Magnesium 101: The Need-To-Know Facts About This Hard-Working Mineral

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Magnesium is one of the body’s hardest-working nutrients. It is so central to the proper functioning of every system in the body that Dr. Carolyn Dean has actually written a best-selling book on the topic. If you’re ready for everything you ever wanted to know about magnesium, check out her tome, The Magnesium Miracle.

For everyone else, there are just a handful of key points you need to know: why magnesium matters, whether you’re getting enough, what too little looks like, and how to correct a deficiency. Call it the Coles Notes. Here it is:

Why Magnesium

Every cell of our bodies relies on magnesium. It’s known as the ‘the spark of life’ because without magnesium, the very process by which our cells derive energy would cease to function. 

Magnesium is pivotal to hundreds of biochemical reactions across all bodily systems: for our nerves, brain, muscles, bones, organs and hormones, magnesium is essential.

Unlike many nutrients, magnesium is depleted every twelve hours. It must be constantly replenished. As a supplement, it’s non-toxic; any excess is safely eliminated. While too much magnesium is almost never a problem*, too little is a health disaster.

Who’s Not Getting Enough

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. and best-selling author of The Magnesium Miracle, most North Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium. Dean recommends 500 mg daily as a healthy starting place, in line with the intake common for adults 100 years ago.

Health Canada sets a lower bar, suggesting 350 mg/day as an adequate intake. Even based on this modest figure, up to 65% of us fall short. Today, many Canadian adults are getting only 200 mg/day.

Why We’re Deficient

Lifestyle, processed foods and modern agriculture’s depleted soils are to blame. We just aren’t getting enough magnesium through food. What we do ingest is often poorly absorbed or depleted, for example by medication, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and stress.

Low-levels of magnesium are dangerous given Canadians’ high intake of calcium through dairy, fortified foods and supplements. Calcium and magnesium need to be in balance for the chemistry of our cells to function properly. When calcium is in excess, we experience symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Common Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Stress, nervousness, panic-attacks and anxiety
  • Depression and irritability
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Insomnia and poor quality sleep
  • Chronic neck and back pain, stiff, sore muscles
  • Restless legs, muscle spasms, cramps and twitching
  • Sugar-cravings and weight-gain
  • Abnormal heart rhythm and palpitations
  • PMS and hormonal imbalances
  • Constipation, indigestion and acid reflux
  • Tooth grinding

Conditions Linked to Low Magnesium

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Blood clots
  • Bowel disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cystitis
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing loss
  • Hypertension and heart disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kidney disease and kidney stones
  • Low bone density and osteoporosis
  • Lyme disease

Research shows that supplementation with an effective, absorbable magnesium can bring freedom from symptoms of deficiency and improve conditions linked to low magnesium levels.

If there’s just one thing you add to change your health, make it magnesium!

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