You don’t hear much about magnesium, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral and the health consequences of deficiency are significant. One reason could be because magnesium, like vitamin D, serves so many functions it’s hard to corral.
Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body, which are responsible for:
|Creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate), the energy molecules of your body||Proper formation of bones and teeth||Relaxation of blood vessels|
|Action of your heart muscle||Promotion of proper bowel function||Regulation of blood sugar levels|
The Health Benefits of Magnesium have Been Vastly Underestimated
A number of studies have previously shown magnesium can benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke. For example, one meta-analysis published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at a total of seven studies collectively covering more than 240,000 participants. The results showed that dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with risk of ischemic stroke.
But its role in human health appears to be far more complex than previously thought, and—like vitamin D—its benefits may be more far-reaching than we’ve imagined. GreenMedInfo.com’s database project has indexed over 100 health benefits of magnesium so far, including therapeutic benefits for:
|Fibromyalgia||Atrial fibrillation||Type 2 diabetes||Premenstrual syndrome|
“The proteome, or entire set of proteins expressed by the human genome, contains well over 100,000 distinct protein structures, despite the fact that there are believed to be only 20,300 protein-coding genes in the human genome. The discovery of the “magneseome,” as its being called, adds additional complexity to the picture, indicating that the presence or absence of adequate levels of this basic mineral may epigenetically alter the expression and behavior of the proteins in our body, thereby altering the course of both health and disease.”
Magnesium also plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins. Even glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant that has even been called “the master antioxidant,” requires magnesium for its synthesis.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
There’s no lab test that will give you a truly accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. Only one percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a blood test highly inaccurate. Other tests that your doctor can use to evaluate your magnesium status include a 24-hour urine test, or a sublingual epithelial test. Still, these can only give you an estimation of your levels, and doctors typically need to evaluate them in conjunction with the symptoms you exhibit.
An ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, including:
|Numbness and tingling||Muscle contractions and cramps||Seizures|
|Personality changes||Abnormal heart rhythms||Coronary spasms|
With that in mind, some early signs of magnesium deficiency to keep an eye out for include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
One of the Best Ways to Optimize Your Magnesium Levels
If you suspect you are low in magnesium one of the best ways to consume this mineral is through organically bound magnesium, found in whole foods. As explained in the featured article:
“Chlorophyll, which enables plants to capture solar energy and convert it into metabolic energy, has a magnesium atom at its center. Without magnesium, in fact, plants could not utilize the sun’s light energy.”
In many ways chlorophyll is the plant’s version of our hemoglobin as they share a similar structure but have magnesium plugged in the middle rather than iron. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Avocados are also a good source. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.
In order to ensure you’re getting enough, you first need to be sure you’re eating a varied, whole-food diet. But there are other factors too, that can make you more prone to magnesium deficiency, including the ailments listed below. If any of these conditions apply to you, you may want to take extra precautions to make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of magnesium in your diet, or, if needed, from a magnesium supplement, in order to avoid magnesium deficiency.