What Foods Contain Magnesium?


Magnesium helps promote energy, sleep, and blood sugar and hormone balance.

When you think of magnesium, what probably springs to mind are eye twitches and muscle cramps, or perhaps a high school science experiment. But this mineral is actually vital for many processes in the body.

Thankfully, we can obtain magnesium through our diets, specifically by eating loads of plant foods — including dark chocolate.

Why do I need magnesium?

“Magnesium is a mineral that our bodies rely on to feel fit, healthy and full of vitality,” nutritionist Fiona Tuck told HuffPost Australia.

“This mineral is an important one, being that it is a co-factor for hundreds of enzyme reactions within the body. These enzymes are vital for a variety of important processes such as the conversion of energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein, not to mention healthy DNA synthesis, blood sugar balance, bone health and a calm nervous system.”

 

 

Magnesium is also required for “formation of bones, muscle contractions and blood pressure regulation”, accredited practising dietitian Alexandra Parker explained.

“Magnesium is also thought to play a role in sleep by improving our sleep quality. On average, men require around 400mg of magnesium per day and women need around 300mg per day.”

What happens when I’m magnesium deficient?

According to accredited practising dietitian Anna Debenham, magnesium deficiency is not overly common in otherwise healthy people.

“In the short-term, low intakes of magnesium won’t actually result in any noticeable symptoms as our kidneys conserve magnesium when intakes are low,” Debenham told HuffPost Australia. “However, low intakes over extended periods can lead you to become deficient.”

When this occurs, we can experience an array of negative symptoms, mostly to do with energy levels.

“Magnesium is involved in helping to regulate calcium, vitamin D, blood sugar and hormonal balance, so there is little surprise to learn that low magnesium levels can lead to chronic fatigue-type symptoms, low mood, anxiety, eye tics, insomnia, high blood pressure, muscle cramps (which can be due to low calcium too) and a poor tolerance to dealing with stress,” Tuck said.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle contractions and cramps

“When our magnesium levels are low, we can start craving stimulants such as coffee to boost our energy, or chocolate which is a natural source of magnesium (but not the sickly sweet milk chocolate commonly found in the confectionery aisle).”

Which foods contain magnesium?

“Magnesium is found in a variety of foods, but the best sources tend to be green leafy vegetables, raw cacao, nuts and seeds,” Tuck said.

“Include magnesium-rich foods at every meal to help boost magnesium. Aim to include at least two servings of vegetables with every meal and a couple of pieces of fruit daily. Reduce sugar, alcohol and processed foods to help up your magnesium intake.”

Foods which contain magnesium:

  • Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach and kale)
  • Fruit (figs, avocado, banana and raspberries)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans)
  • Vegetables (peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts)
  • Seafood (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
  • Whole grains (brown rice and oats)
  • Raw cacao
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Baked beans
  • Chlorella powder

How can I test if I’m magnesium deficient?

While you can get magnesium levels tested via a blood test, this isn’t always a reliable method.

“If your doctor suspects that your magnesium level is too low, they may order a serum magnesium test. However, this has not been properly validated as a reliable indicator of body magnesium status,” Parker explained. “Assessing magnesium status is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in bones.”

In any case, if you are in doubt over your magnesium levels, see a qualified healthcare practitioner who can look at possible signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency and trigger factors, such as high stress levels or a diet low in magnesium.

“Combined with pathology tests, this can give a better overall picture of whether you need more magnesium,” Tuck said.

 
People who have gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence and older adults have a higher risk of magnesium deficiency.

Should I take magnesium supplements?

As with most supplements, it’s best to obtain important vitamins and minerals through your diet.

“If you want to maximise your health, you can’t go past a balanced diet. Loading up on plenty of plant foods is the simplest way to get magnesium into your diet,” Debenham said.

“You can, however, increase your magnesium intake by taking supplements, and this may be beneficial for some people. It is best to talk with your doctor or dietitian about magnesium supplementing, as excessive supplementation can lead to diarrhoea and stomach upsets.”

Magnesium supplements can also be poorly absorbed and thus work better for some people than others, Tuck explained.

“Those with poor gut function or malabsorption issues may be better to start with a topical magnesium spray. This is absorbed transdermally through the skin and can be used daily,” Tuck said.

“For those people in need of a higher intake of magnesium, they may do better with a magnesium powder supplement and drink it in liquid form.”

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Why 80% of Us Are Deficient In Magnesium


We thirst for magnesium rich water.

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests – only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.

Most doctors and laboratories don’t even include magnesium status in routine blood tests. Thus, most doctors don’t know when their patients are deficient in magnesium, even though studies show that the majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium.

Consider Dr. Norman Shealy’s statements, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” The truth he states exposes a gapping hole in modern medicine that explains a good deal about iatrogenic death and disease. Because magnesium deficiency is largely overlooked, millions of Americans suffer needlessly or are having their symptoms treated with expensive drugs when they could be cured with magnesium supplementation.

One has to recognize the signs of magnesium thirst or hunger on their own since allopathic medicine is lost in this regard. It is really something much more subtle then hunger or thirst but it is comparable. In a world though where doctors and patients alike do not even pay attention to thirst and important issues of hydration, it is not hopeful that we will find many recognizing and paying attention to magnesium thirst and hunger, which is a dramatic way of expressing the concept of magnesium deficiency.

Few people are aware of the enormous role magnesium plays in our bodies. Magnesium is by far the most important mineral in the body. After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies; vitally important, yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it

In fact, there happens to be a relationship between what we perceive as thirst and deficiencies in electrolytes. I remember a person asking, “Why am I dehydrated and thirsty when I drink so much water?” Thirst can mean not only lack of water but it can also mean that one is not getting enough nutrients and electrolytes. Magnesium, Potassium, Bicarbonate, Chloride and Sodium are some principle examples and that is one of the reasons magnesium chloride is so useful.

A man with magnesium deficiency

You know all those years, when doctors used to tell their patients ‘its all in your heads,’ were years the medical profession was showing its ignorance. It is a torment to be magnesium deficient on one level or another. Even if it’s for the enthusiastic sport person whose athletic performance is down, magnesium deficiency will disturb sleep and background stress levels and a host of other things that reflect on the quality of life. Doctors have not been using the appropriate test for magnesium – their serum blood tests just distort their perceptions. Magnesium has been off their radar screens through the decades that magnesium deficiencies have snowballed.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

The first symptoms of deficiency can be subtle – as most magnesium is stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle ‘twitches’ can be the first sign. Other early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.

A full outline of magnesium deficiency was beautifully presented in a recent article by Dr. Sidney Baker. “Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (or TMJ) dysfunction. Also, one may experience chest tightness or a peculiar sensation that he can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes a person may sigh a lot.”

“Symptoms involving impaired contraction of smooth muscles include constipation; urinary spasms; menstrual cramps; difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat-especially provoked by eating sugar; photophobia, especially difficulty adjusting to oncoming bright headlights in the absence of eye disease; and loud noise sensitivity from stapedius muscle tension in the ear.”

“Other symptoms and signs of magnesium deficiency and discuss laboratory testing for this common condition. Continuing with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, the central nervous system is markedly affected. Symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness with constant movement, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and premenstrual irritability. Magnesium deficiency symptoms involving the peripheral nervous system include numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations, such as zips, zaps and vibratory sensations.”

“Symptoms or signs of the cardiovascular system include palpitations, heart arrhythmias, and angina due to spasms of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure and mitral valve prolapse. Be aware that not all of the symptoms need to be present to presume magnesium deficiency; but, many of them often occur together. For example, people with mitral valve prolapse frequently have palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks and premenstrual symptoms. People with magnesium deficiency often seem to be “uptight.” Other general symptoms include a salt craving, both carbohydrate craving and carbohydrate intolerance, especially of chocolate, and breast tenderness.”

Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body including those of the brain. It is one of the most important minerals when considering supplementation because of its vital role in hundreds of enzyme systems and functions related to reactions in cell metabolism, as well as being essential for the synthesis of proteins, for the utilization of fats and carbohydrates. Magnesium is needed not only for the production of specific detoxification enzymes but is also important for energy production related to cell detoxification. A magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every system of the body.

Water rich in magnesium can prevent magnesium deficiency
Like water we need magnesium everyday. There is an
eternal need for magnesium as well as water and when
magnesium is present in water life and health are enhanced.

