What do Alzheimer’s, migraine headaches, and type II diabetes have in common?
They are all associated with low levels of magnesium.
But, wait…there’s more!
Below is a list of signs, symptoms, or conditions that are associated with deficient magnesium intake/absorption:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Anxiety & depression
- Muscle cramps or twitches (have you ever gotten spontaneous cramps in your toes, fingers or eyelids?)
- Muscular weakness
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Calcification in muscles
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Hearing loss
- Difficulty sleeping
Sadly, there’s a good chance YOU are NOT getting enough of this critical mineral.
An article in Open Heart says that about “48% of the US population consumes less than the recommended amount of magnesium from food.” Some sources say it’s even higher!
You might be deficient in magnesium if:
- You eat food that is grown in soil that is depleted of minerals (all of us!)
- You eat lots of dairy, caffeine and sugar
- Have alcoholism
- Have emotional STRESS (your sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system is in overdrive!)
- You have Crohn’s disease or other GI disorders
- You consume soda
- You experience excessive menstruation
- You are pregnant
- You avoid leafy greens, green vegetables, and other foods with magnesium
- You eat a diet high in processed foods
- You take certain medications (check with your doctor, especially if you are on high blood pressure meds)
Unfortunately, detecting magnesium deficiency is not easy.
In fact, your blood tests could be normal or even high and yet, you still might be low in Mg. That’s because most of our magnesium is stored in our bones and muscles (~63% and 27%, respectively).
Luckily, there’s an inexpensive and safe way to get more magnesium!
Start with eating foods that are higher in this mineral.
The following foods are good to excellent sources of magnesium:
- Pumpkin seeds: 46% of the RDI in a quarter cup (16 grams)
- Spinach, boiled: 39% of the RDI in a cup (180 grams)
- Swiss chard, boiled: 38% of the RDI in a cup (175 grams)
- Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa): 33% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Black beans: 30% of the RDI in a cup (172 grams)
- Quinoa, cooked: 33% of the RDI the in a cup (185 grams)
- Halibut: 27% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Almonds: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (24 grams)
- Cashews: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (30 grams)
- Mackerel: 19% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Avocado: 15% of the RDI in one medium avocado (200 grams)
- Salmon: 9% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Supplements are also a good source. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have kidney or heart disease.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.”
Hyman says to avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate and oxide and that most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.
Epsom salt baths are another common way to get magnesium as well as body sprays and ointments.
The bottom line:
Magnesium deficiency is widespread and often overlooked, and the signs and symptoms are subtle unless you are severely deficient.
It’s also relatively easy to get more magnesium by eating less refined, packaged foods and more whole, unprocessed foods including nuts like almonds and brazil nuts (not peanuts), pumpkin seeds, spinach, chard, and avocados.
Add supplements, but check with your doctor first.
Manage your stress. I know, it’s easier said than done. Remember, you control your actions and responses, not other people’s actions and responses. Get a massage, take a tai chi class or yoga, walk in nature, go barefoot in your back yard on a sunny day, close your eyes and practice breathing, dance in your living room to your favorite tunes, or laugh with a friend.
Did you see yesterday’s Chicken Kabob recipe? Don’t miss it!