The Many Amazing Roles of Magnesium
Years ago, doctors would give magnesium intravenously to people who came into the hospital for things like heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and migraines. And it’s no wonder! Magnesium plays a role in so many functions of our health that it is vital to make sure we get enough. It’s a catalytic mineral that activates over 700 enzymatic processes in the body and plays an important role in digestion, the cardiovascular system, and balancing blood levels. However, 80% of the population in North America are magnesium deficient.
Magnesium deficiency can happen for a number of reasons, one of which is that our soils are no longer nutrient-rich (and therefore, are not magnesium rich). We used to get a lot of our magnesium through our produce grown on nutrient-rich soil, but because today’s practices have been so streamlined and pesticides and chemicals are now used in abundance, our soils suffer, and so do the mineral content of our fruits and vegetables. A great way to get extra magnesium is to enjoy certified organic produce grown on certified organic farms. This helps ensure that the soil quality is superb and the soil itself is still rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.
Magnesium is depleted even more by things like sugar consumption and stress – two things that are often all-too-present in today’s world. Excessive sweating, refined foods, and certain medications can all have a negative impact on your magnesium levels, as well.
Based on the above, it might seem like all of us should be deficient in magnesium – and that’s not far from the truth. But to help find out if you need more magnesium in your life, take a look at the quiz below and answer honestly. Then we’ll take about some symptoms of magnesium deficiency, why it’s so important, and how to make sure you get more of it.
Magnesium: Are You Deficient? A simple way to find out is by taking this test! Do you suffer from any of the following:
- Muscle pain and inflammation
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- Twitching eye lids
- Mild depression or anxiety
- Heart palpitations
- Restless legs
- Difficult relaxing
- Low moods
- High blood pressure
If you answered yes to even one of these symptoms, you could be magnesium deficient. Most people check off more than one, and even almost the whole list – so don’t worry if that’s you. We’re going to help you get your magnesium levels back up to the healthy range!
The items listed above are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency, but it’s certainly not a complete list. Other symptoms include irritability, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, light-sensitive eyes, tinnitus, hypertension, migraines, cravings for salt or sugar, increased sensitivity to noise, low blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Magnesium helps orchestrate over 325 bodily functions, which means that any of these things could be out of balance and sending you a signal that you are deficient in magnesium.
The good news is that by reducing and eliminating your sugar consumption and tackling your stress (including dietary, emotional, mental, physical, and any other stress), your magnesium stores will begin to get more steady and not run out as quickly. Then, by incorporating magnesium-rich foods and supplements into your diet, you can restore your magnesium levels and feel the benefit.
There are a couple areas of health that are most impacted by magnesium, including the following:
- Pain & Inflammation: magnesium plays an important role in the absorption and assimilation of calcium. It helps activate vitamins D & K to help the body assimilate the calcium where it’s needed. If you don’t have enough magnesium, the calcium and vitamins won’t be able to do their job to help quall your pain and inflammation.
- Diabetes & Glucose Metabolism: magnesium is so important to your glucose metabolism that Dr. Frank Shellenberger, a physician who specializes in a nutritional approach to diabetes, calls type 2 diabetes a ‘magnesium deficiency disease’. Ensuring you have enough magnesium can help with your glucose metabolism, and therefore with your risk of developing diabetes.
- Liver Health & Detoxification: minerals are required for every enzyme function in the body, and magnesium is no exception. It is especially important to help support healthy liver function and detoxification. Your liver is responsible for things like your metabolism, weight loss or gain, and burning fat – plus, it processes everything that comes through your body, getting rid of the waste and keeping the good stuff. It needs to be functioning optimally in order for you to enjoy good health, and magnesium can help you support the liver in doing this!
- Adrenal Health & Stress Support: your adrenal glands are the masters of your stress hormones. They hold the reserves that allow you to handle stress, or dictate your “stress-ability”. If they are depleted, your ability to handle and react to stress plummets – and you head towards burnout. Supporting them is important. Our adrenals especially need minerals to repair and perform optimally, and magnesium is a vital one. Magnesium is depleted by stress, and therefore can help support your stress response if you have it in good abundance. By taking 400-800mg of elemental magnesium daily, you can help to increase your magnesium levels and nourish your adrenal glands.
On a recent radio podcast, Janet interviewed Linda Bolton, CEO of Natural Calm Canada, about the importance of magnesium and how to get enough. Linda tells her story about how magnesium cured her misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia, and also about how her sister’s headaches disappeared when she started supplements with magnesium. Listen to the whole podcast here!
Besides lowering our stress levels, eating clean, avoiding sugar, and choosing organic produce, we can also include magnesium-rich foods in our diet to help increase our levels. Some of these foods include nuts, green leafy vegetables, unrefined salt, mineral water, seeds, legumes, and hard water. You can also try supplementing with magnesium with a supplement like Magnesium Calm, which is great as a hot drink, or try Mineral Matrix, a plethora of minerals including magnesium. All of these are great ways to increase your magnesium levels and start getting rid of your deficiency symptoms!