One of the principle reason doctors write millions of prescriptions for tranquilizers each year is the nervousness, irritability, and jitters largely brought on by inadequate diets lacking magnesium. Persons only slightly deficient in magnesium become irritable, highly-strung, and sensitive to noise, hyper-excitable, apprehensive and belligerent. If the deficiency is more severe or prolonged, they may develop twitching, tremors, irregular pulse, insomnia, muscle weakness, jerkiness and leg and foot cramps.

If magnesium is severely deficient, the brain is particularly affected. Clouded thinking, confusion, disorientation, marked depression and even the terrifying hallucinations of delirium tremens are largely brought on by a lack of this nutrient and remedied when magnesium is given. Because large amounts of calcium are lost in the urine when magnesium is under supplied, the lack of this nutrient indirectly becomes responsible for much rampant tooth decay, poor bone development, osteoporosis and slow healing of broken bones and fractures. With vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium helps to reduce and dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones.

Magnesium deficiency may be a common factor associated with insulin resistance. Symptoms of MS that are also symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, weakness, twitching, muscle atrophy,  an inability to control the bladder, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), hearing loss, and osteoporosis.  People with MS have higher rates of epilepsy than controls.  Epilepsy has also been linked to magnesium deficiencies.[1]

Another good list of early warning symptoms suggestive of magnesium insufficiency:

  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Persistent under-eye twitch
  • Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck
  • Headaches
  • Pre-menstrual fluid retention and/or breast tenderness

Possible manifestations of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures (and tantrums)
  • Poor digestion
  • PMS and hormonal imbalances
  • Inability to sleep
  • Muscle tension, spasm and cramps
  • Calcification of organs
  • Weakening of the bones
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles and unrefreshed sleep. Headaches, blurred vision, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anxiety are also early signs of depletion.

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We hear all the time about how heart disease is the number one health crisis in the country, about how high blood pressure is the “silent killer”, and about how ever increasing numbers of our citizens are having their lives and the lives of their families destroyed by diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other chronic diseases.

Signs of severe magnesium deficiency include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Sores or bruises that heal slowly
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision that changes from day to day
  • Unusual tiredness or drowsiness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections

But wait a minute, aren’t those the same symptoms for diabetes? Many people have diabetes for about 5 years before they show strong symptoms. By that time, some people already have eye, kidney, gum or nerve damage caused by the deteriorating condition of their cells due to insulin resistance and magnesium deficiency. Dump some mercury and arsenic on the mixture of etiologies and pronto we have the disease condition we call diabetes.

Magnesium deficiency is synonymous with diabetes and is at the root of many if not all cardiovascular problems.

Magnesium deficiency is a predictor of diabetes and heart disease both; diabetics both need more magnesium and lose more magnesium than most people. In two new studies, in both men and women, those who consumed the most magnesium in their diet were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a report in the January 2006 issue of the journal Diabetes Care. Until now, very few large studies have directly examined the long-term effects of dietary magnesium on diabetes. Dr. Simin Liu of the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health in Boston says, “Our studies provided some direct evidence that greater intake of dietary magnesium may have a long-term protective effect on lowering risk,” said Liu, who was involved in both studies.

The thirst of diabetes is part of the body’s response to excessive urination. The excessive urination is the body’s attempt to get rid of the extra glucose in the blood. This excessive urination causes the increased thirst. But we have to look at what is causing this level of disharmony. We have to probe deeper into layers of cause. The body needs to dump glucose because of increasing insulin resistance and that resistance is being fueled directly by magnesium deficiency, which makes toxic insults more damaging to the tissues at the same time.

When diabetics get too high blood sugars, the body creates “ketones” as a by-product of breaking down fats. These ketones cause blood acidity which causes “acidosis” of the blood, leading to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), This is a very dangerous condition that can lead to coma and death. It is also called “diabetic acidosis”, “ketosis”, “ketoacidosis” or “diabetic coma”. DKA is a common way for new Type 1 diabetics to be diagnosed. If they fail to seek medical advice on symptoms like urination, which is driving thirst they can die of DKA.

Oral magnesium supplements reduce erythrocyte[2] dehydration.[3] In general, optimal balances of electrolytes are necessary to maintain the best possible hydration. Diabetic thirst is initiated specifically by magnesium deficiency with relative calcium excess in the cells. Even water, our most basic nutrient starts having a hard time getting into the cells with more going out through the kidneys.

Autism and Magnesium Deficiency

When dealing with autism spectrum and other neurological disorders in children it is important to know the signs of low magnesium: restless, can’t keep still, body rocking, grinding teeth, hiccups, noise sensitive, poor attention span, poor concentration, irritable, aggressive, ready to explode, easily stressed. When it comes to children today we need to assume a large magnesium deficiency for several reasons.

1) The foods they are eating are stripped of magnesium because foods in general, as we shall see below are declining in mineral content in an alarming way.

2) The foods many children eat are highly processed junk foods that do not provide real nutrition to the body.

3) Because most children on the spectrum are not absorbing the minerals they need even when present in the gut. Magnesium absorption is dependent on intestinal health, which is compromised totally in leaky gut syndromes and other intestinal problems that the majority of autism syndrome disorders.

4) Because the oral supplements doctors rely on are not easily absorbed, because they are not in the right form and because magnesium in general is not administered easily orally.

Modern medicine is supposed to help people not hurt them, but with their almost total ignorance of magnesium doctors end up hurting more than they help for many of the medical interventions drive down magnesium levels when they should be driving them up. Many if not most pharmaceutical drugs drive magnesium levels into very dangerous zones and surgery done without increasing magnesium levels is much more dangerous then surgery done with.

The foundation of medical arrogance is actually medical ignorance and the only reason ignorance and arrogance rule the playing field of medicine is a greed lust for power and money. Human nature seems to be at its worst in modern medicine when it should be at its best. It is sad that people have to suffer needlessly and extraordinarily tragic that allopathic medicine has turned its back on the Hippocratic Oath and all that it means.

For additional research on Magnesiun Deficiency, read the following articles:

Consult our Magnesium research database on the therapeutic role of magnesium in over 190 conditions:

Additional Resources

  • [2] Red blood cells are also known as RBCs, red blood corpuscles (an archaic term), haematids or erythrocytes (from Greek erythros for “red” and kytos for “hollow”, with cyte translated as “cell” in modern usage). The capitalized term Red Blood Cells is the proper name in the US for erythrocytes in storage solution used in transfusion medicine.
  • [3] J. Clin. Invest. 100(7): 1847-1852 (1997). doi:10.1172/JCI119713. The American Society for Clinical Investigation

Magnesium’s Importance Far Greater Than Previously Imagined


Magnesium's Importance Far Greater Than Previously Imagined

Calcium deficiency is a common nutritional concern, but how many folks consider the vital importance of magnesium in human health and disease?  

New research published in the journal BMC Bioinformatics indicates that magnesium’s role in human health and disease is far more significant and complicated than previously imagined.

While it is well known that all living things require magnesium, and that it is found in over 300 enzymes in the human body, including those enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP (the molecular unit of currency for energy transfer), the new studied titled, “3,751 magnesium binding sites have been detected on human proteins,” indicates that a deficiency of magnesium may profoundly affect a far wider range of biological structures than previously understood.[i]

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.

Indeed, modern medicine and nutrition fixates primarily on calcium deficiency (due, in part, to the WHO’s highly unscientific definition of osteoporosis), even in the face of accumulating peer-reviewed research indicating that excess calcium consumption can greatly increase cardiac morbidity and mortality.

