cells.
Symptoms & Conditions Linked to Magnesium Deficiency
Routine blood testing is not an accurate or effective marker to detect magnesium levels since less than 2% of magnesium is in the blood. The majority of magnesium, 99% is in the cells and in the fluid around the cells, in muscle and in the bone. Lab values that are within normal limits give a false sense of security of the actual magnesium status. RBC magnesium testing is the test to determine your magnesium levels.
Food sources of magnesium. The highest source of magnesium is found in dark, leafy greens, especially chard, spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens. Other food sources of magnesium include kelp and seaweed, unsweetened cacao, nuts, pumpkin seeds, cooked spinach, squash, celery, parsley, cilantro, nettles, avocado, bell peppers, bone broth and unprocessed sea salt.
Magnesium supplementation is an inexpensive and worthwhile investment. It’s the one mineral that most individuals benefit from. A highly-absorbable and a bioavailable form of magnesium is important. These include magnesium taurate, citrate, aspartate, orotate, fumerate, glycinate, malate and threonate (also a wonderful brain nutrient). Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated, lower quality form of magnesium that is poorly absorbed.
Although the RDA recommends 300-400mg/day, most individuals benefit from 400-1000mg/daily or up to bowel tolerance. Excess magnesium is excreted in the urine and stool. A side effect of too much magnesium is loose stools, which can be alleviated by supplementing with magnesium glycinate.
A phosphorylated form of vitamin B-6 taken with magnesium can be helpful since the level of vitamin B6 in the body determines how much magnesium will be absorbed into the cells.
Supplementing with magnesium is best taken between meals or before bedtime on an empty stomach when little or no fat is present in the gut (fat binds to magnesium and prevents absorption).
*** Individuals with kidney disease or heart disease should consult with their doctor prior to supplementing with magnesium.
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath with 3-4 cups of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). The magnesium is absorbed through the skin and is helpful for soothing sore muscles after an intense workout or an injury, and inducing muscular relaxation before bedtime.
Alternatively, magnesium chloride, a topical transdermal form of magnesium oil or gel is easily assimilated and metabolized by the body. Apply behind the knees or the inner arms before bedtime or apply directly to inflamed areas.
Trouble sleeping? Magnesium is my go-to nutrient. An hour or so before bedtime my magnesium cocktail consists of 300mg magnesium glycinate or orotate, 200mg of magnesium threonate (one of my favorite brain nutrients), and 3-4 pumps of transdermal magnesium oil applied topically behind the knees.