Magnesium may be 12 on the Periodic Table, but it’s Number 1 when it comes to health.
This mighty mineral is central to more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including maintaining muscle and nerve function, holding heart rhythm steady, and keeping bones strong. Roughly 60 percent of the magnesium in our bodies exists in our bones, 39 percent in our cells, and only 1 percent in our blood.
Hundreds of clinical studies document the need for magnesium. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of Americans get far less than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 300 to 400 milligrams (mg) a day. Many experts recommend twice that amount. Most American women get only 175 to 225 mg per day, men 220 to 260 mg.
This deficiency is easy to explain. Virtually all of the magnesium in sugar cane is lost when it’s refined to white sugar, and 80 to 96 percent of the magnesium in wheat is removed when it’s refined to white flour. In addition, half the magnesium in a particular food is lost during cooking.
To make matters worse, the high-fat North American diet tends to suppress the body’s ability to absorb magnesium. In contrast, the whole-food-based Asian diet provides 500 to 700 mg of magnesium per day.
A magnesium deficiency can trigger a host of ailments. Here are 15 common ones:
– Fatigue – one of the key indicators of an Mg deficiency
– Anxiety attacks – Magnesium helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control
– Diabetes – Without Mg, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells, leading to a buildup of glucose and insulin in the blood that can cause tissue damage
– Heart disease – the heart is a muscle, and muscles need magnesium. Patients in hospitals are given Mg for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia
– Insomnia – the production of melatonin, which aids sleep, is disturbed without sufficient Mg
– PMS – magnesium can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent cramping during periods
– Osteoporosis – studies of older adults have found that magnesium helps maintain bone density
– Hypertension – insufficient Mg can raise cholesterol, which can lead to high blood pressure
– Blood clots – Mg plays a key role in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin
– Tooth decay – an Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva that can damage teeth.
– Depression – the production of serotonin, which improves your mood, depends on Mg
– Migraine – a proper serotonin balance also prevents migraine headaches
– Fibromyalgia – this condition, along with chronic neck and back pain, can be relieved with Mg supplements.
– Asthma – a magnesium deficiency increases histamine production and bronchial spasms
– Hypoglycemia – Mg keeps insulin under control; low blood sugar can result from a lack of Mg
One way to get more magnesium into your diet is to eat whole grains, spinach and other greens, nuts, and seeds. If you opt for magnesium supplements, be sure to check the fine print on the back of the bottle to determine the actual amount of magnesium present, which frequently is much lower than the front of the bottle would lead you to believe.
A word of caution: Taking too much magnesium often leads to diarrhea. People with kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements without consulting a doctor.
This article appears in my book, The Best of Get Healthy & Fit News 2007. Right now we have 243 copies left in stock. Get your own FREE copy of this potentially lifesaving book today!