Magnesium Research

Research relevant to magnesium has been accumulating for the past 40 years at a steady rate of approximately 2,000 new  studies a year. Our database project has indexed well over 100 health benefits of magnesium thus far.  For the sake of brevity, we will address seven key therapeutic applications for magnesium as follows:

  • Fibromyalgia: Not only is magnesium deficiency common in those diagnosed with fibromyalgia, [ii] [iii] but relatively low doses of magnesium (50 mg), combined with malic acid in the form of magnesium malate, has been clinically demonstrated to improve pain and tenderness in those to which it was administered.[iv]
  • Atrial Fibrillation: A number of studies now exist showing that magnesium supplementation reduce atrial fibrillation, either by itself, or in combination with conventional drug agents.[v]
  • Diabetes, Type 2: Magnesium deficiency is common in type 2 diabetics, at an incidence of 13.5 to 47.7% according to a 2007 study.[vi]   Research has also shown that type 2 diabetics with peripheral neuropathy and coronary artery disease have lower intracellular magnesium levels.[vii] Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce plasma fasting glucose and raising HDL cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes.[viii] It has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects.[ix]
  • Premenstrual Syndrome: Magnesium deficiency has been observed in women affected by premenstrual syndrome.[x] It is no surprise therefore  that it has been found to alleviate premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention,[xi] as well as broadly reducing associated symptoms by approximately 34% in women, aged 18-45, given 250 mg tablets for a 3-month observational period.[xii] When combined with B6, magnesium supplementation has been found to improve anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms.[xiii]
  • Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality: Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.[xiv]  There are a wide range of ways that magnesium may confer its protective effects. It may act like a calcium channel blocker,[xv] it is hypotensive,[xvi] it is antispasmodic (which may protect against coronary artery spasm),[xvii] and anti-thrombotic.[xviii] Also, the heart muscle cells are exceedingly dense in mitochondria (as high as 100 times more per cell than skeletal muscle), the “powerhouses” of the cell,” which require adequate magnesium to produce ATP via the citric acid cycle.
  • Migraine Disorders: Blood magnesium levels have been found to be significantly lower in those who suffer from migraine attacks.[xix] [xx] A recent Journal of Neural Transmission article titled, “Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium,” pointed out that routine blood tests do not accurately convey the true body magnesium stores since less than 2% is in the measurable, extracellular space, “67% is in the bone and 31% is located intracellularly.”[xxi] The authors argued that since “routine blood tests are not indicative of magnesium status, empiric treatment with at least oral magnesium is warranted in all migraine sufferers.” Indeed, oral magnesium supplementation has been found to reduce the number of headache days in children experiencing frequent migranous headaches, [xxii] and when combined with l-carnitine, is effective at reducing migraine frequency in adults, as well.[xxiii]
  • Aging: While natural aging is a healthy process, accelerated aging has been noted to be a feature of magnesium deficiency,[xxiv] especially evident in the context of long space-flight missions where low magnesium levels are associated with cardiovascular aging over 10 times faster than occurs on earth.[xxv] Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reverse age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans.[xxvi] One of the possible mechanisms behind magnesium deficiency associated aging is that magnesium is needed to stabilize DNA and promotes DNA replication. It is also involved in healing up of the ends of the chromosomes after they are divided in mitosis.[xxvii]

Best Sources of Magnesium In The Diet

The best source of magnesium is from food, and one way to identify magnesium-containing foods are those which are green, i.e. chlorophyll rich. Chlorophyll, which enable 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.

Magnesium, however, in its elemental form is colorless, and many foods that are not green contain it as well. The point is that when found complexed with food cofactors, it is absorbed and utilized more efficiently than in its elemental form, say, extracted from limestone in the form of magnesium oxide.

The following foods contain exceptionally high amounts of magnesium. The portions described are 100 grams, or a little over three ounces.

  • Rice bran, crude (781 mg)
  • Seaweed, agar, dried (770 mg)
  • Chives, freeze-dried (640 mg)
  • Spice, coriander leaf, dried (694 mg)
  • Seeds, pumpkin, dried (535 mg)
  • Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened (499 mg)
  • Spices, basil, dried (422 mg)
  • Seeds, flaxseed (392 mg)
  • Spices, cumin seed (366 mg)
  • Nuts, brazilnuts, dried (376 mg)
  • Parsley, freeze-dried (372 mg)
  • Seeds, sesame meal (346 mg)
  • Nut, almond butter (303 mg)
  • Nuts, cashew nuts, roasted (273 mg)
  • Soy flour, defatted (290 mg)
  • Whey, sweet, dried (176 mg)
  • Bananas, dehydrated (108 mg)
  • Millet, puffed (106 mg)
  • Shallots, freeze-dried (104 mg)
  • Leeks, freeze-dried (156 mg)
  • Fish, salmon, raw (95 mg)
  • Onions, dehydrated flakes (92 mg)
  • Kale, scotch, raw (88 mg)

Fortunately, for those who need higher doses, or are not inclined to consume magnesium rich foods, there are supplemental forms commonly available on the market. Keep in mind, for those who wish to take advantage of the side benefit of magnesium therapy, namely, its stool softening and laxative properties, magnesium citrate or oxide will provide this additional feature.

For those looking to maximize absorption and bioavailability magnesium glycinate is ideal, as glycine is the smallest amino acid commonly found chelated to magnesium, and therefore highly absorbable.


Resources

MAGNESIUM: THE SAFE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE FOR CLINICAL DEPRESSION


The science supporting the efficacy of magnesium for major depression and other psychiatric disorders, testing for magnesium deficiency, and which forms and dosages are most effective.

Depression, a life-threatening psychiatric disorder, lies at the confluence of biochemical, hormonal, immunological, and neurodegenerative variables, which intersect to generate the pro-inflammatory state with which depression is associated. A major public health issue, depression is estimated to become one of the top three contributors to the global burden of diseases within a few years. Not only does depression consume a sizable portion of health care expenditures, but it is considered to be an independent risk factor for metabolic, cardiovascular, and neuropsychiatric disorders (1).

Current treatments are predicated upon a misguided serotonin theory of depression, and are accompanied by a laundry list of deleterious side effects ranging from sexual dysfunction to homicidality (2, 3, 4). Antidepressant medications likewise significantly increase the risk of all-cause mortality, or death from any cause, as well as heart disease, leading researchers to deem this class of pharmaceuticals as harmful to the general population (5). This, in combination with data indicating that antidepressants are clinically equivalent to placebo, render them an unfavorable option (6), especially considering that they offer little in the way of resolving the root cause.

Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral

Rather than resorting to psychotropic drugs, it would be prudent to explore whether magnesium (Mg) supplementation improves depression, since this essential mineral is implicated in the pathophysiology of this disorder. Magnesium may be indeed branded as miraculous given its essentiality as a cofactor to over three hundred enzymatic reactions (7). It is second only to potassium in terms of the predominant intracellular cations, or ions residing in cells that harbor a positive charge (7).

 Magnesium is fundamentally involved in protein production, synthesis of nucleic acids, cell growth and division, and maintenance of the delicate electrolyte composition of our cells (7). It also imparts stability to the membranes of the energy factories of our cells called mitochondria (7). As articulated by researchers, “The physiological consequences of these biochemical activities include Mg’s central roles in the control of neuronal activity, cardiac excitability, neuromuscular transmission, muscular contraction, vasomotor tone, and blood pressure” (7).

The biological effects of magnesium are widespread. When deficient, magnesium is correlated with systemic inflammation. Not only does magnesium sufficiency promote cardiovascular health, relaxing the smooth muscles that comprise blood vessels and preventing high levels of vascular resistance that cause hypertension, but it also plays a role in musculoskeletal health and prevents sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures (8). Magnesium is essential to regulation of sleep (9) and vitamin D metabolism (10) as well as neural plasticity and cognitive function.

However, food processing and industrial agriculture, including monoculture crop practices and the use of magnesium-devoid fertilizers, have led to soil erosion and depletion of magnesium content in our food (7). Magnesium is likewise removed from most drinking water supplies, rendering magnesium deficiency an inevitability (11). As such, our daily intake of magnesium has steadily declined from 500 milligrams (mg) per day to 175 mg per day (7). The nutrient-poor, energy-dense dietary patterns which have come to dominate the industrialized landscape are also insufficient in the fiber-rich fruits and vegetables which contain magnesium.

Animal Studies Propose a Role for Magnesium in Depression

Preliminary animal studies pointed to a role of magnesium in depression, as depletion of magnesium in the diet of mice lead to enhanced depression- and anxiety-related behavior such as increased immobility time in the forced swim test (12). In the forced swim test, a common assay for examining depression-like behavior in rodents, the animal is confined to a container filled with water and observed as it attempts to escape. The time in which the animal exhibits immobility is used as a barometer of despair, indicating that the animal has succumbed to a fate of drowning (1).

This model is confirmed by studies showing that administering substances with antidepressant properties such as Hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John’s Wort, can significantly decrease the time the animal spends without locomotor activity (12). In addition, the time the animal spends immobilized is influenced by many of the factors that are changed as a consequence of depression in humans, such as drug-withdrawal-induced anhedonia, impaired sleep, and altered food consumption (1).

Human Studies Confirm the Role of Magnesium in Depression

There is a paucity of research on the influence of specific micronutrients in depression and results are inconsistent, but several studies have revealed low serum magnesium in this mood disorder. It is well-documented, for example, that dietary magnesium deficiency in conjunction with stress can lead to neuropathologies and symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Researchers echo this sentiment, stating that, “Dietary deficiencies of magnesium, coupled with excess calcium and stress may cause many cases of other related symptoms including agitation, anxiety, irritability, confusion, asthenia, sleeplessness, headache, delirium, hallucinations and hyperexcitability” (11, p. 362).

