10 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE A MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
Have you got a twitch in your eyelid or muscles? Are you lacking in energy? These are just a few signs that you may be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium plays a vital role in the human body and is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions and it is necessary for every major biological process. It is super, super important in energy metabolism. So why would we think we could be deficient in this mineral? Well, here are 11 signs that you could be deficient in magnesium:
- Magnesium and muscle spasms and weakness
- Inadequate magnesium results in being unable to absorb the available calcium effectively, resulting in muscle spasms (calcium causes muscle to contract)
- Too little magnesium ends in too much calcium getting into the cell. With the correct balance, the muscles are happy!
Magnesium and Bone Health
We’re always told how important calcium is for our bone, cartilage and joint health. This is true but it cannot be absorbed without adequate magnesium. Calcium then ends up being unable to enter the cells which results in too much calcium in certain areas such as knees and hips. This is one reason why you may be experiencing aching joints, arthritis and the deterioration of cartilage. When balancing calcium and magnesium, also keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D need to be considered. Magnesium improves calcium and phosphorus absorption and also mineralizes bone, enhancing strength. Vitamin D Absorption: Magnesium is needed for Vitamin D to turn on calcium absorption- this is why it is also important to get enough magnesium when taking Vitamin D (or magnesium levels can become even more depleted).
Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease
Magnesium has a cardio-protective role in cardiovascular disease. It is well known that a diet rich in magnesium may lower blood pressure, particularly in older individuals. Your heart is the largest muscle in your body. It will have to work harder if your magnesium: calcium ratio is incorrect. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium leads to calcification which can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Magnesium and Anxiety & Depression According to the Medical Journal of Australia, depression and anxiety disorders are among the most common illnesses in the community. According to Beyond Blue, in any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety. That’s a lot of people. I realise there are many reasons for this increase but a magnesium deficiency is a major factor. Magnesium has been shown to control the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is considered to be the main stress response system. This dysregulation contributes to the onset of anxiety if magnesium levels are too low.
Magnesium and Insomnia
Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system, muscles and brain. It plays an important role in the health of our neurotransmitters, mainly GABA, that slow the brain and make it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep. Research shows that even a slight magnesium deficiency can prevent our body and brain from settling down at night, preventing restful sleep.
Magnesium and Low Energy
Magnesium is vital for the maintenance of adequate energy levels in your body. It helps with the storage of energy that is used by your cells. Therefore, if you have low magnesium levels, your energy levels will be depleted. Most people think that they have to eat more to have more energy. The opposite is true. The digestive system has to work harder to cope with all the food being thrown at it. You feel even more lethargic so you most likely have a coffee or a cookie for that pick me up. Not only does eating/drinking like this throws your blood sugar off balance but research suggests that people who suffer from blood sugar imbalances are also often deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
There are several causes of PMS. One of them is an excess of prostaglandins which cause muscle contractions in the uterus, resulting in menstrual cramps. Magnesium is great at relieving cramps as it is involved in the regulation of prostaglandin synthesis. Magnesium also promotes muscle relaxation, so it will ease the cramping muscles of the uterus, thereby reducing pain. Research has also shown magnesium to reduce mood and fluid retention at this time. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are excellent at reducing nervous tension, mood swings, irritability and anxiety. Vitamin B6 is often added to magnesium supplements.
For those suffering from fluid retention, magnesium also helps. Dark chocolate is a decent source of magnesium and there is speculation that cravings for chocolate may be a sign of magnesium deficiency. Only 1 square a day though as too much can be stimulating!
Magnesium and Migraines
People who suffer with recurrent migraines appear to have lower intracellular magnesium levels. Possible reasons for a migraine include increased neuroexcitability with low magnesium and mitochondrial dysfunction. Magnesium functions as a vasodilator and relaxant, preventing spasm and altering neurotransmitter release. It also influences serotonin receptors and inflammatory mediators that may be involved.
Magnesium and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Research suggests that ASD sufferers have low levels of magnesium. They also have poor intestinal health – good intestinal health is needed to properly absorb magnesium and other nutrients. Magnesium, together with vitamin B6 has shown to improve their symptoms.
Magnesium and asthma
Magnesium relaxes the bronchial cells. It decreases intracellular calcium by blocking its entry and its release and activates sodium-calcium pumps. It also reduces inflammatory mediators which are known to affect sufferers of asthma.
Other Mineral Deficiencies
By using magnesium externally, or trans dermally (meaning “across the skin”) the body can absorb what is needed without absorbing too much. It is similar to soaking in an epsom salt bath or in the ocean.
Other reasons for a magnesium deficiency
Diet plays a big part. Too much coffee, soft drinks, salt, sugar and alcohol stop magnesium being absorbed. Stress plays a big part. RELAX! Medications play a big part. Check with your doctor and/or healthcare practitioner if your medications are interfering with magnesium absorption. To properly absorb magnesium, we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamin B6 vitamin D and selenium. Most of us don’t get enough of it in our diets so we need to take a supplement. magnesium metabolises and absorbs other nutrients such as calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins B1 and B6 and vitamins C and D. I’ve often wondered why so many people in Australia are deficient in Vitamin D with so much sunshine. So if you’re low in magnesium, all these other nutrients can’t be absorbed or metabolised.
Another way is magnesium oil which you spray on the skin. The body easily absorbs it. However, you may experience a tingling/itchy sensation.
A supplement is a great way of topping up your magnesium levels quickly. How do you get more magnesium? In Australia the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is 420 mg/day for adult men, 320 mg/day for adult women (NHMRC 2015).