I was at Pilates this morning and the subject of magnesium came up.
No one realised its importance. I recall posting a blog about magnesium and Cancer some months ago. So, here to remind myself and hopefully help someone out there is my rough take on Magnesium for general health.
Have a read….
Magnesium – For Better Health
Magnesium is perhaps one of the most overlooked minerals. This is especially important because, an estimated 80 percent of the western world is deficient in it. The health consequences of deficiency can be quite significant, and can be aggravated by many, if not most, prescription drugs.
Magnesium—One of Your Most Important Minerals
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for good health, performing a wide variety of functions, including but not limited to:
- Activating muscles and nerves
- Creates energy in your body at a cellular level
- Helps digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Acts as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
- Assists neurotransmitters like serotonin (affecting your mood and behaviour)
Nowadays few people get enough magnesium in their diet. Meanwhile, calcium tends to be overused via excessive dairy consumption.
This can cause more harm than good, as it’s important to have a proper balance between the two minerals.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.
“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” (Dr Carolyn Dean)
Magnesium is thus critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead potential problems.
How much Calcium and Magnesium ?
Over the past 30 years, women have been told to take calcium to avoid osteoporosis.
Many foods have also been fortified with extra calcium to prevent calcium deficiency among the general population. Despite such measures, osteoporosis has continued to climb.
“I’ve heard statistics like a 700 percent rise in osteoporosis in a 10-year period, even while taking all this calcium,” Dr. Dean.
“The myth that’s been created about calcium is that we need twice as much calcium as we do magnesium. Most of the supplements reflect this. We’ve got a situation where people are taking 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and maybe a few hundred milligrams of magnesium.” (Dr Dean
In actual fact the ratios need to be about the same. For example 400mg of Calcium and 400mg of Magnesium.
Also Address Your Vitamin K2 and D Ratios
Calcium and magnesium also needs to be balanced with vitamin D and K2.
These four nutrients balance together, with one supporting the other.
Lack of balance between them is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Part of the explanation for these side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you’re K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places.
Similarly, if you take vitamin D, you need to also take vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D overload and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification.
Magnesium and vitamin K2 complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease. So anytime you’re taking any of the following: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all the others into consideration as well, since these all work together with one another.
Dietary Sources of Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium. You can typically get enough calcium from your diet by eating nuts, seeds, deep green leafy vegetables, and dairy products. Homemade bone broth is another excellent source. Simply simmer leftover bones over low heat for an entire day to extract the calcium from the bones. (See my Blog Entry on Bone Broth)
Magnesium, on the other hand, tends to be a bit scarcer in our modern food supply.
Magnesium has been farmed out of the soil much more than calcium. A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 mgs of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 mgs. So, you do need to supplement with magnesium
Industrial agriculture has massively depleted most soils of beneficial minerals like magnesium. If you find biologically-grown organic foods (grown on soil treated with mineral fertilizers), you may still be able to get a lot of your magnesium from your food.
Chlorophyll has a magnesium atom in its centre, allowing plants to use the suns energy. Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium.
Juicing your own vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.
However, most foods grown today lack magnesium and other minerals. Herbicides and pesticides block the plant’s natural uptake and use of minerals.
As a result, I believe it would be unusual for anyone to have access to foods that are rich in magnesium, which is why I believe it is wise to consider a magnesium supplement.
This is my personal strategy even though I am lucky to have access to highly nutrient rich organic food.
Which Form of Magnesium Is Best?
Be aware that there are several different forms of magnesium.
The best sort is Magnesium glycinate a form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.
The cheapest sources of magnesium are magnesium oxide supplements, which are poorly absorbed by your body. A mere four percent is absorbed when you take this kind. The remaining 96 percent goes through your intestines, which is why magnesium oxide tends to have a laxative effect, which can be useful if you are challenged with constipation.
Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulphate that can absorb into your body through your skin.
Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.(Which I use – a lot !!)
The reason for the wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market is because the magnesium must be bound to another substance. There’s no such thing as a 100% magnesium compound supplement.
The substance used in any given supplement compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits:
|Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency||Magnesium oxide is a type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties|
|Magnesium chloride / Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium||Magnesium sulphate / Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as a laxative. Be aware that it’s easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed|
|Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium||Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind|
|Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties||Magnesium threonate is a newer, type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its ability to penetrate cell membrane|
Prescription Drugs may reduce your Magnesium
Two major lifestyle factors that deplete your body of magnesium are stress and prescription drugs.
Unfortunately, the conventional medical approach for dealing with stress often leads to prescription drugs, making your situation progressively worse.
- The scenario is very basic.
- You go to your doctor. You’re under massive stress.
- Massive stress means you’re losing magnesium.
- You’re burning magnesium out of your body, because it helps support your adrenal glands. It helps keep you away from anxiety and depression.
- It helps relax your muscles.
- If you’re all tight and stressed, your magnesium is being lost, which makes the muscles of your blood vessels tighten. That tightness is going to cause increased blood pressure.
- Your doctor… will say, ‘Oh, your blood pressure is elevated. We’ll give you a diuretic.’
- The diuretic will drop the fluid level in your body to take the pressure off your blood vessels, so your blood pressure will drop. But diuretics also drain off your magnesium… A month later you come back, and the doctor finds your blood pressure’s even more elevated. Yes—because you’ve just lost more magnesium! Your doctor then puts you on a calcium channel blocker.
- Now, they have that part right. They know that without magnesium, your calcium is going to become elevated and will tighten up your blood vessels, so they try to block calcium. But they don’t know that magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker.
- Your doctor may also put you on another blood pressure drug… So, you go away with three drugs now. After two or three months, you come back and have blood taken to make sure that drugs aren’t hurting your liver… All of a sudden, your cholesterol and blood sugar is elevated.
- What does the doctor say? ‘Oh, we just caught your cholesterol and blood sugar in time. We can put you on medication for that.’
But they didn’t catch them; they caused them. And …So it goes…
The more you deplete your magnesium, the more out of control your cholesterol will get, because magnesium helps balance the enzyme that creates cholesterol in your body, helping your cholesterol levels. Interestingly, statins destroy the same enzyme that magnesium balances.
Magnesium deficiency is also a common symptom in diabetes, so drugs may inadvertently contribute to diabetes simply by depleting your body of magnesium.
Take 400mgs per day of Magnesium Glycinate for better health.
End of Message.