The Magic of Magnesium
Magic: an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source
Magnesium certainly exudes extraordinary power within our bodies, but most of us may be unaware of the importance it plays in our daily lives. It is estimated that up to 80% of us are deficient in this amazing mineral.
Magnesium is used in every one of our organs and is found in over 300 enzymes in our bodies. This is one busy mineral! So it makes sense that a magnesium deficiency may be linked to 22 different health conditions, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean.
At the turn of the century, people were consuming an average of 500 mg/day. Now, we are consuming an average of 175-225 mg/day, which is much too low.
It is hard to determine what our magnesium levels are through blood work because only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood. So, how can we tell if we are deficient in this critical mineral? The following questions can help you start to determine if magnesium may be a mineral you are needing more of.
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you get muscle cramps often?
- Are you lacking in energy?
- Do you have abnormal heart rhythms?
- Do you get numbness or tingling?
- Do you experience high amounts of stress?
- Do you suffer from constipation?
- Do you have frequent migraines?
- Do you suffer from PMS?
Obstacles to getting enough magnesium
Unfortunately, ensuring we’re getting enough magnesium through our food is tricky, as we have farmed many of our minerals out of the soil through commercial agriculture. Choosing organic foods will increase the amount of magnesium present in the foods, since mineral fertilizers are used, and other sustainable practices are implemented such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops and minimum tillage.
The other kicker? Magnesium is depleted by excess amounts of sugar consumption, prescription drugs and stress (physical, emotional and mental). According to Statistics Canada, Canadians are consuming over 110 grams of sugar a day! Our body can only handle 25-35 grams of sugar per day, so this puts a mighty hold on its ability to function properly. And, on average, 40% of Canadians (from ages 6-79) are consuming prescription drugs – 55% of individuals ages 45–64 and 82% of 65–79 year-olds. This equates to $29-billion annually of our health care costs.
Where to find magnesium
There are many sources of magnesium, but here are a few of my favourites.
Chlorophyll (which is to plants as blood is to humans) is a great place to start. Magnesium is the centre atom of chlorophyll, which is easily consumed and has amazing benefits for whole body health. Chlorophyll:
- is a natural deodorizer,
- kills fungus,
- takes good bacteria and fertilizes it in our bowels,
- brings iron to our organs,
- purifies the liver,
- improves milk production,
- helps sores heal faster, and
- cleanses our teeth and gums.
Other valuable sources of magnesium are Swiss chard, spinach, seaweed, avocados, bean and lentils, cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
Epsom salts baths are very relaxing and do provide magnesium sulfate that is absorbed through the skin. Foot baths are also very effective and I also had a student say they would plug their shower and put Epsom salts on the shower floor – very creative!
Magnesium supplements are another great way to increase your magnesium intake. There are various forms, all of which will be bound to another substance. The form will affect the absorption and bioavailability. Typically, the oxide form works more in the bowels and you may experience bowel tolerance much quicker than other forms, also reducing the amount of magnesium you actually absorb. Magnesium citrate is widely used but does have a mild laxative effect. The glycinate form is highly absorbable as well as the malate form, which is wonderful for individuals with fibromyalgia.
According to Dr. Dean in her book The Magnesium Miracle, on average, women and men can safely take 6-8mg/kg of body weight per day. The only side effect of too much magnesium is loose stools.
So, start exploring your local grocery store, health food store, farmer’s market or community pick-up program, such as Grand River Organics, and experiment with beautiful fresh produce in your meals to incorporate more magnesium. Also, check out your local health food store (such as Goodness Me! in Waterloo) for supplemental sources of magnesium.
Each of us is on our own healing journey. No two people are alike, and change takes time, patience, and a willingness to make a difference in our health. We learn from every experience, and every new piece of information will propel us forward onto a healthier path if we choose to step out of our comfort zone and take the necessary steps, even though they may be difficult.
Cheers to amazing health!