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Are you deficient in this critical nutrient? Magnesium

magnesium Magnesium is an element abundantly found in soil and is the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, oxygen, and silicon. Sea water also contains a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is so critical to health, it is found at the center of chlorophyll, the protein in plants that harnesses the energy of the sun. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.

Some function of magnesium include:

1) Production and utilization of fat, protein, and carbohydrates along with DNA.
2) Cell division and growth
3) Immune support and inflammation regulation
4) Maintenance of sodium and fluid balance
5) Muscle contraction and relaxation.
6) Cellular communication

Most people are deficient in magnesium for a variety of reasons.

1) The typical SAD diet (Standard American Diet) of fast food and sugar snacks washed down by soda does not contain much in the way of nutrition, let alone sufficient magnesium. White flour, white rice, and white sugar are void in magnesium. Additionally, magnesium is used in many of the reactions to digest carbohydrates and sugar, therefore is not available for other basic body functions.

2) The amount of magnesium in soil where even the best organic vegetables grow is limited. After years of farming, so many of the vital minerals are gone. In fact, a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed a 40% drop in the nutrient content of vegetables since 1950! (1).

3) Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda all have a diuretic effect causing mineral loss through urine. Alcohol also wastes magnesium. Our ancestors drank spring water, well water, or water from streams and rivers, thus enjoying the high mineral content of those sources. Lastly, the phosphoric acid in soda binds magnesium in the gut therefore it is not absorbed.

4) Pharmaceuticals cause nutrient loss, led by diuretics that waste magnesium, calcium, and potassium. I check intracellular levels of these minerals and they are low the vast majority of the time.

5) Society is crazed with the idea that calcium intake prevents osteoporosis and fractures(not true). Therefore, everyone and their mother loads up on calcium which leads to a magnesium deficiency. Paleo people consumed mag to cal at a 2:1 ratio.

6) Chronic stress leads to magnesium depletion. The constant release of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine along with the hormone cortisol depletes magnesium. The deficiency of mag leads to anxiety, sleep loss, and depression.

Magnesium supplementation:

• Lowers blood pressure – Archives of Med Res. 2014 Jul;45(5):388-93.
• Raises HDL – Archives of Med Res. 2014 Jul;45(5):388-93.
• Lowers triglycerides – Archives of Med Res. 2014 Jul;45(5):388-93.
• Lowers CRP – Arch of Med Res.2014 May 325-30.
• Improves blood sugar control. Diabetes Med. 2006 Oct;23(10):1050-6.
There are many different types of magnesium such as citrate, malate, glycinate etc. Each form is associated with different health claims according to medical authorities. I think they all have benefit except magnesium oxide. This version is cheap and poorly absorbed. Stay away from magnesium supplements containing mag oxide. Magnesium gel, cream, and oil are other ways to absorb this nutrient.

Check with your doctor to see if magnesium supplementation is right for you.  Patients with kidney disease need close monitoring. The main side effect of oral magnesium is diarrhea.

1) soils.wisc.edu/facstaff/barak/poster_gallery/minneapolis2000a

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