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Is it possible that 72% of adults have a nutrient deficiency that is causing them fatigue, muscle pain and a shorter lifespan? Unfortunately, it is 100% true. Today, I want to take a look into the 9 ways in which magnesium can play a pivotal role in restoring your energy levels.
Learning about Magnesium
First and foremost, magnesium is a chemical element (you might know it from your periodic table of elements as Mg). It is a metal and it can be easily found in foods. Truth be told, there is so much that magnesium does in the body, so it is easy to find it. We can find magnesium in:
- Our Bones
- Our Nerves
- Our intercellular fluid
Key Insight: There have been at least 600 magnesium-dependent enzymatic reactions identified. Therefore, it should be no surprise that magnesium is involved in almost all of the body’s major cellular metabolic and biochemical processes. It does a lot, so we should definitely be paying more attention to it.
Because we find magnesium actually inside our cells, and not directly in our blood stream (only 1%), it makes it more difficult to test. If we can only find 1% of your magnesium levels in your blood, and if that result is already low, you can imagine just how low your actual magnesium levels might be in the other 99% that can be found inside your cells.
How common is it to be deficient in magnesium?
Unfortunately, it is super common to be deficient in magnesium. According to World Health Organization statistics, as much as 75% of the U.S. adult population does not meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Recommended Daily Intake of 420 mg (1).
How does low magnesium affect us?
As we previously saw, magnesium plays a role in so many of our body’s different process. For this reason, a deficiency in magnesium can cause a lot of problems when it comes to fatigue. Let’s think about this, what are all of the things magnesium is needed for in our bodies?
Magnesium is needed for:
- Protein synthesis
- Nerve conduction
- Muscle contractions
- Formation of energy from glucose
- Formation of energy from fats
- Regulation of blood sugar
- Control of heart rate
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Function of immune defenses
Bottom Line: Magnesium can restore our energy levels by playing a role in each of these process. When we have more magnesium in our systems, our bodies are more capable of running effectively and giving us the energy we need to take back our health.
Why are people low in magnesium?
There are two factors at work in all of this. When it comes to our magnesium levels we need to think about:
- How much we are getting
- How much we are losing
When we fall behind in one, or when we fall behind in both, we are really hurting our bodies. We will talk more later about how we get more magnesium into our systems, but here are some of the common reasons that we are losing magnesium:
- Stress – mental, emotional and physical stress can actually cause increased loss of magnesium in the system.
- Caffeine – causes a greater loss of magnesium in our bodies. This loss in magnesium actually adds to the jittery, anxious and hyper-alert way that we feel after we consume large amounts of caffeine.
- Higher Sodium Diets – when we consume more salt, our body makes us pee it out, which causes a greater loss of magnesium in our bodies.
- Medications – certain medications can reduce magnesium absorption in our guts and can accelerate the rate at which we lose magnesium.
- Vitamin D Deficiency – magnesium is actually essential for vitamin D activation and metabolism. We will lose our magnesium if we do not have enough vitamin D.
- Gastrointestinal Diseases – when our guts are not right, our ability to absorb magnesium can suffer.
- Blood Sugar – insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes can cause us to lose more magnesium from our bodies than we are getting from our recommended daily amounts. Oddly enough, magnesium actually helps maintain blood pressure levels.
- Crohn’s Disease – those with Crohn’s can have a hard time absorbing magnesium, as well. This can also apply to those with Celiac disease.
- Alcohol – people with chronic alcohol dependence are at a greater risk of magnesium loss in their bodies.
- Older Adults – older adults simply have a lower dietary intake than younger adults. There are also other factors, like changes in your body and medications, which can reduce absorption and increase excretion.
- Poor Dieting – when the foods we eat do not contain magnesium at all, we cannot get it into our systems!
- Urinary Loss – those who take medications which increase urinary magnesium loss – like thiazide diuretics for blood pressure.
- Long-Term Antibiotic Use – these can create “soaps” which prevent magnesium absorption altogether.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors – using proton pump inhibitor antacids can result in the inhibition of absorption.
- Using NPK Fertilizers – this can cause plants in our diets to have less magnesium.
