I am starting this blog series with Magnesium, I only realised recently the importance of this mineral. I was always aware that Magnesium was important for muscle contraction and usually when you are crampy it is a sign of a Magnesium deficiency. However little did I know that this very understated Mineral is responsible for over 600 Body processes. From creating bones and muscles to brain function and hormone development.
I am going to go through some of these functions so you can see the sheer magnitude of what this mineral is responsible for. It is said that up to 86% of Americans are deficient in this mineral……(There is no specific info on South Africans - but I would say we aren't too far off), See how this answers a number of big health issues we are all facing on a day to day basis.
Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body and is essential to all cells and some 300 enzymes required magnesium to function. Magnesium interacts with compounds such as ATP, DNA and RNA in the body. This might be a little technical, but basically ATP is the energy all cells need to function and we all know DNA as the code which creates all cells. This then becomes a really important and fundamental thing, because then without this mineral almost everything else falls flat.
How do we get our Magnesium fix naturally? Spices, nuts, cereals, cocoa and vegetables are rich sources of magnesium, specifically green leafy vegetables such and spinach are rich in magnesium. The recommended daily intake of Magnesium is 300mg for men and 270 mg for women, give or take your body mass. Take for instance that one cup of cooked spinach has 157mg, a medium Avo 58mg and a banana has 32mg of Magnesium. How is your daily magnesium intake looking now? Remember this is daily not weekly or monthly
Now not only is this the ideal intake amount, but certain issues like gastrointestinal problems or kidney problems can cause absorption problems, so in this case you might be getting enough intake but your body is not sufficiently absorbing the mineral. Keeping this in mind, you might have digestion problems and as a result are taking ant acids, this is also blocking your magnesium absorption.
Other interesting facts are that the higher your magnesium intake the lower your calcium intake. So Hypercalcemia can be corrected with Magnesium. This is of interest if you have artery impactions, but also remember this when self medicating.
Signs of deficiency are:
Magnesium supports a healthy immune system, muscle and nerve function, strong bones and a healthy cardiovascular system. Early signs of deficiency are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue or weakness. As the deficiency worsens symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hands, muscle contractions and cramps, personality changes and abnormal heart rhythms or coronary spasms.
IT is not all doom and gloom, I think my point is that the chances of developing a deficiency are very real, we should consider this when we know we are not feeling 100%. It is not always necessary to resort to artificial medications, sometimes the solution can be quite simple. Think if you are getting the nutritional intake you need on a daily basis for a start.
Supplements you could consider are the following, view our essential vitamin collection here: Many Multivitamins contain magnesium.
Another good way of increasing your magnesium is though drinking 1 tbs Epsom salts in a little water, or Epsom Salt baths are beneficial. If you are unsure always reach out to your medical practitioner for more information and to be sure your are supplementing as necessary. Too much of a good thing is also not a good thing.