In order to maintain optimal health, our bodies need important nutrients, vitamins and minerals. We can get many of these from the foods we eat…if we consistently eat healthy foods. And often, due to soil nutrient depletion and other factors, our bodies need more vitamins and minerals than what we can feed it. Magnesium is one of those minerals we need, and it’s a vital but often overlooked mineral. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that two-thirds of people don’t get enough magnesium in our diets (link here).
What does magnesium do for us? And how can we get enough of it in our diets?
What Can Magnesium Help Me With?
- Energy Production – magnesium activates ATP, which fuels our cells
- Nerve Function
- Regulates calcium and potassium in the body
- Helps muscle function properly – it also helps the heart muscle to function well
- Helps bones develop and helps prevent bone loss by maintaining bone density
- It is an electrolyte that helps to maintain balanced fluids in the body
- Helps to regulate blood pressure
- Helps to regulate cholesterol
- Helps repair and create DNA and RNA
What Are Some Symptoms or Signs of Magnesium Deficiency?
Symptoms of low magnesium include…
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Muscle Cramps (I get massive cramps when I’m low on magnesium that are relieved by increasing my daily dose of magnesium) – magnesium is a natural calcium blocker and helps your muscles relax after contracting. If your body doesn’t have enough magnesium, muscle cramping happens more often.
- Lethargy and Fatigue
- Digestive Problems
- Memory and Cognitive Problems
- Muscle Spasms
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Lack of Focus
- Sleep Problems
- Numbness and Tingling in the Extremities
- Eye Twitching or Involuntary Movements
- Lowered potassium levels
- Lowered calcium levels
What’s the Best Magnesium Supplement I Can Take?
Magnesium Glycinate is tolerated really well by many people. It’s made from magnesium and the amino acid, Glycine. It is absorbed easily. You can find Magnesium Glycinate here.
Magnesium oil (made with magnesium chloride) and Epsom Salts (made with magnesium sulfate) can also help with transdermal magnesium intake.
Magnesium oil is referred to as “oil” because it feels slippery when applied to the skin. It’s not oil (buy magnesium oil spray here). Magnesium oil is usually applied to the skin as a spray, but magnesium chloride can also be applied to the skin in a lotion, called Magnesium Lotion (you can buy magnesium lotion here).
Epsom salts can be used as salts in a bath or in a foot soak (we really love this brand – you can buy it here).
Use caution with magnesium citrate. It’s a form of magnesium that can ease constipation, due to the citric acid it contains. However, it can reduce ceroplasm levels, which can lead to mineral and electrolyte imbalances and deficiencies. And because it pulls water into the intestines, it can lead to dehydration if too much is taken.
Foods High in Magnesium
- Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
- Dark Chocolate
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grains
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Almond Butter
- Peanut Butter
How to Test for Low Magnesium
- RBC Blood Test
- Test urine for magnesium levels
- EXA Test, which tests magnesium levels in cells. Cell samples from the mouth are used for this test, and it’s generally expensive and not well-known among some doctors and health practitioners.
- Adverse Symptoms
Things that Deplete Magnesium
Stress – Stress causes your kidneys to excrete magnesium more quickly. Chronic stress is especially problematic. Some things you can do to minimize chronic stress is to practice consistent, gentle exercise (walking, hiking, yoga and swimming are good forms of gentle exercise). In addition, gardening and meditating are very helpful in alleviating stress. (Headspace is a helpful app you can install on your phone to help you with guided meditation). Lastly, getting optimal sleep can help mitigate stress.
Caffeine – Caffeine is a diuretic that can cause you to flush more magnesium out of your body through urine.
Soda – Soda contains phosphoric acid, which can block the absorption of magnesium in the body.
Excessive Sugar – High sugar intake can cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium more quickly.
Zinc and Calcium – Taking too much zinc and calcium can inhibit magnesium.
Soil Depletion of Minerals – Due to all the soil nutrient depletion over time, there are less minerals in the soil that can be taken up by the foods we eat. Therefore, when we eat healthy foods, we don’t get as much magnesium from that food as we used to get.
Glyphosate (Chelates minerals) – Studies show that glyphosate, a well-used herbicide, binds up minerals like magnesium so they are taken from the soil and can’t be used by plant food. Since glyphosate is able to chelate minerals in the soil, can it chelate important minerals our bodies rely on to function properly with? (see this link)
Existing Health Problems – Health problems such as kidney disease or Celiac disease, which can make it more difficult for the body to absorb magnesium.
Prescription Medications – Prescription medications like diuretics, Proton Pump Inhibitors and antibiotics can lower magnesium levels in the body. PPIs are especially problematic and can lead to a condition called hypomagnesaemia because they can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb magnesium (see this link).
Magnesium Dosing Precautions: Please make sure you consult with your doctor or GP before supplementing with magnesium is you have kidney problems, are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have a heart block or if you have a bleeding disorder.