Magnesium is a mineral essential for optimal health and proper function of the body. Besides being the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body, it is found out that there are more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human protein in the body.
To be more specific, this nutrient is essential for the proper function of more than 300 enzymes. This indicates its utmost importance for our biochemical process, most of which are crucial for proper metabolic function. This includes:
– Relaxation of blood vessels
– Proper formation of bones and teeth
– Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity
– Muscle and nerve function
– Creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)
Deficiency of Magnesium Can Cause Serious Health Problems
The deficiency of magnesium can cause deterioration of cellular metabolic function, thus leading to serious health problems like anxiety and depression, cardiovascular disease, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, sudden cardiac death, and death from all causes.
This mineral plays an important role in the body’s detoxification process, such as synthesis of glutathione. Magnesium is also required for optimisation of mitochondria, which is extremely important for cancer prevention.
The Importance of Magnesium for Mitochondrial Health
Mitochondria are organelles found in the cells. Our organs require energy in order to function properly. That energy is also known as ATP and it is usually produced in is in the mitochondria.
According to recent studies, mitochondrial dysfunction is the root cause of many health problems. This means that getting the nutrients that mitochondria requires is of utmost importance for our overall health, disease prevention, and exercise performance.
Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D, is a mitochondrial researcher who claims that magnesium is essential for mitochondrial health, mostly because the oxidative capacity depends on the ability of mitochondria to produce energy in the cells.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
It is considered that a century ago, the daily intake of people was 500 mg of magnesium, coming from their daily diet. This is because their food was grown in nutrient-dense soil. Nowadays, the daily intake of magnesium, coming from dietary sources is about 150-300 mg.
The RDA is 310-420 a day. This depends on your sex and age. However, according to some researchers, taking 600-900 mg is essential for optimal health. Dr. Carolyn Dean claims that you should start by taking 200 mg of magnesium citrate a day and slowly increase the dose until you have loose stools.
When it comes to magnesium supplements, magnesium threonate is definitely the best alternative. It can effectively penetrate cell membranes, including the mitochondria and blood-brain barrier.
Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
The consumption of heavily processed food is the main reason for magnesium deficiency because magnesium resides in chlorophyll molecule.
Magnesium can be also lost through stress, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, and prescription drugs (fluoride, statins, antibiotics). As you can see, these factors have a huge influence of the deficiency of magnesium, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that 50-80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
The earliest symptoms of magnesium deficiency include headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, migraines, headache and fatigue. Chronic magnesium deficiency can cause numbness, seizures, coronary spasms, personality changes, tingling, and abnormal heart rhythms.
The best way to maintain healthy magnesium levels is to make sure you’re eating plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables. Juicing your greens is an excellent way to increase your magnesium, along with many other important plant-based nutrients.
Again, if you eat organic whole foods and show no signs of deficiency, you’re probably getting sufficient amounts from your food. If you eat well but still exhibit deficiency signs, you may want to consider taking a supplement as well. When it comes to leafy greens, those highest in magnesium include:
Leafy green veggies that have a rich content of magnesium include:
– Turnip Greens
– Bok Choy
– Swiss Chard
– Collard Greens
– Brussel Sprouts
– Beet Greens
– Romaine Lettuce
Other foods that are also a great source of magnesium include:
– Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder
– Fruits and berries
– Fatty fish
– Herbs and spices (cumin, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel)
– Seeds and nuts
When Supplementing, Balance Your Magnesium with Calcium, Vitamin K2 and D
When choosing to supplement your needs of nutrients, you should be aware of the need to know the ways they interact with each other and influence the others.
When It comes to magnesium, you need to know that it has to be in balance with calcium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D, in order to avoid side effects like vitamin D toxicity, and an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
The best way to optimize Vitamin D levels is sun exposure, but if you opt for a supplement, the “ideal dosage” is the one that will put you into the therapeutic range of 40 to 60 ng/ml. We advise you to test the vitamin D levels once or twice a year in order to find your ideal range.
The optimal ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 are still not determined, but Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue advises about 100 micrograms (mcg) of K2, and perhaps as much as 150-200 mcg for every 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D.
When it comes to the ratio between magnesium and calcium, the ideal one is 1:1, but if you get more calcium from the food, you should increase the supplemental magnesium for 2 to 3 times.
Note that your needs for magnesium might elevate in the case of lack of sleep, stress, diabetes, poor kidney function, advancing age, alcohol consumption, insulin resistance, prescription drug use, an unbalanced gut microbiome, a diet rich in processed foods, and more.
Another way to boost magnesium levels is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths, as it is a magnesium sulfate that is easily absorbed through the skin.
Remember that many foods are deficient in this important mineral as a result of them being grown in mineral-depleted soils, due to the use of fertilizers like glyphosate.
Hence, we suggest considering a magnesium supplement, and juice the vegetables, as you will consume more of them thus.