Mind Your Magnesium!
The mineral that makes magic…
Magnesium is the new miracle mineral and for good reason.
For starters, it aids in your digestion, is the building block for DNA, helps us deal with stress, prevents kidney stones and creates nerve connections for learning and memory. For women, a magnesium supplement may be worth taking solely for its ability to relieve PMS and menstrual cramps.
This magnificent mineral has a lengthy list of uses within your body, and consequently, symptoms from deficiency that will surprise you.
How magnesium helps your body
|Enhances calcium absorption||Controls blood sugar levels||Creation of DNA, RNA|
|Relaxes and calms mood||Regulates heart beat||Regulates cholesterol production|
|Stabilizes blood pressure||Increases energy||Production of proteins, antioxidants and enzymes|
|Optimizes pancreatic functions||Supports heart repair||Prevents kidney stones|
|Improves sleep||Aids exercise tolerance||Increased insulin sensitivity|
|Aids digestion||Relieves hyperactivity||Supports immune system|
|Increases bone density||Limits cardiac hypertrophy||Relaxes muscles|
Who Should Be Taking Magnesium Anyway?
The answer to this question is easy—everyone. With up to 80% of Americans deemed magnesium deficient, it is safe to assume you need to replenish this mineral. And while some argue that we get all the nutrients we need from food, this isn’t usually the case with magnesium.
Our body’s daily magnesium needs are just not being met naturally—even extremely “healthy” folks should consider supplementing this mineral. While the magnesium RDI is 400 mg per day, many health experts agree this is way too low, and recommend anywhere from 500 to 1000 mg daily based on a number of individual factors. While testing for magnesium deficiency is available (we recommend the RBC blood test), the good news is that magnesium deficiency is often easy to predict through symptoms.
Because it’s a mineral required by such a wide range of processes throughout your body, a magnesium deficiency can show its face in a variety of unusual places like hiccups, poor memory, migraines, gluten sensitivity and Alzheimer’s. The most serious of course, are stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, but that’s just the beginning.
Possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency
|Fatigue||Anxiety/panic attacks||Blood clots||ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)|
|Facial twitches||Ear infections||Depression||Congestive heart failure|
|headaches||Gluten sensitivity||Heart arrhythmias||Emphysema|
|Heart palpitations||Migraines||Liver disease||Parkinson’s disease|
|Food cravings||Weight gain||Epilepsy/seizures||Renal failure|
|Nausea||Hypertension||Multiple sclerosis||Ventricular fibrillation|
|Mood swings||Poor concentration||Hormonal imbalance||Sudden cardiac death|
Our bodies evolved in an environment unlike the one we find ourselves in today. We were once surrounded by magnesium rich sources in our water and soil, and consequently our food supply.
Today, our water is filtered and treated, our soil is fertilized with potassium-based compounds instead of calcium and magnesium, and plants aren’t able to absorb necessary minerals as pesticides kill off the natural bacteria that usually make this possible. To make matters worse, we are doing more harm to ourselves with prescription drugs, exposure to heavy metals, and some dental care processes involving fluoride. These practices tend to strip away the existing magnesium we already have in our bodies. A big kicker today is also the amount of stress we are all under. High amounts of physical and emotional stress deplete magnesium levels even further, making it increasingly difficult to replenish supplies. But it doesn’t stop here.
As you could expect, what we eat generally reflects the level of nutrients our bodies have. But when the CDC estimates that 20% of Americans eat fewer than one vegetable or fruit a day, there’s no wonder we have a serious problem. Those of us who don’t eat leafy greens, or other magnesium rich foods, are at higher risk for health problems, and magnesium deficiency is no exception.
Gut health also plays its part. An unhealthy gut or one with malabsorption concerns like celiac, Crohn’s disease, anorexia and even crash dieting also negatively affects your magnesium absorption. Dealing with other dietary stressors like food allergies, too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods also uses up the magnesium in our systems.
If you consider yourself a healthy eater and think this doesn’t apply to you, think again! Today we use up magnesium so quickly, we just can’t get it fast enough from healthy choices like dark green salads and nuts for snacks. So, unfortunately, most of us are still left with a mounting deficiency and health problems we just can’t explain.
Deficiency Be Gone!
But never fear, there are many things you can do to resupply and deplete less of this integral mineral on a daily basis. To help your body preserve its limited supply, try to take fewer prescription drugs including birth control. You can also try to keep your body and mind calm with your favorite de-stress techniques. Cutting back on processed and high sugar foods including alcohol will also help.
To restock your magnesium stores, make sure you are eating highly nutritious foods like oysters, greens, almonds, cashews, basil, black beans, and our favorite—dark chocolate! Although a healthy diet should always take top priority, as we mentioned before, natural food sources alone cannot provide all the magnesium we need, so supplementing is essential.
Your personal preference, and how your body reacts to certain forms, may dictate which magnesium supplement is best for you. Often a bath with magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom salt, is great for relieving sore muscles, and many people use magnesium oil as a footbath or spray. But by far, the most common way to replenish is with oral supplements, which are sold in many forms with varying uses and effectiveness.
Before You Buy…
There is no shortage of magnesium supplements on the market. However it is important to know that many are designed primarily as laxatives. These are great at loosening the stool by relaxing the muscles in your GI tract. They are also the most inexpensive and can be found under the names magnesium citrate, hydroxide, oxide and sulfate.
Beyond elimination, other forms of magnesium supplements can target areas outside of your GI tract to optimize benefits in other crucial areas. Four types stand out in particular:
- Glycinate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that is ideal for those trying to correct a deficiency. It is great for the mind and all things associated like anxiety, irritability, insomnia, concentration, crying, and depression. It provides mental calming without the laxative effects.
- Malate is a form essential for muscle relaxation. It is easily broken down by the body, and is the best type for those with muscle fatigue, fibromyalgia, fatigue, and PMS. It also binds with aluminum to pull it away from tissues, and even supports nerve communication.
- Taurinate is a must have for heart health. It protects this vital muscle by stabilizing and reducing palpitations. This amino acid, taurine, in general supports healthy heart function and is especially effective with arrhythmias. Studies confirm taurinate also calms the central nervous system.
- Orotate is great for improving athletic/exercise performance. This form also has good bioavailability and is good for RNA/DNA formation.
No matter which supplement you end up deciding on, it should be accompanied by vitamin B6. This vitamin determines how much magnesium your body will actually absorb.
Our recommendation for a magnesium supplement, without a doubt, is Mag-Key. It combines these four bioavailable forms of magnesium to give the body critical support where it’s needed, plus the essential vitamin B6.
We have tried it ourselves and just can’t go without it! Besides preventative care for the heart and bones, we love how it helps us sleep, reduces heart flutters, and calms muscle cramps post-exercise.
Although Mag-Key is new, it’s already making waves. The prestigious Health Sciences Institute recently featured Mag-Key as an easy way to protect your heart from palpitations and even sudden death.
Renowned nutritionist, Ann Louise Gittleman PhD, CNS, also recommends Mag-Key, in particular to those who are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, are pre-diabetic or have osteopenia.
Mag-Key also comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. So there’s no risk in giving it a try—we promise your heart, mind and muscles will thank you!
Health Sciences Institute Newsletter, September 2015, Michele Cagan