Magnesium deficiency is considered by many to be an epidemic affecting up to 90 percent of Americans. Only about 25 percent of Americans get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, while 55 percent are below the RDA, and 20 percent are significantly below the RDA.
The reasons for this quiet deficiency include diet, medications, and environment. Are you wondering if you’re one of the masses who are magnesium deficient? Read on to find out, and contact the professionals at LifeWorks Integrative Health to see how integrative medicine can help with your holistic health needs.
Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency:
- Muscle cramps
- Eye twitch
- Sleep difficulties
- Fibromyalgia complications
How Did This Happen?
There are food and drinks that actually contribute to magnesium deficiency. Alcoholic drinks, carbonated drinks, sugar, and caffeine all require extra magnesium to process them. These drinks deplete magnesium. Chlorine and fluoride in water makes magnesium less bioavailable in drinking water. Grains are touted as a great source of magnesium, but in the refined form in which we consume grains, there’s not much magnesium left.
The levels of magnesium in vegetables have continued to decline since the 1950’s as soil minerals continue to decline. Soil depletion alongside processed foods, chemical pesticides in foods and general decline in vegetable intake means Americans simply do not consume as much magnesium from food as previous generations.
There are a few very common medications that also deplete magnesium. Supplementation should be considered for most everyone, but specifically if these medications are used:
- PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors)- most reflux medications
- Estrogen or other hormone replacement therapy
Why Is Magnesium SO Important?
This mineral is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body including necessary parts of maintaining blood pressure, metabolism and immune function.
Magnesium, in our opinion, is one of simplest, but often overlooked, supports for mental health. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter linked to anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and other mental health related issues. Magnesium is like the gatekeeper in the brain synapse that helps to regulate the glutamate uptake to the brain. Without enough magnesium, glutamate can take over and make inattention and anxiety worse.
Magnesium also offers a calming effect to the brain and muscles which can be a key element in managing anxiety and headaches. Magnesium is needed for GABA production which is a calming neurotransmitter. In children and adults alike, the simple supplementation with magnesium can improve attention and focus.
Magnesium is also fundamental for good bone health. It is needed for Vitamin D absorption and needed to stimulate calcitonin. Calcitonin pulls Calcium from muscles and soft tissues to deposit to bones, which is exactly where calcium should be. Too much calcium in muscles or soft tissue is part of how heart calcification (heart attacks), osteoporosis, arthritis and kidney stones develop. Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 are all have to work synergistically for good bone health. A deficiency in one of the four bone health components can throw off the balance and effectiveness of the others.
Hormones are also involved in the magnesium equation. When estrogen and progesterone are elevated, magnesium decreases. This is the most common reason for leg cramps in pregnancy, since this is the most likely time hormones will be elevated. Supplementing with magnesium often fixes leg cramps and restless leg in any situation, but namely pregnancy. Taking magnesium early in the menstrual cycle, before PMS symptoms occur can alleviate or prevent PMS.
Three different studies, one including over 70,000 people found that higher magnesium levels correlated with better blood pressure numbers. Researchers found that taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements daily for three months reduced people’s systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 mm Hg. Other studies found that it required up to 500 mg daily of magnesium to improve blood pressure and replete magnesium lost from alcohol, diuretics, stress and sugar intake.
At the end of they day, Magnesium in adequate quantities is fundamental to good health. Most people are deficient and are not getting enough from food alone. Supplementing with 300-600mg daily is quite common and can be very beneficial when forms that are highly bioavailable are used. Avoid Magnesium Carbonate at all cost, and choose Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate. Supplements are often poor quality where companies cut corners to save money. The LifeWorks online store only offers the best magnesium options.
When possible, choose foods high in magnesium to optimize intake from real food sources.
Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods
Green leafy vegetables aren’t the only foods rich in magnesium and chlorophyll. Here are the top 10 foods high in magnesium that you will want to add into your diet. (Men RDA 400 milligrams and Women RDA 310 milligrams a day)
- Spinach — 1 cup: 157 milligrams (40 percent DV)
- Chard — 1 cup: 154 milligrams (38 percent DV)
- Pumpkin seeds — 1/8 cup: 92 milligrams (23 percent DV)
- Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup: 50 milligrams (13 percent DV)
- Almonds — 1 ounce: 80 milligrams (20 percent DV)
- Black Beans — ½ cup: 60 milligrams (15 percent DV)
- Avocado — 1 medium: 58 milligrams (15 percent DV)
- Figs — ½ cup: 50 milligrams (13 percent DV)
- Dark Chocolate — 1 square: 95 milligrams (24 percent DV)
- Banana — 1 medium: 32 milligrams (8 percent DV)
- Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: Salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.Give us a call today to learn more about how functional medicine and integrative healthcare can aid your symptoms.