Today I want to share with you why it is so important to ensure optimal magnesium levels.
Magnesium is needed for over 600 reactions in the body including the metabolism of food, the transmission of nerve impulses, the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, muscle movements, gene maintenance, and protein formation! The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually subtle, (unless you’re severely low) which is why it’s oftentimes hard to pinpoint.
Unfortunately, studies note that about 50% of the people in the United States, Canada and Europe get far less than the recommended amount of magnesium.
We suffer from magnesium deficiency because magnesium levels in soil are lower than they used to be. In addition, the use of chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine in water make magnesium less available. Daily use of sugar and caffeine, as well as the abundance of wifi signaling, also depletes magnesium supplies within the body. , if you live a high-stress life, it is likely that you are magnesium deficient. YIKES thats 99% of my clients right there.
A magnesium deficiency can lead to a range of chronic health issues including:
1) Blood Sugar Issues
Magnesium plays an important role in helping your body convert glucose from your food into fuel. If you don’t have enough magnesium in your body, your cells can become less effective at using insulin. Symptoms that can arise is feeling hangry, sugar cravings, brain fog, low energy, mid-afternoon fatigue and difficulty maintaining ideal body weight.
A 2003 study of 219 women published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that those with higher magnesium intakes had lower fasting insulin levels (1). This means that they were more sensitive to the insulin in their bodies, so their blood sugar levels were more stable. A later study of 234 people by the Medical School of Yangzhou University, China, in 2013 concluded that ‘increasing dietary magnesium to meet the RDA has a protective effect on insulin resistance’ (2).
Magnesium is essential for proper brain function and mood regulation. Research indicates that without enough magnesium, you are more prone to depression. In one study of over 8,00 people, researchers found that those 65 years old and under with the lowest intake of magnesium had a 22 percent increased risk of developing depression (3). In a randomized controlled trial including older adults suffering from depression, a 450-milligram magnesium supplement improved mood just as effectively as an antidepressant drug (4).
If you find you are frequently experiencing anxiety for no apparent reason, you may want to try increasing your magnesium. Low magnesium levels have been attributed to an increase in anxiety. What is so incredibly fascinating is that new research shows that a diet low in magnesium changes the types of bacteria present in the gut and alters anxiety-based behaviour (5).
4) Heart Health
Studies indicate that even having a slightly reduced level of magnesium can cause severe changes in how the heart, blood vessels, blood cells, and other tissues function. Magnesium is critical for proper electrical and mechanical functioning within tissues such as nerves and muscles (such as the heart), and blood vessels.
Research has shown that low brain magnesium is evident during a migraine attack. One study found that a regular intake of magnesium reduced the frequency of migraine attacks by just over 41 percent (6). Another study found that taking a magnesium supplement daily can help prevent menstrual-related migraines (6.). This is because magnesium helps reduce estrogen dominance, a condition that can result in migraines that occur before your menstrual cycle.
Whenever I have a patient who is dealing with PMS my initial go to is magnesium. In my clinical experience magnesium can have a dramatic effect on mood swings, fluid retention, depression, breast tenderness, headaches, poor sleep, and sugar cravings.
7) Brain Fog
Research has shown that mice given extra magnesium had a better working memory, long-term memory and a greater ability to learn. According to head researcher Dr. Liu, “Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain and, in an earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells.” (7).
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
- Mid-afternoon sugar cravings
- Brain fog
- Resistant weight loss
- Insulin resistance and diabetes
- Low energy
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Hormone problems
- Sleep issues
- Low energy
- Low vitamin D
- Low vitamin K
Good sources of magnesium
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp and flax seeds
- Cocoa and cacao: Raw nibs and cacao powder are incredibly high sources of magnesium, along with dark chocolate and even cocoa powder
- Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to your bath and sit for 20 minutes
Supplement with the Right Magnesium
In addition to food sources, I often recommend additional magnesium support through supplementation. I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate (Magnesium Chelate) as magnesium citrate is poorly absorbed and often results in loose poops.
My go-to brand of magnesium is Designs for Health because their chelated magnesium is supplied by Albion Advanced Nutrition, the best mineral chelators in the industry. The reason many people do not see benefits from magnesium is they do not dose high enough. Talk to your doctor to see if a dose of 4-5x your weight (lbs) in magnesium (mg) is right for you.