Most of us think of magnesium as the supplement we need for twitchy or stiff muscles. If only it were that simple, but magnesium is needed for approx. 300 biochemical reactions in the body! It’s the mineral we can’t live without.
You might be thinking ‘Nah, I don’t get cramps, my magnesium level are good’. Hold that thought.…if you drink coffee, alcohol, water containing fluoride, enjoy things a little bit too salty, and have a sweet tooth by adding refined carbs and sugars to your diet, then you might want to rethink how much of that magnesium is still left circulating.
What affects Magnesium?
Coffee: It is a diuretic, acidic, and caffeinated which results in minerals such as magnesium to be lost in urine and faeces.
Alcohol: one of the major causes of magnesium loss from several tissues, as kidneys are stimulated to excrete minerals.
Sugar: it takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolise or break down one single glucose molecule! Do you even add sugar to your coffee or a croissant with that?
Pharmaceutical Drugs: these can cause the body to lose magnesium via the urine and include diuretics for hypertension; birth control pills; insulin; digitalis; tetracycline and some other antibiotics; corticosteroids and bronchodialators for asthma. With loss of magnesium, symptoms “treated” by these drugs over time become worse.
Iron supplement: Magnesium has problems absorbing with iron supplements. If you take calcium supplements you need more magnesium. Calcium will not be properly absorbed or metabolised if adequate magnesium is missing.
Mental and Physical Stress: with continuous flow of adrenaline, magnesium is used up rapidly as adrenaline affects heart rate, blood pressure, vascular constriction and muscle contractions—which need a steady supply of magnesium for smooth function.
Depression: related to stress and magnesium deficiency as well. Serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, requires magnesium in its delicate balance of release and reception by cells in the brain. Only when adequate levels are present can we enjoy mental and emotional equilibrium.
Fluoridated Water: If your drinking water is fluoridated, you have the problem of fluoride binding with magnesium creating a nearly insoluble mineral compound that ends up depositing in bones, making them brittle and increasing risk of fractures. Water can be rich in magnesium if it is sourced from a mineral-rich glacial runoff. Many bottled waters are quite low in magnesium too or have very high concentrations of calcium.
Menopausal women: drenching sweats can deplete magnesium along with panic attacks, body aches, depression and unsettled nerves. Many have been consumed modern soy products in a misguided attempt to moderate their symptoms, but they will in fact lose more magnesium because it will bind to the many phytates found in soy concoctions.
What about diet?
If you think diet will solve the issue, you might want to think again. Roasting nuts and seeds and extracting their oil depletes magnesium. When cooking vegetables the magnesium is usually washed away in the water. Vegetables this day have low levels of nutrients, reason being that modern agricultural methods favour using NPK (Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilisers, and phosphorous and potassium both inhibit whatever small amount of magnesium is in the soil. Added to this there are continuously new plant hybrids that have been bred on mineral depleted soils and these are eaten not only by animals, but us as well. Organic crops may not always be better nutritionally so it pays to ask your farmer how they replenish the minerals on their fields.
So what can I do..?
Minimise taking or doing things that affect magnesium and if taking a supplement try different forms to see what your body absorbs best. I personally find Magnesium Chloride most effective and it’s easily broken down and absorbed. Remember also to divide your dosage and stagger it throughout the day so you don’t overload your body. If you have lose stools after taking the supplement it means your body is not absorbing the magnesium properly. You may need to consult with a practitioner to look at other forms of magnesium or homeopathic (Magnesia phosphorica 6X) for better absorption.