Magnesium deficiency is becoming an epidemic as less than 30% of adults consume the recommended daily allowance of this vital mineral. To complicate matters, as many as 80% of all people could be mildly to severely deficient in magnesium. And since magnesium is required for more than 300 processes in the body, when deficiency occurs, you can be sure that you will begin experiencing health problems as a result.
If you are deficient in magnesium, what are some symptoms you may experience?
- Acid reflux
- Adrenal fatigue
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- Headaches (particularly migraines)
- Heart attacks
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammation, anywhere in the body
- Kidney stones
- Muscle spams
So why are so many people dealing with a lack of magnesium?
Magnesium deficiency can come from conventionally grown produce. Conventional factory farming depletes the soil of vital nutrients, which lowers key nutrient levels in the produce grown. This is caused by high use of chemical pesticides which erode trace minerals, including magnesium, in the soil. This creates fruits and vegetables that contain significantly lower levels of these trace minerals.
Consumption of packaged and processed food can contribute to magnesium deficiency. Most packaged and processed foods have been depleted of all, good, high quality nutrients. It is standard practice in the food industry to enrich products with synthetic vitamins and minerals so that they can claim some nutritional benefit. These synthetic nutrients are a poor substitute for the real, food based nutrients. The body was simply not designed to utilize synthetic vitamins the way that it can absorb natural vitamins. Add the overabundance of chemical additives found in so many processed foods such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and you have even more chemicals that have the potential to leech nutrients, such as magnesium from the body.
Eating a high amount of sugar in the diet lowers magnesium levels, as sugar forces the body to expel magnesium through the kidneys. It takes 28 magnesium molecules to help metabolize a single sugar molecule. Since so much sugar is being consumed regularly, it can quickly deplete magnesium levels, particularly if there is not enough magnesium being consumed through diet and supplementation.
Taking in too much calcium can deplete magnesium levels. It is very popular for people to take calcium supplements every day, but often these same people do not take a magnesium supplement as well. These two minerals are important to take together, because they work in tandem. Too much of one can leave you deficient in the other, and vice versa. So it is important to be sure that you are not getting too much calcium alone or it can quickly cause a deficiency in magnesium.
Certain medication can deplete magnesium levels. Some of the most common culprits are antacids, proton pump inhibitors, certain antibiotics, estrogen, cortecosteroids, some anti-psychotic medications, diuretics, asthma medications and some heart medications. If you are on any medications in these categories, be sure to talk with your doctor about the possibility of magnesium deficiency.
Consuming caffeine contributes to magnesium deficiency. Caffeine prompts the kidneys to expel magnesium no matter what the state of the body is. If a person is already deficient in magnesium, this can exacerbate the problem quickly.
Illness and injury call for additional magnesium. This is true any time your body is in need of healing from surgery, short term illness, chronic illness or an injury. Magnesium levels will be lowered as the body utilizes it in order to heal. For those who are already experiencing compromised magnesium levels, it could lead to worse deficiencies as well as slower healing times.
Chronic stress depletes magnesium. Living with chronic stress calls on the body to use a lot of magnesium in order to keep itself functioning optimally. The longer you stay in stress, the less magnesium you have, the more you need magnesium to help you relax.
The good news is that it does not have to be difficult or expensive to begin building your magnesium levels up, and as you replace vital magnesium, you should see symptoms decrease or disappear completely!
How should I begin to replace magnesium in my body?
The first way to begin replacing magnesium levels in through increasing the amount of magnesium rich foods that you eat each day. Some foods to increase in your diet can include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Yogurt and milk kefir
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
- Goat cheese
One way that you can increase magnesium is to get it transdermally, through the skin. You can do this by.
- Epsom salt soak. Pour 2 cups in a bathtub full of water or 1 cup in a foot bath, and soak for about 20 minutes.
- Using magnesium oil spray. This is easy to do, but for some the magnesium oil can be a little itchy. The good news about the itchiness is that it goes away fairly quickly.
- Use magnesium lotion. This option is great for those who skin is too sensitive to the magnesium lotion. It is much more gentle on the skin. Don’t know where to purchase? Check out my Etsy store!
If you wish to supplement orally, then look into a magnesium amino acid chelate. One good one is magnesium glycinate, which is one of the most gentle forms of magnesium on the stomach. If you are deficient, you may actually need to supplement both orally and transdermally. Just find the combination that works best for you, because every person is different, and the supplements will respond differently for each person.
By just making some simple changes in what you eat and supplementing, you can begin building up your magnesium levels so that your health will improve and your symptoms with begin to disappear!