The Hordaland Health study in Western Norway illustrated an inverse association between standardized energy-adjusted magnesium intake and depression scores, meaning that people who consumed less magnesium had higher rates of depression (13). When the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of acutely depressed patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder or bipolar patients in a depressive episode were compared to healthy controls, the calcium to magnesium ratio was found to be elevated in the former (14). Calcium and magnesium are minerals which antagonize one another and compete for absorption, since each of these minerals is a divalent cation (a positive ion with a valence of two). Suicidality, one of the primary manifestations of severe depression, is accompanied by low cerebrospinal fluid levels of magnesium despite normal calcium levels, lending credence to the role of magnesium in positive emotionality (15).

Magnesium Effective in Bipolar Disorder, Fibromyalgia, PMS, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A formulation of magnesium aspartate hydrochloride known as Magnesiocard has been shown to invoke mood-stabilizing effects in patients with severe rapid cycling bipolar disorder in one open study label (16). In half of the patients treated, this magnesium preparation had results equivalent to lithium, the standard of care for this patient population, such that the researchers suggested: “The possibility that Magnesiocard could replace or improve the efficacy of lithium as a preventive treatment of manic-depressive illness merits further clinical investigation” (16, p. 171). When used as an adjunctive therapy in severe, therapy-resistant mania, magnesium sulphate infusions significantly reduced the use of lithium, benzodiazepines and neuroleptics, so much so that the researchers concluded that it “may be a useful supplementary therapy for the clinical management of severe manic agitation” (17, p. 239).

In another randomized trial of elderly patients with type 2 diabetes and magnesium deficiency, elemental magnesium administered at 450 mg per day was found to have equivalent efficacy to 50 mg of the antidepressant drug Imipramine in treating depressive symptoms (18). Magnesium citrate taken at 300 mg per day has likewise been shown to decrease depression and other symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia as indicated by significant decreases in the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) and Beck depression scores (19).

Data also indicate that supplementation with 360 mg of magnesium administered to women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) three times a day in the second half of the cycle is effective for so-called negative affect and other premenstrual-related mood symptoms (20). Lastly, intramuscular magnesium sulphate administered every week for six weeks has been proven to be effective in improving emotional state and other parameters in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (21).

Mechanism of Action for Antidepressant Effects of Magnesium

According to researchers, “Biological systems discussed to be involved in the pathophysiology of affective disorders and the action of mood stabilizing drugs are affected by Mg, such as the activity of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) system, corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)-, GABA- and glutamatergic (via NMDA receptors) neurotransmission and several transduction pathways including protein kinase C” (12). Not only that, but magnesium elicits similar effects on nocturnal hormonal secretion and sleep brain waves to lithium salts, which are used as a treatment modality for bipolar disorder, supporting the role of magnesium as a mood stabilizer (22).

Magnesium operates as an agonist, or a stimulatory molecule, for γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors (22). GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. By binding to the GABA receptor and replicating the effects of GABA, magnesium may alleviate anxiety. Magnesium may also elicit its antidepressant effects by acting as an inorganic antagonist of N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor function (Poleszak et al., 2007). Receptor antagonists are ligands, or substances, which bind to a receptor but inhibit its activity rather than activating it. NMDA receptors, which occur on the surface of nerve cells, are activated in part by glutamate, one of the excitatory amino acids in the brain.

Researchers state that, “Dysfunction of NMDA receptors seems to play a crucial role in the neurobiology of disorders such as Parkinson’s diseaseAlzheimer’s diseaseepilepsy, ischemic stroke, anxiety and depression,” such that, “ligands interacting with different sites of NMDA receptor complex are widely investigated as potential agents for the treatment of a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders” (22). In fact, drug inhibitors at the NMDA receptor complex, such as ketamine, demonstrate antidepressant effects (23, 24), but also induce such severe side effects that their clinical utility is limited (31). Magnesium, on the other hand, may have a similar mechanism of action by interfering with NMDA receptor activation without the adverse consequences of drug-induced NMDA receptor blockade (25).

Recent Study Proves Efficacy of Oral Magnesium for Depression

A recent open-label, randomized, cross-over trial was conducted in outpatient primary care clinics on 126 adults diagnosed with depression (26). During the intervention, 248 mg of elemental magnesium chloride per day, obtained from four 500 mg tablets, was administered for six weeks and compared to six weeks of no treatment, and subjects were evaluated for changes in depressive symptoms (26).

Magnesium administration results in clinically significant improvements in scores on both the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a validated measure of the severity of depression and response to treatment, as well as the Generalized Anxiety Disorders-7 (GAD-7), a sensitive self-reported screening tool for severity of anxiety disorders (26). Impressively, results appeared in as little as two weeks, representing the dramatic improvement that nutrient restoration can facilitate (26). Impressively, however, magnesium exerted anti-depressant effects regardless of baseline magnesium level. It also exhibited efficacy independent of the gender, age, or baseline severity of depression of subjects, as well as their use of antidepressant medications (26). The authors of the study conclude, “Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity” (26).

Populations At Risk for Magnesium Deficiency

Half of the population of the United States was found to consume less than the recommended amount of magnesium when estimated a decade ago (27). Not only is magnesium lost with certain medical conditions, but this mineral is excreted as a consequence of biological activities such as sweating, urinating, and defecating as well as excess production of stress hormones (7, 11). In addition, because low magnesium has been correlated with various disease states, increasing magnesium status may mitigate risk of these diseases.

For instance, researchers note that, “Low magnesium intakes and blood levels have been associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer” (27, p. 153). In addition, magnesium deficiency at a cellular level “elicits calcium-activated inflammatory cascades independent of injury or pathogens” (27, p. 153). Low magnesium is associated with systemic inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of most chronic and degenerative diseases.

Testing for Magnesium and Food Sources of Magnesium

While the first inclination of some physicians may be to test magnesium levels for an objective parameter of deficiency, the widely used serum or plasma magnesium does not accurately reflect magnesium levels stored in other tissues (28, 29). In addition, both this hematological index of magnesium status, referred to as total magnesium, and the erythrocyte magnesium level, indicative of the levels of magnesium inside red blood cells, are not negatively affected until severe magnesium deprivation has occurred (7). Therefore, these testing methodologies are not accurate enough to catch preliminary or subclinical magnesium deficiency.

Good food sources of magnesium include pumpkin and squash seed kernels, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, quinoa, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, potatoes, artichoke hearts, dates, bananas, coconut milk, prickly pear, black beans, lima beans, soybeans, and seafood sources including halibut, abalone, anchovy, caviar, conch, crab, oyster, scallop, snail, and pollock. However, it is important to note that magnesium can be leeched from vegetables when food is boiled, and that fiber in excess can decrease magnesium absorption by increasing gastrointestinal motility (7).

Most Bioavailable Forms of Magnesium

As elucidated by the researchers, “Over-the-counter magnesium can be offered as an alternative therapy to those patients hesitant to begin antidepressant treatment and is easily accessible without a prescription” (26). Because the soil is no longer enriched in magnesium, supplementation may be warranted. Organic salts of magnesium, including the acetate, ascorbate, aspartate, bicitrate, gluconate, and lactate forms are more soluble and biologically active over the magnesium mineral salts such as magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium sulfate (7).

However, case studies have shown remarkably rapid recovery from major depression, in less than seven days, when magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurinate are administered at dosages of 125 to 300 mg with each meal and at bedtime (11). Magnesium threonate may also be explored as a therapeutic option, as it may have better penetrance of the blood brain barrier and restore neurological levels of magnesium. This form, which is delivered directly to the brain, may improve cerebral signaling pathways and synaptic connections between nerve cells as well as support learning and memory, although the studies have been conducted in animal models (30).

Researchers report that magnesium is usually effective for treating depression in general use, and that comorbid conditions occurring in these case studies, including “traumatic brain injury, headache, suicidal ideation, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, postpartum depression, cocaine, alcohol and tobacco abuse, hypersensitivity to calcium, short-term memory loss and IQ loss were also benefited” by magnesium supplementation (11, p. 362). Barring abnormal kidney function, the Institute of Medicine sets the upper tolerable limit for intake at 350 mg of elemental magnesium per day, but there are few adverse side effects documented unless consumed in inordinate doses (26).

Before changing your medication or nutraceutical regimen, always consult a functional or integrative medical doctor for contraindications. However, given the benign nature of magnesium supplementation and the ubiquity of magnesium insufficiency, depressedpatients should be offered this as a first line strategy alongside a holistic root-cause resolution approach to treating depression

Magnesium: This Invisible Deficiency Can Harm Your Health


Story at-a-glance

  • Only about 25 percent of US adults are getting the recommended daily amount of magnesium (and even that may not be enough)
  • Magnesium deficiency may trigger 22 medical conditions, from anxiety to diabetes
  • Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness

Magnesium is a mineral used by every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles, and kidneys.1 If you suffer from unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms and eye twitches, low levels of magnesium could be to blame.

