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Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential to every cell, organ and system in the body. According to Dr. Mercola; “researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated. Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body and plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.”
It is disconcerting to learn that close to 80 percent of Americans are most likely deficient in magnesium. Only 1% of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a serum magnesium blood test not very useful. Therefore, it’s quite possible to be deficient without you or your doctor knowing it. Magnesium deficiency is not a disease but it can be the cause or main factor in many of our chronic diseases today.
It is also a little known fact that magnesium is stored in INSULIN. When the body, especially the liver and muscles become desensitized to insulin, it becomes difficult to store magnesium and it is lost with urination. Since magnesium is essential to not only the production of insulin but also alkalizing the system to facilitate sensitivity, a deficiency of magnesium creates both a domino effect and a vicious cycle!
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor, magnesium deficiency may trigger up to 22 different medical conditions. Dr. Dean has studied magnesium for more than 15 years. She is the author of “The Magnesium Miracle”, published in 2014. In it you can learn about the 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency triggers or causes, all of which have all been scientifically proven.
Magnesium deficiency has been dubbed the “invisible deficiency.”
A deficiency in cellular magnesium can result in the deterioration of your cellular metabolic and mitochondrial function. It is an integral part of glucose conversion and the release of cellular energy. Abundant magnesium is needed to balance blood sugar and regulate insulin. Every cell must have at least 52 molecules of magnesium for every ONE molecule of sugar. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s energy currency, is therefore dependent on ample magnesium to regulate its fuel source – glucose.
Magnesium modulates the electrical potential across cell membranes, which allows nutrients to pass back and forth. Magnesium is one of the four main electrolytes in the body. The other three being calcium, potassium and sodium. Magnesium and calcium are counters to each other as are sodium and potassium. Each does its best to balance the other in times of excess or deficiency. Electrolytes are necessary for all electrical activity in your body. They are responsible for the amount of water your body holds as wells as regulating pH levels. Magnesium deficiency hinders electrical signals from being sent or received in muscle tissue including the heart muscle.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2013 concluded that “circulating and dietary magnesium are inversely associated with CVD risk.” In other words, the lower your magnesium intake, the higher your risk for CVD. Symptoms of the cardiovascular system include palpitations, heart arrhythmias, angina due to spasms of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure and mitral valve prolapsed.
Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral. It is a natural tranquilizer. When we are under stress, our cells—which in their resting state contain magnesium—go through a change (to prepare for flight or fight). Calcium, normally outside the cells, enters the cells and the calcium level becomes high. This is the action state in which a muscle cell, for example, will contract and tense the muscle. The magnesium then pushes the calcium out of the cell and the cell is again in its resting, relaxed state. Think of it as an on-off switch. The “off” is magnesium and the “on” is calcium. But what happens to a cell that is not in balance—where the magnesium level in the body is deficient?
In simple terms, the “off” switch doesn’t fully turn off. That means calcium can continuously leak into the cells and stimulate cell activity (the “on” switch). The result is stress accompanied by one or more of the magnesium deficiency symptoms.
Magnesium deficiency can cause twitches, muscle cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint dysfunction. Also, one may experience chest tightness, heart flutters, or a peculiar sensation that he can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes a person may sigh a lot.
Magnesium is also heavily implicated in proper functioning of muscles, including those in the lining of your digestive tract. A deficiency in magnesium causes the peristaltic action in your intestines to slow down. This hinders the movement of waste through the colon and results in constipation. Additional symptoms involving impaired contraction of smooth muscles include; urinary spasms, menstrual cramps, difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat-especially provoked by eating sugar, photophobia, especially difficulty adjusting to oncoming bright headlights in the absence of eye disease, and loud noise sensitivity.
The central nervous system is markedly affected. Symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness with constant movement, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and premenstrual irritability. Magnesium deficiency symptoms involving the peripheral nervous system include numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations.
Magnesium activates enzymes that are important for protein metabolism, and it is needed in DNA production and function. Magnesium deficiency causes a very specific depletion of brain dopamine. Vitamin B6 plays a synergistic role in mineral utilization across cell membranes, increasing the effectiveness of magnesium. Magnesium is dramatically depleted in times of stress, and symptoms of a deficiency often include fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and a predisposition to stress.
Foods high in magnesium: Chlorophyll or greens are the best source of magnesium. Other sources are bananas, walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio, pine nuts, oatmeal, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, watercress, cucumber, peas, radish, plum, melon, celery, endive, grapes, apricots, raspberries, pears, pineapple, oranges, dates, chestnuts, papaya and peaches. Raw Cacao or (chocolate) is also one of the best sources of magnesium.
Try these recipes: