Monday, April 14, 2014

The Importance of Magnesium


I fear we will always be "deficient" in something due to the fact we live in a sinful world. However, that does not mean we cannot learn and grow in our knowledge of the human body and its needs. After all, God gave us an inherent thirst for learning. 

I discovered magnesium about a year ago in my search for relieving my terrible restless leg syndrome. I've had RSL since I was young, despite the fact that I've always taken calcium/magnesium supplements. The problem was, I was getting them in the wrong proportions. Contrary to what we've all been taught, the proper proportion of calcium to magnesium is more along the lines of 1:1 not 2:1. Now that I'm supplementing with magnesium, my restless legs are gone and I'm able to sleep soundly through the night. Such a relief. 

So why magnesium?? What's all the hype? Well it seems, like in the case of many other vitamins and minerals, soil depletion has caused our foods to lose much of the magnesium our ancestors were able to get from the same food. This has caused about 80% of our population to become deficient in magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency can cause:
  • Anxiety and Panic attacks- Magnesium (Mg) normally keeps adrenal stress hormones under control.
  • Asthma- Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.
  • Blood clots- Mg has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin-much like aspirin but without the side effects.
  • Bowel disease- Mg deficiency slows down the bowel causing constipation, which could lead to toxicity and malabsorption of nutrients, as well as colitis.
  • Cystitis- Bladder spasms are worsened by Mg deficiency.
  • Depression-Serotonin, which elevates moods, is dependent on Mg. A Mg-deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens, foreign substances that can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.
  • Detoxification- Mg is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminum and lead.
  • Diabetes- Mg enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without Mg insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood causing various types of tissue damage.
  • Fatigue- Mg-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are under-functioning. An early symptom of Mg deficiency is frequently fatigue.
  • Heart disease- Mg deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Mg is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart muscle requires Mg. Mg is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.
  • Hypertension- With insufficient Mg, spasm of blood vessels and high cholesterol occur, both of which lead to blood pressure problems.
  • Hypoglycemia- Mg keeps insulin under control; without Mg episodes of low blood sugar can result.
  • Insomnia- Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed without sufficient Mg.
  • Kidney Disease- Mg deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Mg deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.
  • Liver Disease leading to liver failure- Mg deficiency commonly occurs during liver transplantation.
  • Migraine- Serotonin balance is Mg-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions- Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps and chronic neck and back pain may be caused by Mg deficiency and can be relieved with Mg supplements.
  • Nerve problems- Mg alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the whole body, such as migraines, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot and toe cramps. It is also used in treating central nervous symptoms of vertigo and confusion.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology- Mg prevents Premenstrual Syndrome; prevents dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses); is important in the treatment of infertility; and alleviates premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous Mg is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mg should be a required supplement for pregnant mothers.
  • Osteoporosis- Use of calcium with Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without a balancing amount of Mg causes further Mg deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome- Mg helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.
  • Tooth decay- Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth. Material excerpted from Dean, Carolyn. The Miracle of Magnesium (2003 Ballantine Books: New York, NY), 2003. pp. 5-7.
  • Source

Many factors contribute to your "burn rate" of magnesium. This simply means how fast your body uses up magnesium. Everyone uses different amounts of magnesium but here are a few factors that will contribute to a higher burn rate:

1. Physical: intense exertion, manual labor, lack of sleep, travel
2. Chemical: drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and environmental pollutants such as cleaning chemicals or pesticides
3. Mental: perfectionism, worry, anxiety, long work hours
4. Emotional: anger, guilt, loneliness, sadness, fear
5. Nutritional: food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiency
6. Traumatic: injuries or burns, surgery, illness, infections, extreme temperatures
7. Psycho-spiritual: troubled relationships, financial or career pressures, challenges with life goals, spiritual alignment, happiness

Source

There are several ways to up your magnesium levels:

  1. Taking a magnesium supplement orally
  2. Applying magnesium chloride to your skin in either spray or lotion form
  3. Eating more magnesium rich foods

Currently I am working on incorporating all three in my life. I try to eat several magnesium rich foods daily, I supplement with 400-600 milligrams of magnesium daily and I use the magnesium cream on my legs when they start feeling twitchy at night. 

This is the supplement I am taking orally

Tomorrow I will share my recipe for a whipped magnesium body butter and spray.

And here is a list of some magnesium rich foods:

  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Halibut
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Squash seeds
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Source
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Two things to keep in mind that I know from personal experience:

  1. Taking too much magnesium all at once can cause quite the laxative affect. Start slowly and build gradually. Especially when taking an oral supplement. It is best to take magnesium several times a day and NOT all at once. The dermal version of magnesium does not tend to have the same affect since it bypasses the colon. 
  2. If you are taking a vitamin D supplement be sure you take a little extra magnesium. Vitamin D needs magnesium in order to utilize itself in the body, thus using more magnesium than you normally would need. 

For more research, I highly recommend the book "The Magnesium Miracle" by Dr. Carolyn Dean. Or you can watch a 30 minute video by her that has some excellent information.



Bethany
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