If you’ve recently had a blood test, you might assume it would show a magnesium deficiency. But 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 dubbed the “invisible deficiency.”

By some estimates, 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.2

Even more concerning, consuming even this amount is “just enough to ward off outright deficiency,” according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor.

Magnesium Deficiency May Trigger 22 Medical Conditions

Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading. 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.3

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

Dr. Dean has studied and written about magnesium for more than 15 years. The latest addition of her book, The Magnesium Miracle, came out in 2014 and in it you can learn about 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency triggers or causes, all of which have all been scientifically proven. This includes:4

Anxiety and panic attacks Asthma Blood clots
Bowel diseases Cystitis Depression
Detoxification Diabetes Fatigue
Heart disease Hypertension Hypoglycemia
Insomnia Kidney disease Liver disease
Migraine Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.) Nerve problems
Obstetrics and gynecology (PMS, infertility, and preeclampsia) Osteoporosis Raynaud’s syndrome
Tooth decay    

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. 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

The Role of Magnesium in Diabetes, Cancer, and More

Most people do not think about magnesium when they think about how to prevent chronic disease, but it plays an essential role. For instance, there have been several significant studies about magnesium’s role in keeping your metabolism running efficiently—specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation, and protection from type 2 diabetes.

Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged Americans.5 Researchers stated, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.”

Multiple studies have also shown that higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women,6 and research from Norway has even found an association between magnesium in drinking water and a lower risk of hip fractures.7

Magnesium may even help lower your risk of cancer, and a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors.8

Results from the meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor decreased by 13 percent, while the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent. The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

Surprising Factors That Influence Your Magnesium Levels

Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.

However, most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium and other minerals, so getting enough isn’t simply a matter of eating magnesium-rich foods (although this is important too). According to Dr. Dean:

“Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams.”

Herbicides, like glyphosate also act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in so many foods grown today. As a result, it can be quite difficult to find truly magnesium-rich foods. Cooking and processing further depletes magnesium.

Meanwhile, certain foods can actually influence your body’s absorption of magnesium. If you drink alcohol in excess, for instance, it may interfere with your body’s absorption of vitamin D, which in turn is helpful for magnesium absorption. If you eat a lot of sugar, this can also cause your body to excrete magnesium through your kidneys, “resulting in a net loss,” according to Dr. Danine Fruge, associate medical director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida.9 The following factors are also associated with lower magnesium levels:10

  • Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
  • Menopause
  • 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.)

Calcium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D Must Be Balanced with Magnesium

It may seem like you could remedy the risks of low magnesium simply by taking a supplement, but it’s not quite that simple. When you’re taking 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-1.11Americans 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. “What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” Dr. Dean explains.

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. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you’re K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places, like your soft tissue.

Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification that may damage your heart.

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. I typically drink one pint to one quart of fresh green vegetable juice every day, and this is one of my primary sources 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.

The substance used in any given compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits. The table that follows summarizes some of the differences between the various forms. 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. Dr. Dean explains:12

The best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test”. You know when you have too much magnesium when your stools become loose. This, in fact, may be a blessing for people with constipation… [which] is one of the many ways magnesium deficiency manifests.”

Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. 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.

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium, and has stool softening properties
Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium Magnesium sulfate/Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as laxatives. Be aware that it’s easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed
Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which like most magnesium supplements has laxative properties but is well absorbed and cost effective Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, and may be the best magnesium supplement on the market

We should never have told people to start taking vitamins.


It seems like simple, obvious advice: Eat your vegetables, get some exercise, and, of course, take your vitamins.

Or not.

Decades of research has failed to find substantial evidence that vitamins and supplements do any significant good.

Nevertheless, several shiny new pills and powders have materialized in recent years that promise to deliver health and wellness in ways no other vitamin has before.

Ritual

One of them, called Ritual , arrives at your doorstep in a bright white and highlighter-yellow box. Inside, you’ll find a 1-month supply of pills. These aren’t your grandma’s vitamins. Each pill is a clear, glass-like capsule filled with a handful of tiny white beads that float suspended in oil.

Despite the fact that each pill is practically a work of art, Ritual’s pills don’t differ much from your standard vitamin. They contain less of some traditional vitamin ingredients that decades of research have shown we don’t need, but have similar amounts of magnesium, Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin B12, iron, boron, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D as a standard Alive-brand vitamin.

Another one of these newly-designed vitamins is Care/of , whose personalized daily vitamin packets come in a box that looks like a tea-bag dispenser with the words “Hi [your name],” printed on the top right corner. Again, the ingredients don’t differ drastically from those in conventional vitamins.

No matter how colorful their packaging or personal their messaging, all of these vitamin formulations fall prey to the exact same problem: We simply do not need vitamins to be healthy. Instead, we should be getting the nutrients that vitamin-makers peddle from the foods we eat.

“We use vitamins as insurance policies against whatever else we might (or might not) be eating, as if by atoning for our other nutritional sins, vitamins can save us from ourselves,” writes science reporter Catherine Price in the book ” Vitamania.

Here’s the thing: They can’t.

Virtually any registered dietitian, doctor, public health expert , or physician will likely reiterate some version of the advice health professionals have been giving for decades. Eat real food. Eat fruits and veggies. Eat in moderation. Stay away from processed foods and sugary beverages when you can. Or, in the words of the well-known journalist and food writer Michael Pollan , “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

There’s another reason to stay away from most pills and powders: Some can be harmful. Several supplements have been linked with an increase in certain cancers , for example, while others have been associated with arisk of kidney stones .

In her book, Price suggests that this knowledge about vitamins might help us “rediscover something both surprising and empowering: that, while nutrition itself is amazingly complex, the healthiest, most scientific, and most pleasurable way to eat is not that complicated at all.”

source:businessinsider.in

Why Magnesium is the Most Powerful Relaxation Mineral Known to Man 


A DEFICIENCY IN THIS CRITICAL nutrient makes you twice as likely to die as other people, according to a study published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine.(i) It also accounts for a long list of symptoms and diseases — which are easily helped and often cured by adding this nutrient.

 In fact, in my practice, this nutrient is one of my secret weapons against illness. Yet up to half of Americans are deficient in this nutrient and don’t know it.

The Power of Magnesium and What It Can Do For You

It is an antidote to stress, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, and it can help improve your sleep.

I find it very funny that more doctors aren’t clued in to the benefits of magnesium, because we use it all the time in conventional medicine. But we never stop to think about why or how important it is to our general health or why it helps our bodies function better.

 I remember using magnesium when I worked in the emergency room. It was a critical “medication” on the crash cart. If someone was dying of a life-threatening arrhythmia (or irregular heart beat), we used intravenous magnesium. If someone was constipated or needed to prepare for colonoscopy, we gave them milk of magnesia or a green bottle of liquid magnesium citrate, which emptied their bowels.

If pregnant women came in with pre-term labor, or high blood pressure of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) or seizures, we gave them continuous high doses of intravenous magnesium.

But you don’t have to be in the hospital to benefit from getting more magnesium. You can start taking regular magnesium supplementation today and see results.

 The Relaxation Mineral

Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency.

This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.

When was the last time you had a good dose of seaweed, nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter.

That is why the list of conditions that are found related to magnesium deficiency is so long. In fact, there are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency!

Even so, this mineral is mostly ignored because it is not a drug, even though it is MORE powerful than drugs in many cases. That’s why we use it in the hospital for life-threatening and emergency situations like seizures and heart failure.

You might be magnesium deficient if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps or twitches
     Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
    ADD
  • Palpitations
  • Angina
  • Constipation
  • Anal spasms
  • Headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure
  • PMS
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Irritable bladder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reflux
  • Trouble swallowing

Magnesium deficiency has even has been linked to inflammation in the body and higher CRP levels.

In our society, magnesium deficiency is a huge problem. By conservative standards of measurement (blood, or serum, magnesium levels), 65 percent of people admitted to the intensive care unit — and about 15 percent of the general population — have magnesium deficiency.

But this seriously underestimates the problem, because a serum magnesium level is the LEAST sensitive way to detect a drop in your total body magnesium level. So rates of magnesium deficiency could be even higher!

The reason we are so deficient is simple: Many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium — a highly-processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium).

When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter, and mostly in chocolate peanut butter cups.

Much of modern life conspires to help us lose what little magnesium we do get in our diet. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites. In fact, in one study in Kosovo, people under chronic war stress lost large amounts of magnesium in their urine.

This is all further complicated by the fact that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and easily lost from our bodies. To properly absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium to get the job done.

A recent scientific review of magnesium concluded, “It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.” (ii) I couldn’t’ have said it better myself.

It is difficult to measure and hard to study, but magnesium deficiency accounts for untold suffering — and is simple to correct. So if you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned or have any of the diseases I noted, don’t worry — it is an easy fix!! Here’s how.

Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium

  • Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol
  • Learn how to practice active relaxation
  • Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium)

Eat Foods High in Magnesium

Include the following in your diet as often as you can:

Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic.

Here are two recipes to help you include magnesium in your daily diet – Coconut Peach Crumble and Grilled Salmon with Avocado & Garlic Salsa.

Take Magnesium Supplements

  • The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg.
  • Some may need much more depending on their condition.
  • Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day.
  • The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.
  • Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements).
  • Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate.
  • Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.
  • Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium.

People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision. So if you’re coping with the symptoms here, relax! Magnesium is truly a miracle mineral. It is essential for lifelong vibrant health.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

  • Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I’ve mentioned?
  • Do you currently take a magnesium supplement? What results have you noticed?
  • Which of the tips mentioned above do you plan to try?

Source:http://theheartysoul.com

Magnesium, NOT Calcium, Is The Key To Healthy Bones


The belief that calcium is the holy grail of what builds strong bones is absolutely ingrained in our society, but has no basis in reality–calcium is but ONE of the many minerals your body needs for building strong bones. Dietary intake of magnesium, not necessarily calcium, may be the key to developing healthy bones during childhood, according to new research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in the USA.

healthybones

Take a Second Peek At Calcium Claims

The mainstream engine has been promoting the use of calcium to prevent weak bones for decades. Age-old myths that calcium supplementation builds strong bones and teeth are reinforced in almost institution. But how effective is calcium supplementation?

A 2004 study showed that people with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels; researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were LDL levels and calcium build-up.

A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal women (Am J Clin Nutr 2007).


A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in postmenopausal women (BMJ 2008)

A 2010 meta-analysis showed calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with increased risk for heart attack (BMJ 2010)

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), food will always be the best source of calcium: “People who get the recommended amount of calcium from foods do not need to take a calcium supplement. These individuals still may need to take a vitamin D supplement. Getting too much calcium from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones and other health problems.”

“Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public, on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures,” said the researchers, led by Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from Zurich University’s institute of social and preventative medicine.

“It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,” they added.

Most supplements on the supplement market today contain calcium carbonate which is an inferior form of calcium and manufacturers attach a simple chelating agent like citric acid to make it more absorbable, however the end product is inferior to other calcium supplements such as calcium orotate, which is the only known form of calcium which can effectively penetrate the membranes of cells.

Another fact most people are unaware of is the myth promoted by the dairy industry that consuming pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process ACTUALLY CAUSES OSTEOPOROSIS. Milk definitively does not do a body good if it’s pasteurized.

Magnesium and Increasing Awareness

The new data from Professor Steven Abrams and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston finds that intake and absorption of magnesium during childhood are key predictors of total bone mineral content and bone density – while dietary calcium intake was not significantly associated with such measures.

Magnesium — An Essential Mineral for Heart Health


Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. Researchers have detected more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins1 giving an indication of its wide-ranging health effects. More than 300 different enzymes also rely on magnesium for proper function.

Story at-a-glance

  • Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. There are more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, and more than 300 enzymes rely on magnesium for proper function
  • Your heart has the highest magnesium requirement of any organ, specifically your left ventricle. With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart cannot function properly
  • Circulating and dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk. Serum magnesium is also inversely associated with coronary artery calcification, while higher magnesium intake is inversely associated with a potent inflammatory marker

A common estimate is that 50 to 80 percent of Americans are deficient inmagnesium, and the health consequences are significant. Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s biochemical processes, many of which are crucial for proper metabolic function. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body2,3
  • Relaxation of blood vessels
  • Muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle
  • Proper formation of bones and teeth
  • Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.4,5,6,7,8 For example, magnesium is essential for insulin release by pancreatic β-cells, and acts as a messenger for insulin action9

Magnesium and Heart Health

If you’re lacking in cellular magnesium, it can lead to the deterioration of your cellular metabolic function and mitochondrial function, which in turn can lead to more serious health problems. The scientific evidence suggests magnesium is particularly important for your heart health.

Moreover, it’s very important to have a proper balance between magnesium and calcium, but few people get enough magnesium in their diet these days, while calcium tends to be overused and taken in high quantities.

Insufficient magnesium tends to trigger muscle spasms, and this has consequences for your heart in particular. This is especially true if you also have excessive calcium, as calcium causes muscle contractions.

Magnesium also functions as an electrolyte, which is crucial for all electrical activity in your body.10 Without electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and sodium, electrical signals cannot be sent or received, and without these signals, your heart cannot pump blood and your brain cannot function properly.

As explained by Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of the seminal paper “Death by Medicine” in 2003 (identifying modern medicine as a leading cause of death in the U.S.) and the book, “The Magnesium Miracle,” your heart has the highest magnesium requirement of any organ, specifically your left ventricle.

With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart simply cannot function properly. Hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiac arrhythmia,11 cardiovascular disease (CVD) and sudden cardiac death are all potential effects of magnesium deficiency and/or a lopsided magnesium to calcium ratio.

Magnesium Associated With Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis12 published in 2013, “circulating and dietary magnesium are inversely associated with CVD risk.” This means the lower your magnesium intake (and the lower the circulating magnesium in your body), the higher your risk for CVD.

Each 0.2 millimole per liter (mmol/L) of circulating magnesium was associated with a 30 percent lower risk of CVD

A 200 milligram per day (mg/d) increase in dietary magnesium was associated with a 22 percent lower risk of fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD), but had no significant impact on CVD risk.

The inverse association between dietary magnesium intake and IHD also leveled out above 250 mg/d

The authors noted their finding “supports the need for clinical trials to evaluate the potential role of magnesium in the prevention of CVD and IHD.” The Weston A. Price Foundation has also noted that:13

“[M]agnesium shines brightest in cardiovascular health. It alone can fulfill the role of many common cardiac medications: magnesium inhibits blood clots (like aspirin), thins the blood (like Coumadin), blocks calcium uptake (like calcium channel-blocking drugs such as Procardia) and relaxes blood vessels (like ACE inhibitors such as Vasotec)”

Magnesium May Be Key for Blood Pressure Control

Recent research14,15 also suggests magnesium may be a key component of blood pressure management. Addressing your high blood pressure is important, as it is a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. As mentioned, magnesium helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, thereby reducing your blood pressure.

In this review, data from 34 clinical trials involving more than 2,000 participants was evaluated. The studies used dosages of magnesium supplements ranging from 240 mg/d to 960 mg/d.

Although the association was mild, they did find that higher magnesium intake was associated with “healthy reductions” in blood pressure. Key findings include:

A daily dose of 368 mg of magnesium, taken for three months, lowered systolic blood pressure (the upper number in the blood pressure reading) by 2 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by 1.78 mm/Hg

Those who took 300 mg of magnesium per day were able to elevate their circulating magnesium levels and lower their blood pressure in as little as four weeks

Higher magnesium intake was associated with improved blood flow

Benefits of magnesium appeared to be restricted to those who had insufficiency or deficiency in magnesium to begin with, meaning those whose blood pressure might have been caused by lack of magnesium.

According to lead author Dr. Yiqing Song, “Such suggestive evidence indicates that maintenance of optimal magnesium status in the human body may help prevent or treat hypertension.”16

To Optimize Your Magnesium, Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods

According to the authors, 368 mg of magnesium can be obtained from a healthy diet, so you do not necessarily need to take a supplement. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a New York City cardiologist, told Medicinenet.com:17

“As clinicians, we need to stress the importance of a well-balanced meal, not only for all the cholesterol lowering and sugar-modulating benefits, but for ensuring an adequate amount of magnesium in the blood,” adding that“checking magnesium levels as part of a screening for heart health may become an essential part of prevention and for treatment of blood pressure.”

Indeed, a useful way to maintain healthy magnesium levels is to make sure you eat plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables. Juicing your greens is an excellent way to increase your magnesium, along with many other important plant-based nutrients.

