While everybody is talking about Vitamin D and Zinc, I want to take the time to talk about a mineral that plays an important role in your health but is not given the attention it deserves!
I often see patients that are complaining about pain, muscle discomfort and cramping, sleeplessness and stress. Many have tried over the counter, and prescription medication, injections and physical therapy – often without the desired result. They are surprised when I recommend adding Magnesium in connection with their acupuncture treatments, and they are even more surprised when the pain subsides, they feel less tense and sleep better. Can it really be that easy? In many instances it can!
Why is Magnesium Important?
Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body and involved in over 300 metabolic reactions. It plays a role in protein synthesis, cellular energy production and storage, cell growth and reproduction. Magnesium is important in bone metabolism, nerve transmission, cardiac rhythm, muscle contraction, tonicity of blood vessels and blood pressure. Studies have also shown that it plays a significant role in glucose and insulin metabolism. Very interesting is also the importance of magnesium for the absorption of vitamin D! You may be taking high doses of Vitamin D to support your immune system, however, if your magnesium levels are low, you may be getting only a fraction of the vitamin D that is indicated on the label.
The Reality- Most of Us Do Not Get Enough!
Magnesium is found in many foods, however due to the depletion of soil and food processing methods, not in the same amounts as 70 years ago. Truth is, the content in vegetables has seen declines from 25%-80% since pre-1950 figures. The typical grain refining processes for bread and pasta remove 80-95% of total magnesium. Looking at these statistics, it is no wonder 75% of the American population is not getting enough of this important mineral in their diet.
The US recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium for the average adult is between 300g and 420g, yet the average diet contains barely 50% of these conservative numbers.
Over time, deficiencies emerge with symptoms that are easily mistaken for other illnesses.
Research studies have shown that supplementing with Magnesium can help with:
- Muscle weakness and pain, twitching
- Migraines and headaches
- Calming the nervous system and improving sleep.
- Preventing calcification of soft tissue and reducing cholesterol.
- Reducing birth defects dramatically (90% lower risk of cerebral palsy)
What Should I Eat?
As I mentioned earlier, most foods contain some magnesium and processed foods are often fortified with this mineral. Getting enough, though, depends on the quality and the kind of foods you eat. The following are the top ten sources for magnesium – and some are really easy to add to your diet: Dark chocolate, quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, avocado, beans, spinach, bananas and brown rice – to mention just a few.
How Much Do I Need and How do I Choose the Right Supplement?
In an otherwise healthy person, there is no downside to supplementing with magnesium in doses between 300 mg and 500 mg/day. I have been taking 400mg of magnesium every night for years and it has often helped my muscle pain after a workout.
There are a multitude of Magnesium supplements on the market and it is difficult to find the right kind and a good quality product. Therefore it is always a good idea to check in with your holistic health care practitioner to see which products are best for you.