Magnesium, what I know about it, and why I love it.

What is Magenesium

Magenesium is a mineral that we get from food, and it is the second most prominent mineral in our human body.

What is it’s role in our body

“Magnesium activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, translating to thousands of biochemical reactions happening on a constant basis daily. Magnesium is crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation” (1). Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm (3).  THat’s a lot of big fancy words that I got from various websites, but I hope what it highlights is that magenesium is a crucial mineral that often gets overlooked, as the focus is on other minerals like sodium and calcium.

How do we know if we are definicient in it

Magnesium is the second most common deficient mineral in people in the developed world (Vitamin D is first).   Magnesium can be tested by your doctor to see if you are deficient.  There are a variety of methods to test vitamins and minerals in the body (blood, clinical status, and saliva), and it is important to assess all three ways because currently one method is not considered more accurate than another.  For example, if blood values are tested this doesn’t demonstrate if you overall mageniusm status is low.  The body will leach magneiusm to keep blood levels regular, leaving areas like bones is a magnesium deficient state.  Here is also a good checklist you can take to see if you are potentially deficient:  http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/need-more/. A person deficient in magensium can experience higher blood pressure, decreased insulin sensitivity (experiencing issues related to high glucose in the blood, inability to use our blood sugar), and neuronal issues.  Research studies have even demonstrated Osteoporosis can be stimulated when magnesium is kept too low.  Signs and symptoms of a deficiency may be:  cramps, seizures, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, headaches, insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue.  Here are some of the diseases associated with low magnesium:

  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome  (magnesium is a key mineral involved in energy production).
  • ADHD
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Migraine
  • Cluster headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Type II diabetes
  • Asthma

Where can I find it in food
Some of the foods highest in magnsium are:  almonds, spinach, cashews, shredded wheat, soymilk, black beans, edamame, peanut butter, avocado, etc.  The challenge with getting magnsium (and other vitamins and minerals) is that only about 30-40 % (in this case) is absorbed!

So to put that into perspective if 420 mg is the daily recommended intake, and only 40 % is absorbed, a middle aged woman would need to eat about 1200 mg of magenesium a day:

Breakfast:
2 packages of oats (80 mg)
1/2 cup raisins (23 mg)
1 medium apple (9 mg)
2 tablespoons peanut butter: (50 mg)
20 cashews (80 mg)

Lunch:
20 almonds (80 mg)
2 cups spinachs (160 mg)
1 cup plain soymilk (60 mg)
1 cup black beans (120 mg)
= 420 mg.

Dinner:
Baked potato (45 g)
Chicken  3 ounces (22 g)
1 cup avocado (44 mg)
swiss chard 2 cups (150 mg)
.25 cups of pumpin seeds (190 mg)

So if we ate that perfectly all day we would absorb close to the 420 mg required per day!  As you can see our diet needs to be extremely varied, and consistent to get all of this mageniusm by food.  I don’t know about you but I don’t pack perfectly balanced meals 3 times a day 7 days a week.

Should I supplement with it?

If needed, but don’t take too much!  THis can cause gastric upset and diahhrea.  A standard dose is considered 200-400 mg.  You can also take magnesium as a cream (which is good for you if you know you already have poor digestion and absorption abilities).  The recommended intake for an average adult is about 420 mg per day.  Please remember that recommended intake is based on the premise that this amount will prevent deficiency, but this isn’t necessarily the level for optimal functioning and health.

I started taking Magnesium when I was working with my nutritionist Laura.  She recommended this brand to me: https://well.ca/products/natural-calm-magnesium-citrate_88762.html?gclid=CP2An-28isQCFcZafgodz3wAPg  and I have been taking it ever since!  The significant changes I noticed when supplementing was feeling very relaxed, calm, and sleepy when taking it, and more restful sleeps.  As a person who sweats and is active all day I know that my minerals tend to get depleted, and I feel much better overall when I keep my levels of minerals like magnesium high!

Remember,  I am not a Naturopath, or a Doctor.  This article is meant to make you aware about mageniusm and speak to your Naturopath if you think it’s something you should supplement with 🙂

(1) http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/symptoms-signs/
(2)  http://examine.com/supplements/Magnesium/
(3) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
(4) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75

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