Magnesium Deficiency affects 80% of Americans and foods and herbs high in magnesium
Statistics show that 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium or have magnesium deficiency. There are few factors and health conditions that can contribute to magnesium deficiency such as unhealthy digestive system (Crohn's disease, leaky gut), diabetes, unhealthy kidneys (excessive loss in magnesium via urine), age (as you get older your body cannot absorb some nutrients and you are more likely to become deficient in magnesium and vitamin B12), alcoholism (60% of alcoholics have low magnesium level), diuretics, cancer and heart medications (which can deplete body from magnesium).
Magnesium deficiency can lead to more than 22 health conditions such as joint issues, diabetes, PMT, blood clot, depression, fatigue, migraines, insomnia, kidney problems, liver disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, tooth decay, anxiety or panic attacks, and heart disease. Magnesium also plays an important role in the body by relaxing muscles, boosting energy, protein synthesis and utilizing other nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, protein, fiber and zinc.
Magnesium and heart disease:
Carolyn Dean, in her book called "The Miracle of Magnesium” points out how since 1930s, doctors have been prescribing magnesium for heart disease. In fact, the results of several major studies have showed that IV magnesium (in right dosage) could reduce the chances of death by more than half in patients that suffered from acute myocardial infraction (heart attack).
Although magnesium is absolutely necessary for healthy function of heart muscles, some of the prescription drugs such as diuretics and heart drugs can deplete the body from magnesium and potassium. When there is not enough magnesium in the body, heart drugs such as digoxin can become toxic.
Since prescription medicines such as heart drugs (digoxin), antibiotics, diabetic medications, diuretics, osteoporosis and anti-malarial drugs can interfere with magnesium absorption, magnesium supplements should be taken 2 hours after or before taking these medications.
Magnesium and diabetes:
There are more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body that are utilized by magnesium and one of them happens to be healthy blood sugar levels. As mentioned before, one of the main reasons behind magnesium deficiency is insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Magnesium and Detox:
Magnesium is a great mineral for detoxification of cells and getting rid of heavy metals and toxins including lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, beryllium, and nickel.
In an amazing study, researchers found out that magnesium can neutralize the lethal injection of sodium oxylate. In this research, rabbits were injected with toxic dosage of sodium oxylate (a toxin that can quickly cause death, 100% of times) and some of the rabbits were immediately given high dosage of magnesium. Researchers discovered that 80% of rabbits that were immediately given high dosage of magnesium survived the test.
Also, in a drug trial called ISIS (the goal of the trial was to disapprove the benefit of magnesium), IV magnesium was given to heart patients few days after the heart attack happened (and magnesium was not the first drug that was given to patients) and the results showed widespread damage and blood clotting. Yet in another similar study, 200 patients were given IV magnesium right after they had heart attack and the results showed 74% lower mortality rate.
In a study, researchers at the Neurology Department of Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey discovered that taking magnesium can help to prevent and reduce migraine attacks. The people in the study suffered from two to five migraine attacks per month and were given 600 mg magnesium a day (well-absorbed form of magnesium). After three months, the group that was taken magnesium on a daily basis had significantly less or less severe migrant attacks. The research team concluded that "These results have made us think that magnesium is a beneficial agent in prophylaxis of migraine without aura and might work with both vascular and neurogenic mechanisms."
Magnesium and cancer:
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who were taking dietary magnesium had lower risk of colorectal cancer. In fact, the researchers discovered that every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake can reduce the risk of colorectal tumors by 13%.
Although many still believe that calcium rich foods like dairy are necessary for healthy bones, the studies suggest that almost 60% of the magnesium in your body is stored in bones and magnesium plays an important role in absorption of calcium and vitamin D. In fact, Dr Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., in a piece published in Huffington Post, says that magnesium is absolutely necessary for bone’s health.
Dr Carolyn Dean mentions that many people know that vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, but they don’t know that magnesium is absolutely necessary for converting vitamin D into its active form and helping calcium absorption. She also explains that too much vitamin D and lack of magnesium can create even more magnesium deficiency and increase the risk of chronic disease such as heart problems and muscle pains.
“When you take high doses of Vitamin D and if you are already low in magnesium, the increased amount of metabolic work drains magnesium from its muscle storage sites. That's probably why muscles are the first to suffer magnesium deficiency symptoms -- twitching, leg cramps, restless legs and charlie horses. Angina and even heart attacks affecting the heart muscle are all magnesium deficiency symptoms” says Dr Carolyn Dean.
Also, in a recent study, the leading author of the study, Steven A. Abrams MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says that “Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium. Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium”.
Calcium to Magnesium ratio:
As mentioned, calcium to magnesium ratio happens to be a very important issue in America diet. Statistics suggest that people who have a high calcium to magnesium ratio in their diet (Ca/Mg:4/1), have the highest record of heart attack among middle aged men. The problem with our diet is that the dietary emphasis is mostly on high calcium intake (especially for women who are at risk of osteoporosis) without sufficient amount of magnesium.
The recommended dietary ratio of calcium to magnesium is 2 to 1; however some researchers believe that the American ratio of calcium to magnesium is actually 6 to 1. Current research suggests that the ratio of calcium to magnesium should be 1 to 1.
As good as magnesium is for keeping your body healthy, overdose of magnesium will have the opposite effect and can cause magnesium poisoning. So consult with your personal doctor to establish the right ratio of magnesium to calcium for your body.
Foods high in Magnesium:
Organic raw cacao beans, dark organic green leafy vegetables (chlorella and spirulina), organic nuts and seeds (cashews, pumpkin seeds and sesame), seaweed, herbs and spices (basil, Chinese parsley, cilantro, caraway seed, cardamom, celery seeds, rosemary, saffron, oregano, thyme, red clover, burdock root, yellow dock and chaparral) and wild salmon are great source of magnesium.
In fact, chlorella and spirulina are great superfoods rich in chlorophyll and nutrients and great for detox. Organic brands of chlorella and spirulina are preferrable.