Are you feeling anxious, tired, or just not well? Suffering from Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Depression, Constipation, or other diseases? It’s always smart to start with the basics when trying to improve the way you feel and prevent or heal from a disease. One of the first things you should address is mineral imbalances. Mineral deficiencies are something often overlooked, and many healthcare professionals are confused about their role in our health.
So let’s talk about one of the most important minerals used by your body – magnesium…
Magnesium deficiency can be the source of a whole host of health issues and problems. Because it’s utilized in over 400 biochemical pathways, including neurotransmitter production and ATP production (our body’s source of energy), a lack of magnesium in our body can lead to problems that healthcare providers can easily mistake for other problems. Some of these problems include: chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Why is Magnesium so important in our bodies?
Magnesium is a cofactor for many reactions in the body, including neurotransmitter production. (Neurotransmitters are how our brain communicates with our body to control every biological process that happens on a daily basis.) This is why magnesium can help someone sleep at night and ease anxiety. When your brain does not have enough Magnesium, it cannot regulate itself appropriately, and can cause anxiety and depression. I’ve seen numerous patients who have been able to lower their dosages of their anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs after magnesium supplementation. Just recently, a patient of mine came into the office saying she had stopped biting her nails after a month of magnesium glycinate supplementation. Some other symptoms that were resolved by adding magnesium included constipation, heart palpitations, food sensitivities, and PMS.
Calcium + Magnesium
There has been much hype on Calcium supplementation while overlooking Magnesium (as well as Vitamin D and K2, more on this in another post). Over the past few years, we have seen a huge increase in calcium intake amongst Americans while Magnesium is dwindling. There has been quite a bit of research recently about calcium/magnesium ratios and calcium supplementation causing heart disease and strokes while magnesium supplementation lowers the risks. So, while we may see calcium get a bad rap in the near future, the problem may really be a magnesium deficiency problem.
How do you know if you have low Magnesium levels?
First of all, Magnesium supplementation is very safe, with the only real side effect being a loose stool. Over 2/3rds of Americans are magnesium depleted, so it’s pretty safe to say if you have any of the symptoms (listed below), you’re probably deficient. On my patients, I usually recommend a Magnesium RBC test to see how much magnesium is actually in your cells. Serum magnesium testing isn’t enough, as it doesn’t show you tissue/cellular levels of magnesium. Magnesium RBC test can be ordered through direct labs or your nutritionally minded practitioner. This is one of my standard tests I order on EVERYONE. One last thing about magnesium testing… You don’t want your results to just be within normal ranges, but optimal ranges. We like to see Mag RBC results OVER 6. This will allow your mitochondria to produce enough Mag-ATP to give your neurons/cells to the energy they need to heal properly and function optimally, which stops and prevents the symptoms listed below.
Symptoms of low Magnesium:
- Heart Palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Heart Attack
- High Cholesterol
- Difficulty swallowing
- Kidney stones
- Urinary spasm
- Menstrual Cramps
- Pre-elcamsia and Eclampsia
- Insulin resistance
- Low Calcium and Potatisum
- Muscle Cramps and spasms
- Restless Leg syndrome
- Muscle soreness
- Migraine and other headaches
How can you increase your magnesium levels?
You’re in luck, dark chocolate is high in magnesium! (Now, who’s your favorite Doc?) Green Leafy Greens, Nuts and Seeds, Fish, and fruit are all also high in Magnesium. While these natural sources of magnesium are great, if you are also experiencing symptoms of deficiency, you may need to supplement with higher levels. I recommend Magnesium Glycinate to my patients because it is one of the best forms of magnesium on the market. You can find a link to my favorite brands in our online store.