Lately it seems like everywhere I turn I am seeing another article about the benefits of magnesium. The headlines are quite attention-grabbing. They use words like “miracle”, “magic”, and “most powerful relaxation mineral available!” So of course I had to look into it!
Here is a startling fact I learned: Up to 80 percent of the U.S. population is suffering from magnesium deficiency! The reasons we are so deficient are pretty simple:
1). Most of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium.
2). Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, soda, prolonged or intense stress, antibiotics and other drugs.
3). Magnesium is poorly absorbed and easily lost from our bodies.
But there is some GOOD news amongst the bad….all of this can be very easily fixed! (More on that later.)
After reading probably a dozen different articles about this critical nutrient, I’m no expert, but I am definitely convinced there is something to this “miracle”. The advice from medical experts and the testimonials from people who have experienced the benefits are very impressive.
So I present, for your consideration, 15 ways that magnesium can improve your health.
Anxiety and panic attacks
Magnesium helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control and also helps maintain normal brain function.
Magnesium helps relax the muscles of the bronchioles in the lungs.
Magnesium is utilized in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions, including regulating healthy blood sugar levels. Magnesium deficiency is directly linked to causing insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to diabetes.
Maintaining healthy magnesium levels in your body can greatly decrease your risk of developing cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that for every 100-milligram (mg) increase in magnesium intake, a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer drops by about 13 percent.
Magnesium helps keep bowels regular by maintaining normal bowel muscle function. Milk of magnesia has been used for decades to help constipation.
Inadequate magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels, and antidepressants have been shown to raise brain magnesium.
Because of its strong elimination potential, magnesium is considered a powerful detoxifier as well. Heavy metals, environmental chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, and various other toxins are greatly diminished inside the body when magnesium is present.
Since magnesium is required by the body to properly digest foods, supplementing with it can help alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort and disease. Magnesium helps break down food and assimilate nutrients. Magnesium also aids in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, as well as triggers the healthy production of bile in your liver.
Magnesium deficiency is common in those with heart disease. An astounding number of studies have documented the effectiveness of IV magnesium in helping prevent cardiac damage and even death following a heart attack. The reason for this is that 40 to 60 percent of sudden deaths from heart attack are the result of spasm in the arteries, not blockage from clots or arrhythmias!
Without adequate magnesium, blood vessels constrict and blood pressure increases.
A few studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help prevent migraine headaches or at least shorten their duration and reduce the amount of medication needed. People who have migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium.
Nerve Problems and Muscle Spasms
Magnesium helps eliminate peripheral nerve disturbances that can lead to headaches, leg and foot cramps, gastrointestinal cramps, and other muscle aches and pains.
We’re always hearing about how important calcium is for maintaining healthy bones, but magnesium is even MORE important. In fact, magnesium must be present for calcium and vitamin D to do their job. Not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium may play a role in the development of osteoporosis.
Preeclampsia is characterized by a sharp rise in blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia may develop seizures, or eclampsia. Magnesium, given intravenously in the hospital, is the treatment of choice to prevent or treat these complications.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Scientific studies suggest that magnesium supplements may help relieve symptoms associated with PMS, particularly bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain, and breast tenderness.
If you, or someone you care about, suffers from any of the symptoms above, don’t worry, according to Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center, it really is an easy fix!
- Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol.
- Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of 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
- 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.
– – -Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide.
– – -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. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any health program.
If you are dealing with any of the above issues…magnesium might be worth looking into. Because based on the numbers, MOST of us could use more than we are getting!