Magnesium is a mineral that your body uses in hundreds of different ways. Years ago, most people got plenty of magnesium from eating plant foods, but in recent years, the soil has become depleted of magnesium. This depletion, as well as the tendency to reach for processed foods over fresh natural foods has caused many people to become deficient in magnesium.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency.”*
It should also be noted, your Vitamin D doesn’t work without the proper levels of magnesium. Without magnesium supplementation, we may experience symptoms ranging from muscle cramping, to osteoporosis, to depression, to hypertension.
Do you get enough magnesium?
Fortunately, it is possible to get sense of where your intake of magnesium may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.
Do you experience migraines or headaches?
Magnesium is involved in the production of various neurotransmitters, or messenger chemicals, in the brain. Without enough magnesium, you may experience headaches and even migraines. Pain relievers may take care of the symptoms on the short-term, but they don't keep the headaches from coming back.
Do you have tooth decay?
Magnesium is essential for tooth enamel. Without enough in your diet, your teeth become weak and prone to decay. If frequent tooth brushing and flossing, and regular professional teeth cleanings don't seem to be helping with cavities or tooth decay, a magnesium deficiency may be the issue.
Do you drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages on a regular basis?
Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.
If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and pop regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.
In addition, most sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking pop with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.
Do you regularly eat sweet foods?
Refined sugar from pastries, cakes, desserts, candies and other sweet foods can cause the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.
Do you experience a lot of stress in your life?
Magnesium is a nutrient that gets easily depleted from your body when you are under stress or if you have anxiety. Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress. A lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem.
Do you experience heart palpitations?
Palpitations, which are irregular heartbeats you can feel in your chest or neck, are often blamed on stress and anxiety. However, they are sometimes due to a deficiency of magnesium since this mineral is involved in muscle contractions -- and your heart is a muscle.
Do you have muscle cramps?
A number of mineral deficiencies, including deficiencies in potassium and sodium, can lead to muscle cramps. Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation.
What can you do to address your deficiency?
If you think you may be deficient in magnesium, adding a magnesium supplement to your routine is a good idea. There are several different forms of magnesium. Magnesium citrate is a good choice for most people because it is easily absorbed. Here are a couple of my favorite magnesium supplements.
Natural Calm, made by Natural Vitality comes in powder form and should be dissolved into hot water. It is very easy to take. You can simply drink it like a tea. My personal experience is that it does indeed have a calming effect. I take it in the evening before I go to sleep. I have also experienced less muscle soreness after workouts since I began taking Natural Calm regularly.
The Genestra brand Mag Cal Vanilla Liquid is tasty and makes taking a supplement very easy. It is a delicious, natural vanilla flavoured bone support formula that contains calcium, magnesium and vitamin D in a highly absorbable citrate form. My daughter loves this one and we all take it as a family before bedtime. The Genestra Mag Cal Vanilla Liquid supplement is available at my Fullscript online dispensary in my shop.
You can also boost your magnesium intake by adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet including green leafy vegetables. Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate, banana, salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.
Another great way to boost magnesium levels is by simply soaking your feet or entire body in a bath containing epsom salt or magnesium flakes.
The skin is the body's largest organ, and as such, it has an amazing ability to absorb, filter toxins and deliver nutrients to the body. Therefore, internal levels of magnesium can be increased naturally by being absorbed through your skin. Just add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt or magnesium flakes to your bath and add 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice like lavender and/or mint and enjoy!
If you don't have time to do baths, you could easily make a magnesium spray. All you need is magnesium flakes, or Epsom salt, water and a glass spray bottle. You can add your favorite essential oil blend into the spray too if you like. Keep the spray bottle on your bathroom counter and spray it on your skin anytime throughout the day. Just spray it on your arms, legs, chest and stomach. I find it easiest to spray it on right after I get out of the shower. You can apply it as often as you would like to get optimal absorption.
Magnesium deficiency is dramatically under-diagnosed because it doesn't show up on a blood test. Only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is stored in your blood, and the majority of it is stored in your bones.
Since it's so easy to become deficient in magnesium, it's wise to monitor your intake, and be sure to eat more of these foods. Even if your are not showing signs of deficiency, eating enough magnesium-rich foods is important for overall health.
Another great tool is The Kickstarter On-Line Nutritional Assessment I offer in my consultation services. It is a very effective and useful assessment to pin-point your unique nutritional weaknesses and body system imbalances. You don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home to do it! It's an online questionnaire. After completing the assessment, you get summarized valuable recommendations from me personalized just for you including food, lifestyle and supplementation. It's the perfect starting place to improve your health and well-being. Connect with me if you would like more information or click the "Buy Now" button to learn more about this service.