Bottom Line: There are so many ways in which we might be losing magnesium, or not getting enough in the first place. When it comes to magnesium, chances are you need more in your diet. So, let’s look at some ways that we can get more magnesium into our lives.
How do you know if you are magnesium deficient?
There are some common symptoms that we should be aware of when it comes to being deficient in magnesium. There are lots of them, so sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint if it is the lack of magnesium causing these issues, or something else. Let’s look at all of the symptoms, though, so we can get a better idea of just how important magnesium is (because of the harm it can cause when we do not have enough):
- Muscular symptoms (like cramps spasms and weakness)
- Loss of appetite
- Poor memory
- A reduced ability to learn
The less magnesium we have, the more serious our symptoms can get. When we have a moderate-to-severe magnesium deficiency, we might see some of the following:
- Tingling or numbness
- Heart changes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Continued muscle contractions
- Personality changes
- Low calcium levels
- Low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH)
Bottom Line: Our magnesium levels are serious and so are the symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these, contact your local health care professional and get to the root cause of what is causing all of these issues. If it is a magnesium deficiency, follow these steps to get more magnesium into your life right away.
How To Get More Magnesium?
We have talked so much about the importance of magnesium, and how we simply are not getting enough in our lives. But how do we get more? There are a couple things I want to talk about with this and the first concerns modern farming practices.
When it comes to agricultural practices, with the use of certain fertilizers and crop rotations, we are seeing less magnesium in large farming operations of certain vegetables. So, the first distinction that we need to make is that organic is best. It is going to do a good job of ensuring that we are getting the right amount of magnesium from what we are eating.
Next, there are four big categories I want to focus on when it comes to getting more magnesium. These four categories will help us navigate away from more processed foods and will help us focus on the foods we need. They are:
- Intace whole grains
- Nuts and Seeds
The more of those foods that we consume, the better we do! So, what are some of the best foods which contain magnesium.
Adzuki beans are one of the highest typical sources of magnesium that we can find. One serving alone could have somewhere around 125 micrograms of magnesium, which is almost half of our recommended daily intake. They make for a great foundation to getting more magnesium into our bodies.
Most other legumes are great follow-ups to adzuki beans, and they include:
- Pumkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Types of fish (halibut, for example)
There are also plenty of greens which have great amounts of magnesium. One of the main ones is spinach, which has 39% of our recommended daily intake. The interesting thing about greens and our bodies has to do with hemoglobins, which are rings surrounding an iron atom.
If hemoglobin is the red part of our blood, chlorophyll is the “green” part of plant blood. Instead of iron, though, we see magnesium in chlorophyll. It is an interesting comparison, and it actually illustrates really nicely how important magnesium is in greens, as well as in our bodies.
When it comes to supplementing magnesium, and supplementing in general, it is all about balance. Of course it is important that we are eating right for our bodies, but there is nothing wrong with striking the right balance with eating right and supplementing right.
Key Insight: Eating a healthy diet is important, but we can do a lot of work to “close the gap” with supplements to help us feel better and get our magnesium levels where they need to be.
For magnesium, I recommend di magnesium malate. This is a plant-derived type of magnesium, so it is very well absorbed – that is why I included it in the Daily Reset Pack (1).
If someone is also having problems with constipation, magnesium supplements can make for one of the gentlest and safest laxatives out there. While the previous supplement I recommended does not provide those same benefits, you might want to consider a supplement like magnesium citrate for these purposes.
Bottom Line: When it comes to amounts, 100 – 300 mg daily of magnesium is a good amount for proper supplementation.
Action Steps for More Magnesium
If you want to get more magnesium into your life, you need to start with your diet. Try and work hard to incorporate more of those food sources (ideally several different ones) into your diet each and every day. They are foods you want to enjoy more of anyways. These foods can also be bolstered by supplementation while you’re at it.
Release the tension from your body and release the tension from your mind by getting more magnesium into your life today. It will help you feel better, and it will help you learn more about your body and what you need to be successful. While you are at it, learn even more about your body and take the thyroid quiz (2) today. It will give you even more of the information you need to do what’s best for your body today.
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, cure diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.