According to recent studies, almost 75% of the population is deficient in magnesium. Yet, most people don’t even really know what this important mineral is and why it’s important. Magnesium is a mineral that affects the cardio-vascular system, the strength of bones and teeth and the body’s ability to regulate enzymes and hormones. To truly understand how important this mineral is, read this: Every single cell in the body requires magnesium or it will perish!
Years ago, magnesium deficiency was pretty rare. With the advent of modern processed foods, sodas, and snack foods, our diets no longer include adequate levels of magnesium. In addition to processed foods that contain no or low levels of magnesium, there are other reasons why we are seeing a deficiency in modern times.
- Many of us no longer drink natural spring water that contains minerals from the earth. Instead, we drink treated water. Fluoride binds with magnesium in water, making our bodies unable to process it. Water filters reduce all mineral content. Bottled waters usually contain no minerals.
- The natural magnesium in the top layer of soil has been depleted due to the over use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides, which means foods grown in over-processed dirt may not have the magnesium levels they should have.
- Many prescription drugs deplete magnesium reserves. Drugs known to affect magnesium include birth control pills, insulin, hypertension medication, diuretics and antibiotics.
- Carbonated sodas, sugars, alcohol and caffeine all deplete magnesium levels in the body.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are five major symptoms that occur in most people that have a deficiency.
- Unable to get a good night’s sleep, including restless leg syndrome, insomnia and trouble falling asleep.
- Lack of energy, feeling fatigued, difficulty concentrating or feeling like you’re “in a fog”.
- Muscle problems, including things like cramping, twitches, spasms, tensions or soreness. Muscle problems may lead to headaches, backaches or migraines.
- Depression or anxiety, including poor or over-reactions to situations. It could also include panic attacks, phobias, paranoia, irritability or anger.
- Nausea, cramping stomach, constipation, IBS or constant upset stomach. Even though you may feel nauseous or have an upset stomach, you may also crave sugar, carbohydrates or salt.
Other symptoms include high blood pressure, PMS, cold hands and feet, heart palpitations, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, poor dental health, hyperglycemia, vertigo, infertility, body odor and asthma. In short, a magnesium deficiency can cause problems in many human functions.
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is hard to diagnose. Because it settles in bones and muscles, a simple blood test usually doesn’t detect the problem. And because symptoms can be vague and meet a myriad of other diagnoses, doctors often overlook magnesium deficiency as a cause. Luckily, it’s very difficult to overdose on magnesium, so adding it back in can only help.
Sources of magnesium
Outside of mineral-rich spring water, food is the best source of magnesium. Items such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, sunflower seeds, black beans, squash, peanuts, cashews, chickpeas, bulgur, barley, cod, halibut, seaweeds, or kale are all good sources of magnesium.
If you want to increase your intake, it’s best to skip the pills and look for ways to increase magnesium through a topical solution. You can purchase magnesium oil sprays or simply soak in Epsom salt baths.