Magnesium is a mineral used by every tissue and organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles, and kidneys. If you suffer from unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms and eye twitches, low levels of magnesium could be the underlying cause.
Routine blood tests, which include serum magnesium, will not pick up magnesium deficiency because only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a serum magnesium blood test not very useful.
Most magnesium is stored in your bones and organs, where it is used for many biological functions. Yet, it’s quite possible to be deficient and not know it, which is why magnesium deficiency has been named the “invisible deficiency.”
Some estimates show up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of US adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.
Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading because researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.
Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body and plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. In addition, magnesium is necessary for:
• Activating muscles and nerves
• Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
• Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
• Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
• Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Conditions associated with magnesium deficiency included a whole host of conditions. Here are some examples: anxiety and panic attacks, asthma blood clots, bowel disease, cystitis, depression, detoxification, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, hypertension, hypoglycemia, insomnia, kidney disease, liver disease, migraines, musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, nerve problems, PMS, infertility, osteoporosis, Raynaud’s syndrome and tooth decay).
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness.
Calcium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D Must Be Balanced with Magnesium
So, “I should just take magnesium, right?”, but it’s not quite that simple. When supplementing with magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.
When balancing calcium and magnesium, also keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D need to be considered. These four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance between these nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.
The following factors are also associated with lower magnesium levels:
• Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
• Older age (older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption)
• Certain medications, including diuretics, certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin and tobramycin), corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone), antacids, and insulin
• An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs your body’s ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, etc.)
Tips for Increasing Your Magnesium Levels
One way to really increase your magnesium, as well as many other important plant-based nutrients, is by juicing your greens. If you drink one pint to one quart of fresh green vegetable juice every day, this can be your primary source of magnesium. Organic foods may have more magnesium if grown in nutrient-rich soils but it is very difficult to make that determination. If you opt for a supplement, be aware that there are a wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market, because magnesium must be bound to another substance. There’s simply no such thing as a 100 percent magnesium supplement.
Magnesium threonate and citrate are some of the best sources, as it seems to penetrate cell membranes, including your mitochondria, which results in higher energy levels. Additionally, it also penetrates your blood-brain barrier and seems to do wonders to treat and prevent dementia and improve memory. If you take a supplement, you can use the “bowel test” to determine if you’re taking too much magnesium. Essentially if your bowel gets loose from taking magnesium you may be taking too much.
Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or footbaths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption. Whatever supplement you choose, be sure to avoid any containing magnesium stearate, a common but potentially hazardous additive. (Source: www.mercola.com).
Dr. Jin Sung is a chiropractor and the owner of Functional Chiropractic, Inc. He manages chronic patients both neurologically and metabolically to achieve the best outcome. He can be reached at 978 688-6999. Or visit his website at www.DrJinSung.com