Moment for Health: Mighty Magnesium

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What are your magnesium levels?

That’s hard to know. Only 1 percent of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood, and most doctors and laboratories don’t’ even include it in their blood work. Yet it is the most critical mineral required for our cells to function correctly.

Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body, including the brain. It holds a vital role in hundreds of enzymatic systems and functions related to the cell’s energy center. This includes muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is essential for the synthesis of proteins, as well as utilization of fats and carbohydrates. It is also involved in energy production related to cell detoxification.

As part of the structural development of bone, it works by actively transporting calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes which is important for nerve function, muscle contraction and normal hearty rhythm.

Many people associate magnesium with bone health, with two parts calcium to one part magnesium. Yet over 50 percent of magnesium is found in our bones, and if deficient, can lead to bone loss.

The 2:1 ratio is up for debate since researchers have found that Paleolithic diets show a 1:1 for magnesium and calcium in the cave man’s diet. This can be a significant piece of information when you consider that our soil is already lacking in many minerals, including magnesium due to over farming and pesticide use on the land.

Our water is heavily chlorinated and fluoridated for water purification which causes magnesium to bind to those chemicals and leave our water deficient in the mineral.

With magnesium already low in our diet, adding extra calcium to foods along with taking calcium supplements could mark a heavy burden for the body to cope with the imbalance that occurs for these minerals.

The adult human body holds about 25 grams of magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health (found on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ website).

Since magnesium hides out in bones and inside cells, assessing whether there is a deficiency is difficult. Even with other means of measuring, the best way is to look for symptoms, which of course could be very broad.

How do you know if there is a magnesium deficiency?

It’s different for everyone. The most subtle first symptoms are leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle “twitches,” since magnesium is also stored in soft tissues. It also could include migraines, loss of appetite with nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness; and cramps in the neck, shoulders and vertebra. Even the cardiovascular systems can show symptoms such as palpitations, heart arrhythmias and angina.

When supplementing with magnesium, know your different types. There are many but the distinction is bioavailability. For better absorption into the cells and to avoid loose stools, magnesium glycinate, aspartate, taurate and orotate are the best.

Besides supplementations, focusing on eating healthy organic foods can bring the body the needed magnesium. Also, keep the small intestines healthy and clean with purified water and eating organic fruits and vegetables so better absorption of all nutrients is possible.

Probiotics also improve intestinal health along with the absorption of magnesium. Black pepper helps as well. The piperine found in black pepper increases the nutrient absorption in the gut.

Avoid drinking caffeine daily, eating too much processed foods, and consuming too much alcohol since these things take away minerals from the body. Diuretics and medications such as birth control also deplete magnesium. It’s best to consult your physician if taking medications when concerned with your magnesium levels.

Vegetables and nuts are the best sources of magnesium since chlorophyll has a magnesium in the center of its cells (our blood cells are almost identical to chlorophyll with an iron molecule in the center instead).

Fruits and whole grains also contribute a fair amount. Eat dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale; sunflower and pumpkin seeds, lentils and beans, brown rice, avocado, bananas, and unprocessed dark chocolate.




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