How to Address a Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is a widespread problem and some estimates suggest that over 90% of us are deficient. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function and many other aspects of health. Some experts claim that magnesium deficiency is the single largest health problem in our world today.

There are many reasons that deficiency is so widespread in modern times (even though it wasn’t in the past). Depleted soil conditions mean that plants are lower in magnesium. Use of chemicals like fluoride and chlorine in the water supply make magnesium less available in water since these chemicals can bind to magnesium. Common substances that many of us consume daily, like caffeine and sugar, also deplete the body’s magnesium levels. So does stress.

In other words, the lucky (but small) percentage of the population that lives near the ocean (a good source of magnesium) and eats foods grown in magnesium-rich soil, drinks magnesium-rich water, and doesn’t suffer from stress or consume sugar or caffeine might be ok… but the rest of us might need some additional magnesium.

Excess calcium also plays a large part in the magnesium deficiency epidemic, which contributes to many health issues. Here’s why. While we don’t get enough magnesium, many of us get too much calcium. Calcium is added to many processed foods, dairy or dairy alternatives and even orange juice.

Each cell in the body has a sodium: potassium pump that regulates the balance of minerals inside and outside the cells. Magnesium deficiency keeps this pump from working correctly. With too much calcium, the ratios are skewed, and the pump allows too much calcium into the cells. When there is too little magnesium, even more, calcium is allowed into the cells.

The biggest factor for over-calcification was magnesium consumption. For instance, the Framingham Health Study found that consuming enough magnesium was correlated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Due to the importance of the proper calcium/magnesium ratio in the body and the function of the sodium: potassium pump, magnesium deficiency can lead to:

  1. Calcification of the arteries leading to coronary problems.
  2. Muscle spasms and cramps
  3. Anxiety & depression
  4. High blood pressure/hypertension
  5. Hormone Problems with pregnancy and PMS
  6. Sleep Problems
  7. Low Energy
  8. Bone Health
  9. Other Mineral Deficiencies that need magnesium for proper utilization, like Vitamins K, D and other nutrients.

Though the symptoms seem ominous, magnesium deficiency is actually a relatively simple deficiency for the body to resolve with the right form of magnesium. Just eating magnesium-rich foods can greatly offset the deficiency. For instance, spinach has 157mg per cup. Swiss Chard has 154 mg per cup. Pumpkin seeds have 92 mg per 1/8 cup. Almonds have 80 mg per cup. Black beans have 60 mg per half cup. A medium avocado has 58 mg. A half-cup of figs has 50 mg. And a medium banana has 32 mg. And there are many more good sources of magnesium in plant-based foods.

With all these foods rich in magnesium no one should suffer from deficiencies. So, eat your green leafy vegetables and other plant-based foods that are rich in magnesium, and you’ll enjoy optimum health.

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