Magnesium is Critical for Good Health

Magnesium is Critical for Good Health

Make sure your magnesium levels are optimal.

Before we get into what makes magnesium one of the most crucial minerals used by the human body, let's go over some basic biochemistry. In order for chemical reactions to take place in the body, we need an enzyme system. The enzyme system is comprised of a protein molecule, another smaller organic compound, often a vitamin (i.e. B6, etc), and a charged mineral (i.e. zinc, magnesium, etc).

Magnesium is the most abundant mineral (divalent) found in our cells, and is a critical co-factor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium is not only essential, as backed up by over 200 clinical studies, but deficiencies of it can lead to a plethora of health issues affecting almost every organ in your body.

Potential symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

    • Muscle tension and soreness;

    • Headaches;

    • Cramps;

    • Difficulty swallowing;

    • Sensitivity to loud noise and light;

    • Insomnia;

    • Anxiety and irritability;

    • Constipation;

    • High blood pressure and heart arrhythmia;

    • Hyperactivity and restlessness;

    • Nervous system dysfunction.

Believe it or not, in the US, doctors, other than obstetricians, have typically ignored magnesium as a tool in the health box. Mounting evidence of its importance over the last decade has now led to an increase in its application.

Ask your doctor to do a magnesium loading test to get the most accurate assessment of your levels. That way you can make precise adjustments to your supplementation regimen to address the deficiency. Otherwise you are just throwing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

So how can you get magnesium naturally?

The best way of ensuring sufficient magnesium intake is through variety. A wide range of whole foods like grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables is best. As usual, green is great! The green color of vegetables comes from the chlorophyll, a molecule that contains magnesium, so go for the green.

But there a few caveats.

Ideally you will want to stick with organic foods, especially using well-composted soil. Nowadays, soil for farming that is not considered organic has lost most of its nutrient value, and will produce food that is highly deficient in nutrition. This is one of the reasons for our modern insufficient diet. It is a fact that even if you eat the required amount of food, you still may not be getting enough magnesium. Also, our modern lifestyle has the affect of decreasing magnesium levels -- especially alcohol, coffee, soy, pharmaceutical drugs, and calcium supplements.

Once you have proper magnesium levels in your system, you can expect:
    • Improved mood and sleep quality. Primarily magnesium is helping boost serotonin levels, relaxing the nervous system, and preventing stress through hormone balance, so it brings a healthy calm to the body.

    • Enhanced muscle development and flexibility. Magnesium promotes IGF-1 growth factor production to increase muscular gains. It also calms tense muscles, preventing cramp and improving flexibility, and reduces lactic acid, reducing post-exercise pain.

    • Increased energy levels. Magnesium is integral to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the source of the cell's energy. 

    • Improved body pH. Magnesium alkalizes the body and restores pH balance.

    • Improved enzyme function. Magnesium is essential to most enzyme function.

    • Better bone health and strength. Magnesium is essential to bone health and to fixing calcium properly. Without it, calcium supplements are worse than useless, they may be counter-productive. Mg stimulates calcitonin, a hormone critical to calcium absorption, as well as suppressing parathyroid, a hormone that breaks down bone.

    • Benefits dental health. Low levels of mg damages teeth due to an unhealthy balance of phosphorous and calcium. 

    • Enhanced sugar metabolism. Magnesium aids insulin secretion and without sufficient levels, glucose is not transferred to cells causing build up in the blood, neuropathy and tissue damage.

    • Better hydration.

Magnesium can be readily and effectively supplemented.

If you have a magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplements can be useful. Look for magnesium chloride, magnesium taurate, or chelated magnesium supplements. If you are looking for energy production enhancement (i.e. better energy levels), combine it with acetyl-l-carnitine for optimal results.

Generally the rda is around 350mg of elemental magnesium, but up to 1000mg per day is safe. Studies show that magnesium deficiency is common in modern societies, especially due to top soil nutrient depletion. Make sure to check with your doctor first to establish your dietary requirements and to check your health (liver or kidney disease particularly.) Aim for ideal levels instead of just minimum requirements.

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The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.

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