Along with being a mineral, magnesium is also an electrolyte. “Sports drinks” (aka sugar-filled scams) claim to contain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium because we sweat away these important nutrients during exercise, and their deficiency is what leads to the common problems athletes face, such as muscle cramping. Electrolytes (especially magnesium) do so much more than treat and prevent muscle cramps.
Electrolytes are what allow us to be living, electrical beings. They are responsible for all electrical activity (and thus brain conductivity) in the body. Without electrolytes like magnesium, your muscles can’t fire, your heart cannot beat, and your brain can’t receive signals. Simply put, we need magnesium to stay alive. As soon as we don’t have enough of it, we start to lose the energy and conductivity that keep us going. Technically, as soon as we become deficient, we slowly begin to die, getting more aches and pains day by day, feeling worse year after year.
Magnesium is a cofactor in over three hundred reactions in the body, necessary for transmission of nerve impulses, temperature regulations, detoxification in the liver, and formation of bones and teeth. However, magnesium shows its true power in cardiovascular health. The Weston A. Price Foundation writes, “Magnesium alone can fulfill the role of many common cardiac medications: magnesium inhibits blood clots (like aspirin), thins the blood (like Coumadin), blocks calcium uptake (like calcium channel-blocking drugs such as Procardia) and relaxes blood vessels (like ACE inhibitors such as Vasotec) (Pelton, 2001).”
Nearly EVERYONE has signs of magnesium deficiency, but we don’t realize it…
Anything that makes you tense and tight could potentially be caused by magnesium deficiency. If you can’t relax or you can’t stop — think magnesium! Full-blown health problems can even be tied back to this crucial mineral. Most people with ANY chronic disease or issue benefit greatly from magnesium supplementation therapy. This is because chronic illness = stress, and stress depletes magnesium. The following are conditions that are likely to have magnesium deficiency as a part of the puzzle:
“Patients with diagnoses of depression, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, tremor, Parkinsonism, arrhythmias, circulatory disturbances (stroke, cardiac infarc- tion, arteriosclerosis), hypertension, migraine, cluster head- ache, cramps, neuro-vegetative disorders, abdominal pain, os- teoporosis, asthma, stress dependent disorders, tinnitus, ataxia, confusion, preeclampsia, weakness, might also be consequences of the magnesium deficiency syndrome.” – Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Amazingly, the article referenced above even mentions neuro-vegetative disorders as a possible result of magnesium deficiency. This would include comas. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences can immediately lead to complete depletion of magnesium stores, which might help explain why we see comas after traumatic accidents/injuries. As I mentioned above, magnesium is an electrolyte responsible for brain signals and conductivity. Without magnesium, people in comas may not be able to come to and resume conductivity. Many people with diabetes — also listed as another possible consequence of magnesium deficiency — also fall into diabetic comas. Could this be a factor in diabetic comas as well? Further research may be warranted.
Do you crave chocolate? Why, when people are stressed out, do they go for chocolate? Chocolate is one of the highest food sources of magnesium.
Magnesium is associated with so many disorders that Dr. Carolyn Dean of the Nutritional Magnesium Association has devoted an entire book to discussing how she has treated thousands of patients for a wide array of diseases, with magnesium as the primary component. Her book, The Magnesium Miracle, is a must-read if you have any of the magnesium deficiency symptoms above, or any health problems in general, as there is likely a magnesium component to everything. Check out “50 Studies Suggest That Magnesium Deficiency Is Killing Us.”
Here’s the short(ish) version: Number one, we’re being poisoned by our food. Number two, we’re increasingly stressed out. We’re running our engines on high to keep up with life, and it’s draining us. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium, and stressful experiences lead to depletion of magnesium stores. Number three, we’re eating more sugar than ever. For every molecule of sugar we consume, our bodies use 54 molecules of magnesium to process it. Fourth, low levels in the soil and modern farming techniques deplete stores of magnesium. And lastly, magnesium is depleted by many pharmaceutical drugs and estrogen compounds such as oral contraceptives, antibiotics, cortisone, prednisone, and blood pressure medications (Drug-induced nutrient depletion handbook, Pelton, 2001). Diuretics in coffee and tea (caffeine) also raise excretion levels. Oh and by the way — flouride competes for absorption with magnesium!
Nowadays, nearly everyone is magnesium deficient — no test needed. Refined/processed foods are stripped of their mineral, vitamin, and fiber content. These are anti-nutrient foods because they actually steal magnesium in order to be metabolized. When consumed, they demand that we supplement with magnesium or we are destined to break down eventually due to severe deficiency. As I said, sugar is the worst offender; every single molecule of sugar you consume drags over 50 times the amount of magnesium out of your body.
Well, what if you eat a healthy diet? Processed products are not the only foods that are devoid of magnesium. In general, magnesium has been depleted from topsoil, diminishing dietary intake across the board. What’s worse, our need for magnesium has increased, thanks to the high levels of toxic exposure we come across in our daily lives (air, water, plastics, chemicals — the list goes on!). The soil is depleted of magnesium because of the pesticides that are sprayed on all conventionally grown plants and worldwide pollution that affects even the cleanest fields. Pesticides also kill those beneficial bacteria/fungi that are necessary in order for plants to convert soil nutrients into plant nutrients usable by humans.
Eat magnesium-rich foods grown on organic soil.
Apply magnesium oil to your skin!
Soak in epsom salt baths. This will provide not only magnesium, but sulfur for your liver as well.
Magnesium is widely distributed in plant and animal foods and in beverages. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are good sources. In general, foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Some types of food processing, such as refining grains in ways that remove the nutrient-rich germ and bran, lower magnesium content substantially.
Tap, mineral, and bottled waters can also be sources of magnesium, but the amount of magnesium in water varies by source and brand (ranging from 1 mg/L to more than 120 mg/L).
Approximately 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium consumed is typically absorbed by the body. Stress tends to decrease magnesium absorbtion.