That said, if the mineral is lacking in the soil, it’s also going to be low in the food, and mineral depleted soils are commonplace these days unless the farmer is using regenerative methods. If you eat organic whole foods and show no signs of deficiency, you’re probably getting sufficient amounts from your food.

If you eat well but still exhibit deficiency signs (discussed below), you may want to consider taking a supplement as well. When it comes to leafy greens, those highest in magnesium include:

Spinach Swiss chard Turnip greens Beet greens Collard greens
Broccoli Brussels sprouts Kale Bok Choy Romaine lettuce

Other foods that are particularly rich in magnesium include:18,19,20,21

Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder

One ounce or 28 grams (g) or raw cacao nibs contain about 64 mg of magnesium, plus many other valuable antioxidants, iron and prebiotic fiber that help feed healthy bacteria in your gut.

Avocados

One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium, plus healthy fats and fiber and other vitamins. They’re also a good source of potassium, which helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

Seeds and nuts

Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds score among the highest, with one-quarter cup providing an estimated 48 percent, 32 percent and 28 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium respectively. Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are also good sources; 1 ounce (28 g) of cashews contains 82 mg of magnesium, which equates to about 20 percent of the RDA.

Fatty fish

Interestingly, fatty fish such as wild caught Alaskan salmon and mackerel are also high in magnesium. A half fillet or 178 g (about 6.3 ounces) of salmon can provide about 53 mg of magnesium, equal to about 13 percent of the RDA.

Squash

One cup of winter squash provides close to 27 g of magnesium; about 7 percent of your RDA.

Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices pack lots of nutrients in small packages, and this includes magnesium. Some of the most magnesium-rich varieties are coriander, chives, cumin seed, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel, basil and cloves.

Fruits and berries

Ranking high for magnesium are papaya, raspberries, tomato, cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon. For example, one medium sized papaya can provide nearly 58 g of magnesium.

Magnesium Level Inversely Associated With Arterial Calcification

In related news, your blood level of magnesium has also been shown to be inversely associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC).22 Previous studies have noted this association among patients with chronic kidney disease, but this study found the same correlation exists among general, otherwise healthy populations.

Among people who did not have any signs of symptomatic cardiovascular disease, and compared to those with the lowest serum levels, those who had the highest serum level of magnesium had a:

  • 48 percent lower risk of high blood pressure
  • 69 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • 42 percent lower risk of an elevated CAC score

A 0.17 milligram per deciliter (mg/dL) increase in serum magnesium was associated with a 16 percent reduction in CAC score. The authors concluded that:

“[L]ow serum magnesium was independently associated to higher prevalence not only of hypertension and DM2 [diabetes mellitus 2], but also to coronary artery calcification, which is a marker of atherosclerosis and a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.”

Magnesium Intake Is Also Inversely Associated With Inflammation Marker

Research published in 2014 also found that higher magnesium intake is inversely associated with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.23 CRP is a marker for inflammation and rises when you have inflammation brewing in your body. Here, data collected from seven cross-sectional studies of more than 32,900 people showed that people who had higher magnesium intake had lower CRP levels. According to the authors:

“This meta-analysis and systematic review indicates that dietary Mg [magnesium] intake is significantly and inversely associated with serum CRP levels. The potential beneficial effect of Mg intake on chronic diseases may be, at least in part, explained by inhibiting inflammation.”

Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

A primary risk factor for magnesium deficiency is eating a processed food diet, and the reason for this is because magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule. If you rarely eat leafy greens and other magnesium-rich whole foods (listed above), you may not get enough magnesium from your diet alone.

Magnesium is also lost through stress, sweating from heavy exertion, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption and use of certain prescription drugs (especially diuretics, statins, fluoride and fluoride-containing drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics), and tend to decline in the presence of elevated insulin levels.24 These are all factors that affect a large majority of people in the Western world.

Unfortunately, unlike sodium or potassium, there is no easily available commercial lab test that will give you a truly accurate reading of your magnesium status. The reason for this is because the vast majority of the magnesium in your body is found in bones and soft tissues.

Only 1 percent of it shows up in your blood. That said, some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test that can give you a reasonable estimate. Perhaps the best way to ascertain your status is to carefully evaluate and track your symptoms.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include “Charlie horses” (the muscle spasm that occurs when you stretch your legs), headaches/migraines, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue or weakness. These are all warning signs indicating you probably need to boost your magnesium intake.

More chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to far more serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms, seizures, numbness and tingling, as well as changes in personality and behavior.

Dean’s book, “The Magnesium Miracle,” contains an extensive list of signs and symptoms, which can be helpful for evaluating your magnesium status. You can also follow the instructions in her blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms,”25which will give you a check list to go through every few weeks. This will also help you gauge how much magnesium you need to resolve your deficiency symptoms.

Tips and Suggestions on Dosage

The RDA for magnesium26 ranges from 310 to 420 mg per day, depending on your age and sex. However, as noted by Dean, some researchers believe as much as 600 to 900 mg/d may be required for optimal health. Fortunately, there’s room for error. Magnesium is quite safe, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much. That said, if you have renal failure, you’ll want to avoid taking too much, as it could have adverse effects.

Dean suggests using your intestinal reaction as a marker for your ideal dose. Start out at 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, and gradually increase your dose until you develop slightly loose stools. This is your personal cutoff point. When your body has too much magnesium it simply flushes it out the other end. Magnesium citrate is known for having a laxative effect, which is why it’s recommended in this case.

When Supplementing, Balance Magnesium with Calcium, Vitamin K2 and D

One of the major benefits of getting your nutrients from a varied whole food diet is that you’re less likely to end up with lopsided nutrient ratios. Foods in general contain all the cofactors and needed co-nutrients in the proper ratios for optimal health. Essentially, the wisdom of Mother Nature eliminates the guesswork. When you rely on supplements, you need to become savvier about how nutrients influence and interact with each other in order to avoid getting yourself into trouble.

For example, it’s important to maintain the proper balance between magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the precise ideal ratios between all of these nutrients, but some general guidelines and considerations include the following:

Magnesium will help keep calcium in your cells so they can do their job better. The ideal ratio between magnesium and calcium is currently thought to be 1:1. Keep in mind that since you’re likely getting far more calcium from your diet than you are magnesium, your need for supplemental magnesium may be two to three times greater than calcium.

Vitamin K2 has two crucial functions, one is in cardiovascular health and the other is in bone restoration. By removing calcium from the lining of the blood vessels and shuttling it into your bone matrix, vitamin K2 helps prevent occlusions from atherosclerosis. Meanwhile, vitamin D helps optimize calcium absorption.

Vitamins D and K2 also work together to produce and activate Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which congregates around the elastic fibers of your arterial lining, thereby guarding your arteries against calcium crystal formation. Magnesium and vitamin K2 also complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease.

While the ideal or optimal ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 have yet to be determined, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue (whom I’ve interviewed on this topic) suggests taking 100 micrograms (mcg) of K2 for every 1-2,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D you take.

As for how much vitamin D you need, I strongly recommend getting your vitamin D level tested twice a year (summer and winter) to help determine your personal dosage. Sensible sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your levels, but if you opt for a supplement, your “ideal dosage” is one that will put you into the therapeutic range of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

Why 80% of Us Are Deficient In Magnesium


Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms and Diagnosis

We thirst for magnesium rich water.

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests – only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.

Most doctors and laboratories don’t even include magnesium status in routine blood tests. Thus, most doctors don’t know when their patients are deficient in magnesium, even though studies show that the majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium.

Consider Dr. Norman Shealy’s statements, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” The truth he states exposes a gapping hole in modern medicine that explains a good deal about iatrogenic death and disease. Because magnesium deficiency is largely overlooked, millions of Americans suffer needlessly or are having their symptoms treated with expensive drugs when they could be cured with magnesium supplementation.

One has to recognize the signs of magnesium thirst or hunger on their own since allopathic medicine is lost in this regard. It is really something much more subtle then hunger or thirst but it is comparable. In a world though where doctors and patients alike do not even pay attention to thirst and important issues of hydration, it is not hopeful that we will find many recognizing and paying attention to magnesium thirst and hunger, which is a dramatic way of expressing the concept of magnesium deficiency.

Few people are aware of the enormous role magnesium plays in our bodies. Magnesium is by far the most important mineral in the body. After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies; vitally important, yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it

In fact, there happens to be a relationship between what we perceive as thirst and deficiencies in electrolytes. I remember a person asking, “Why am I dehydrated and thirsty when I drink so much water?” Thirst can mean not only lack of water but it can also mean that one is not getting enough nutrients and electrolytes. Magnesium, Potassium, Bicarbonate, Chloride and Sodium are some principle examples and that is one of the reasons magnesium chloride is so useful.

