Remember back in the 1980s, when calcium first became a big deal?
Calcium supplements were all the rage. Doctors came on the nightly news to talk about the dangers of osteoporosis. Milk sales spiked because, after all, it “does a body good.”
Suddenly, everything had added calcium, from ice cream to antacid tablets (actually, they always had some calcium, but they started promoting it so they could get on the bandwagon).
Calcium Is Not The Whole Answer
No one mentioned that calcium by itself is toxic. It forms deposits in your joints and muscle tissues. It makes your arteries stiff and brittle and messes with your digestion.
Also, calcium molecules are too large to be absorbed properly. They need to join with a “wedge” molecule to penetrate your colon wall, or else the calcium by itself is unavailable to the bones that need it.
All the while, the mineral everyone needs every day was being depleted from our food supply and overlooked by most supplement manufacturers. As a result, people suffer daily from things that are entirely preventable, like:
- Urinary spasms
- Muscle cramps
- Insatiable thirst
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Difficulty focusing
- Heart arrhythmia and palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Behavioral disorders
- Breast tenderness
- Even PMS
All of these conditions have at least this one thing in common – magnesium deficiency. And yet, nobody’s talking about it.
Magnesium Is Everywhere In Your Body
If you were to take a blood test to determine mineral deficiency, magnesium wouldn’t show up, even if you were critically low. It’s not even part of the screen because less than one percent of your body’s total magnesium content is in your blood stream. Yet, it’s one of the most important minerals in your body.
Improves Nutrient Utilization
Magnesium is the “wedge” that helps calcium (and for that matter, Vitamin C) absorb into your body. It helps prevent calcium deposits, gallstones, and kidney stones. In fact, it helps with the absorption of most minerals.
Speaking of kidneys, one of the central care protocols for patients with kidney disease is balancing calcium, phosphate, and iron. An imbalance in any direction damages your kidneys. Magnesium stabilizes all of them (the problem is that doctors make more money when they treat you with chemicals than when they use magnesium, but I can’t get into that rant here).
Manages Blood Sugar
It is a central part of blood sugar management, partnering with insulin. In fact, it takes as much as 50 molecules of magnesium to process every molecule of sugar you consume.
Relaxes Muscles and Prevents Cramping
Magnesium saturates into your muscle and nerve tissue, helping them to relax and prevent cramping. The most important muscle it supports is the heart. The entirely circulatory system uses magnesium to manage blood pressure, heart rate, and consistent flow. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack.
In the same way, magnesium is especially effective in the management of migraine headaches. Not only does it manage neurotransmitter function and the release of pain-relieving hormones, it also helps to govern blood pressure by releasing the constriction of blood vessels.
Soothes Your Nervous System
It has been shown to manage other nervous functions, including twitching, hyperactivity, irritability, and other mental health issues. It has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.
Magnesium has also been used to treat insomnia, as it helps to relax your muscles, lower your heart rate, and even quiet a troubled mind. (Side note: if you drink or take prescription drugs to relax at night and want to be free from addiction, try using magnesium citrate. Better yet, load up on spinach.)
If you use coffee to kick yourself into gear and stay awake during the day, I recommend adding more magnesium to your diet or taking a supplement. Magnesium works with adenosine triphosphate to manage your energy levels. Some of my friends like to drink reishi mushroom-based coffee because of how it regulates energy throughout the day. If you’re not a coffee drinker, magnesium is a safe and effective way to get approximately the same result.
Clearly, magnesium is enormously important to your entire body. There are over 300 known biochemical functions that require it.
Where Can We Get More Magnesium?
I would rather see you get as much of it as you can from organic vegetables, but as I mentioned before, our food supply is being depleted of nutrients. Much of it has to do with poor soil management – after all, the minerals we need come from the earth. So what can we do to maintain a healthy nutrient balance?
There are some great mineral supplements available on the market, but there are just as many useless ones, so you have to be discerning. Magnesium chelate is the kind found naturally in our food and is usually bound to amino acids, so it is highly absorbable. Magnesium citrate is also safe. In either case, it’s almost impossible to overdose because excess magnesium flushes out through your urine, but if you start to experience diarrhea, chances are you’ve reached your maximum intake.
Also, it is easy to get yourself out of balance when you take large amounts of any supplement without properly balancing it with other nutrients. Calcium without magnesium is toxic, but too large doses of magnesium without an appropriate amount of calcium can also cause you problems. That’s my biggest gripe with supplements – no nutrient operates independently of others, and if you don’t know how to balance them appropriately, you can really hurt yourself by loading up on one to the exclusion of others.
Your best bet is still to get as much as you can from fresh vegetables, especially spinach and bananas.
- A banana a day will keep five different kinds of doctors away.
- Spinach is a magnesium gold mine (as are swiss chard, brussels sprouts, and broccoli). Did you notice that all of these are also widely-known as great sources of non-dairy calcium, too?? The beauty of God’s creation is that, if your food provides you with one key nutrient, it usually also provides the right amounts of the corresponding nutrients (e.g., calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium).
- Black beans are an easy win for boosting your magnesium.
- Avocado is one of the best foods you can eat (it’s also a great source of healthy fat).
- Nuts and legumes are also good (especially almonds, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts).
- Dairy and poultry have some magnesium, but they come with a whole other list of health concerns, so I’m cautious about recommending them.
I can’t precisely diagnose your condition without an in-person evaluation, but this is a good place to start. The point is, magnesium is available to you, and if by eating more magnesium-rich foods you find that some of your physical pain is being reduced, then that’s a win, even if it doesn’t solve everything. If you live in the Naples area, I invite you to visit my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road and let’s talk about your health goals.
Magnesium deficiency is a problem nearly everyone deals with at some point. Take a few seconds to share this article on your favorite social media outlet; it might surprise you who needs to read it today.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas