Magnesium is vital element to overall good health. It supports a wide variety of functions in the body including:
- Creating energy molecules
- Regulating your heart rate
- Building strong bones and teeth
- Regulating blood sugar levels
- Relaxing blood vessels
- Activating nerves and muscles
- Acting as a catalyst for neurotransmitter such as serotonin
- Serving as a cofactor for DNA and RNA.
Because it is key to so many vital functions, if you do not have sufficient levels of magnesium, you will be more prone to a wide variety of illnesses and ailments.
One of the most important functions of magnesium is optimization and creation of mitochondria, which are minuscule energy producing organelles contained within your cells.
Optimal mitochondrial metabolism is essential for maintaining high energy levels, good health and excellent athletic performance.
When you have enough magnesium, your body is capable of increasing the number of mitochondria within your cells. Without an ample supply of magnesium, this is not possible.
Abundant and healthy mitochondria enable your body’s oxidative capacity and help your muscle cells to receive more oxygen. Having ample oxygen throughout your body is vital to overall good health.
According to researcher Rhonda Patrick, PhD who has done extensive studies regarding cancer treatment and the role mitochondrial metabolism may play in its success, mitochondria may also play a very important role in the successful treatment of cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency?
Most people in modern times suffer from magnesium deficiency but attribute their symptoms to a wide variety of other conditions.
Remember that magnesium is vital to a wide variety of essential processes, so when you suffer a magnesium deficiency, it could manifest in many ways.
For this reason, there are many serious health conditions that could actually be caused by magnesium deficiency.
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of the book The Magnesium Miracle lack of magnesium may be the underlying culprit in a number of dangerous and challenging conditions such as:
- Migraine headaches
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Severe and seemingly unrelated problems such as personality changes and seizure disorders may also be related to magnesium deficiency.
Additionally, people suffering from insulin resistance and diabetes may find marked improvement in their condition by supplementing with magnesium and/or increasing intake of organic green leafy vegetables.
Those who are not currently suffering from diabetes symptoms should know that increasing magnesium intake can help prevent the development of type II diabetes.
The reason for this is that magnesium plays an important role in activating an enzyme called tyrosine kinase.
This is the enzymes that starts and stops a number of cellular functions that are necessary for keeping your insulin receptors working correctly.
Unfortunately, all of these serious conditions are often treated in a way that addresses the symptoms without resolving the underlying problem, which may very well be magnesium deficiency.
Very often, serious illnesses and conditions can be resolved or at least improved by increasing magnesium intake.
How Can You Determine Your Magnesium Levels?
Lab tests do not give an accurate measure of your magnesium levels because they only measure the amount of magnesium in your blood. Most of the magnesium in your body is in your bones and some is in your soft tissues.
For this reason, there is no way to truly get an accurate measurement; however of the types of testing available, there is a red blood cell magnesium test that is provided by certain specialty labs that is the most accurate.
There are also sub-clinical epithelial tests and a 24 hour urine test that can give you some idea of your magnesium levels.
Having said that, you should know that professional testing may not really be necessary.
Even if you are not suffering from a serious condition or illness, your physical symptoms may be telling you that you are lacking in magnesium.
If you have experienced:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Contractions and cramps in your muscles
- Tingling and numbness in your extremities
… you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency.
If you are prone to getting a “Charlie horse” in your leg muscles, it’s a sure sign that you need more magnesium.
Because magnesium is so essential to so many bodily functions, this list of symptoms is only the tip of the iceberg. Clearly, lack of magnesium can cause symptoms that are wide ranging and varied.
Since ample consumption of magnesium is essential for overall good health, it stands to reason that you should always be certain you are getting enough magnesium in your diet and in your regular supplementation regimen.
How Can You Be Sure Of Getting Enough Magnesium?
At the beginning of the 20th century, most people got at least 500 mg a day of magnesium simply from eating healthy, whole foods, especially green leafy vegetables.
Today, the soil in which we grow our food is sadly depleted, so even if you do eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables you will not get the amount of magnesium our ancestors did 100 years ago.
Sadly, today many people rarely eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Our modern Western diet consisting greatly of sugary, processed foods is extremely low in magnesium.
To compound this problem, lifestyle plays a role in depleting magnesium levels.
For example, if you are under a great deal of stress, don’t sleep well, use prescription drugs and/or drink alcohol your magnesium levels will be negatively impacted.
As with all vitamins and minerals, it is best to source real foods rather than relying solely on supplementation.
It is certainly possible to take enough magnesium in pill form supply your basic needs, but your body makes better use of nutrients gleaned from actual food.
The very best way to add magnesium to your diet is to eat lots of green leafy veggies. One excellent way to do this is to juice your greens and drink a concentrated glass of green veggie juice every day.
Other excellent food sources of magnesium include:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Sweet or dried whey
- Beans and legumes
- Seeds and nuts
- Dried seaweed
- Whole grains
- Rice bran
Additionally, many delicious and health giving herbs and spices are also rich in magnesium. This is especially true of fennel, basil, mustard seed, coriander, parsley, cumin seed and chives.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
Remember that in the early 20th Century people naturally got about 500 mg a day in food. Today, most people get only 100 mg or so from this source.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium is between 310 to 420 mg daily. It’s important to remember that the RDA is based on the bare minimum necessary to survive.
It is not intended convey the amount needed to thrive. According to Dr. Dean, for optimum good health you should consume between 600 and 900 mg of magnesium a day.
It’s easy to judge the amount of magnesium that is right for you by simply experimenting.
Begin with a low dose of magnesium and increase it slightly over a period of days until you begin to experience slightly loose bowel movements.
When this happens, you know that your body is expelling excess magnesium. Cut back slightly and you will have your personal, optimum magnesium dosage.
You may find that you are able to consume more magnesium by splitting your dosage into several small doses throughout the day rather than taking your supplement all at once.
What Kind Of Magnesium Is Best?
Magnesium citrate is the easiest to find, and it is a good source. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, alternative medicine proponent and osteopathic physician, magnesium threonate is a better choice because it penetrates cell membranes more effectively and results in higher levels of energy.
Other types of magnesium supplementation that can be chosen for specific results include:
- Magnesium carbonate is 45% magnesium and is often used as an antacid.
- Magnesium oxide is 60% magnesium and is often used when stool softening properties are required.
- Magnesium taurate includes the amino acid known as taurine. This combination has a calming effect.
- Magnesium chloride/lactate is just 12% magnesium; however, it is very easily absorbed and so delivers a very healthy dose of magnesium.
- Magnesium glycinate which is highly absorbable and bioavailable, so it is good for treating magnesium deficiency.
Balance Your Nutrition For Best Results
It’s important that you understand that simply taking magnesium supplement alone will not provide optimum results. To work properly, magnesium must also be accompanied by vitamin K2, vitamin D and calcium.
This is why it’s very important to eat a balanced and healthy whole foods diet and to take a high quality multivitamin.
Developing healthy lifestyle habits such as spending a little bit of time in the sunshine every day can help you get the vitamin D you need.
Adding interval training to your workout routine will help you get the most benefit from the magnesium you take. Interval training activities stimulate the growth and proliferation of mitochondria in the muscle cells.
In addition to increasing your dietary intake of magnesium, you can also supplement your magnesium intake topically.
Massaging magnesium oil to painful joints and muscles is an effective way to both ease pain and provide your body with more magnesium directly.
Soaking in a warm bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts is also an excellent way to give your body a chance to absorb magnesium.
Additionally, if you grow your own fruits and veggies, be sure to treat your soil with Epsom salts.
It provides excellent nourishment for your plants and increases the magnesium levels in your soil and your produce.