A man with magnesium deficiency
Magnesium Torment (Deficiency)

You know all those years, when doctors used to tell their patients ‘its all in your heads,’ were years the medical profession was showing its ignorance. It is a torment to be magnesium deficient on one level or another. Even if it’s for the enthusiastic sport person whose athletic performance is down, magnesium deficiency will disturb sleep and background stress levels and a host of other things that reflect on the quality of life. Doctors have not been using the appropriate test for magnesium – their serum blood tests just distort their perceptions. Magnesium has been off their radar screens through the decades that magnesium deficiencies have snowballed.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

The first symptoms of deficiency can be subtle – as most magnesium is stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle ‘twitches’ can be the first sign. Other early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.

A full outline of magnesium deficiency was beautifully presented in a recent article by Dr. Sidney Baker. “Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (or TMJ) dysfunction. Also, one may experience chest tightness or a peculiar sensation that he can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes a person may sigh a lot.”

“Symptoms involving impaired contraction of smooth muscles include constipation; urinary spasms; menstrual cramps; difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat-especially provoked by eating sugar; photophobia, especially difficulty adjusting to oncoming bright headlights in the absence of eye disease; and loud noise sensitivity from stapedius muscle tension in the ear.”

“Other symptoms and signs of magnesium deficiency and discuss laboratory testing for this common condition. Continuing with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, the central nervous system is markedly affected. Symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness with constant movement, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and premenstrual irritability. Magnesium deficiency symptoms involving the peripheral nervous system include numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations, such as zips, zaps and vibratory sensations.”

“Symptoms or signs of the cardiovascular system include palpitations, heart arrhythmias, and angina due to spasms of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure and mitral valve prolapse. Be aware that not all of the symptoms need to be present to presume magnesium deficiency; but, many of them often occur together. For example, people with mitral valve prolapse frequently have palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks and premenstrual symptoms. People with magnesium deficiency often seem to be “uptight.” Other general symptoms include a salt craving, both carbohydrate craving and carbohydrate intolerance, especially of chocolate, and breast tenderness.”

Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body including those of the brain. It is one of the most important minerals when considering supplementation because of its vital role in hundreds of enzyme systems and functions related to reactions in cell metabolism, as well as being essential for the synthesis of proteins, for the utilization of fats and carbohydrates. Magnesium is needed not only for the production of specific detoxification enzymes but is also important for energy production related to cell detoxification. A magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every system of the body.

Water rich in magnesium can prevent magnesium deficiency
Like water we need magnesium everyday. There is an
eternal need for magnesium as well as water and when
magnesium is present in water life and health are enhanced.

One of the principle reason doctors write millions of prescriptions for tranquilizers each year is the nervousness, irritability, and jitters largely brought on by inadequate diets lacking magnesium. Persons only slightly deficient in magnesium become irritable, highly-strung, and sensitive to noise, hyper-excitable, apprehensive and belligerent. If the deficiency is more severe or prolonged, they may develop twitching, tremors, irregular pulse, insomnia, muscle weakness, jerkiness and leg and foot cramps.

If magnesium is severely deficient, the brain is particularly affected. Clouded thinking, confusion, disorientation, marked depression and even the terrifying hallucinations of delirium tremens are largely brought on by a lack of this nutrient and remedied when magnesium is given. Because large amounts of calcium are lost in the urine when magnesium is under supplied, the lack of this nutrient indirectly becomes responsible for much rampant tooth decay, poor bone development,osteoporosis and slow healing of broken bones and fractures. With vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium helps to reduce and dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones.

Magnesium deficiency may be a common factor associated with insulin resistance. Symptoms of MS that are also symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, weakness, twitching, muscle atrophy,  an inability to control the bladder, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), hearing loss, and osteoporosis.  People with MS have higher rates of epilepsy than controls.  Epilepsy has also been linked to magnesium deficiencies.

Another good list of early warning symptoms suggestive of magnesium insufficiency:

  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Persistent under-eye twitch
  • Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck
  • Headaches
  • Pre-menstrual fluid retention and/or breast tenderness

Possible manifestations of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures (and tantrums)
  • Poor digestion
  • PMS and hormonal imbalances
  • Inability to sleep
  • Muscle tension, spasm and cramps
  • Calcification of organs
  • Weakening of the bones
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles and unrefreshed sleep. Headaches, blurred vision, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anxiety are also early signs of depletion.

image

We hear all the time about how heart disease is the number one health crisis in the country, about how high blood pressure is the “silent killer”, and about how ever increasing numbers of our citizens are having their lives and the lives of their families destroyed by diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other chronic diseases.

Signs of severe magnesium deficiency include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Sores or bruises that heal slowly
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision that changes from day to day
  • Unusual tiredness or drowsiness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections

But wait a minute, aren’t those the same symptoms for diabetes? Many people have diabetes for about 5 years before they show strong symptoms. By that time, some people already have eye, kidney, gum or nerve damage caused by the deteriorating condition of their cells due to insulin resistance and magnesium deficiency. Dump some mercury and arsenic on the mixture of etiologies and pronto we have the disease condition we call diabetes.

Magnesium deficiency is synonymous with diabetes and is at the root of many if not all cardiovascular problems.

Magnesium deficiency is a predictor of diabetes and heart disease both; diabetics both need more magnesium and lose more magnesium than most people. In two new studies, in both men and women, those who consumed the most magnesium in their diet were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a report in the January 2006 issue of the journal Diabetes Care. Until now, very few large studies have directly examined the long-term effects of dietary magnesium on diabetes. Dr. Simin Liu of the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health in Boston says, “Our studies provided some direct evidence that greater intake of dietary magnesium may have a long-term protective effect on lowering risk,” said Liu, who was involved in both studies.

The thirst of diabetes is part of the body’s response to excessive urination. The excessive urination is the body’s attempt to get rid of the extra glucose in the blood. This excessive urination causes the increased thirst. But we have to look at what is causing this level of disharmony. We have to probe deeper into layers of cause. The body needs to dump glucose because of increasing insulin resistance and that resistance is being fueled directly by magnesium deficiency, which makes toxic insults more damaging to the tissues at the same time.

When diabetics get too high blood sugars, the body creates “ketones” as a by-product of breaking down fats. These ketones cause blood acidity which causes “acidosis” of the blood, leading to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), This is a very dangerous condition that can lead to coma and death. It is also called “diabetic acidosis”, “ketosis”, “ketoacidosis” or “diabetic coma”. DKA is a common way for new Type 1 diabetics to be diagnosed. If they fail to seek medical advice on symptoms like urination, which is driving thirst they can die of DKA.

Oral magnesium supplements reduce erythrocyte[2] dehydration.[3] In general, optimal balances of electrolytes are necessary to maintain the best possible hydration. Diabetic thirst is initiated specifically by magnesium deficiency with relative calcium excess in the cells. Even water, our most basic nutrient starts having a hard time getting into the cells with more going out through the kidneys.

Autism and Magnesium Deficiency

When dealing with autism spectrum and other neurological disorders in children it is important to know the signs of low magnesium: restless, can’t keep still, body rocking, grinding teeth, hiccups, noise sensitive, poor attention span, poor concentration, irritable, aggressive, ready to explode, easily stressed. When it comes to children today we need to assume a large magnesium deficiency for several reasons.

1) The foods they are eating are stripped of magnesium because foods in general, as we shall see below are declining in mineral content in an alarming way.

2) The foods many children eat are highly processed junk foods that do not provide real nutrition to the body.

3) Because most children on the spectrum are not absorbing the minerals they need even when present in the gut. Magnesium absorption is dependent on intestinal health, which is compromised totally in leaky gut syndromes and other intestinal problems that the majority of autism syndrome disorders.

4) Because the oral supplements doctors rely on are not easily absorbed, because they are not in the right form and because magnesium in general is not administered easily orally.

Modern medicine is supposed to help people not hurt them, but with their almost total ignorance of magnesium doctors end up hurting more than they help for many of the medical interventions drive down magnesium levels when they should be driving them up. Many if not most pharmaceutical drugs drive magnesium levels into very dangerous zones and surgery done without increasing magnesium levels is much more dangerous then surgery done with.

The foundation of medical arrogance is actually medical ignorance and the only reason ignorance and arrogance rule the playing field of medicine is a greed lust for power and money. Human nature seems to be at its worst in modern medicine when it should be at its best. It is sad that people have to suffer needlessly and extraordinarily tragic that allopathic medicine has turned its back on the Hippocratic Oath and all that it means.