Magnesium is an often overlooked deficiency. In many areas of New Zealand soils are extremely low in magnesium causing wide spread deficiencies.
Magnesium should be found in most foods, especially green vegetables, nuts and whole grains, dairy products, meat and sea foods. However the quantity available from foods will depend on the soils on which the foods where grown.
If magnesium levels become too low symptoms such as headaches, migraines, premenstrual tension, irregular heart rhythm, muscle twitches, cramps and tremors, anxiety, depression, irritability, apprehensiveness, lack of co-ordination etc. can occur.
To quote Walter Last, ‘Magnesium is nothing short of a miracle mineral in its healing effect on a wide range of diseases as well as its ability to rejuvenate the aging body.’
It is known to be essential for many enzyme reactions, for the health of the brain and nervous system and also for healthy teeth and bones.
It is also a very good infection fighter and as well as the conditions listed above it can be greatly beneficial in treating disease of the digestive tract, Parkinson’s disease, acne, eczema, psoriasis, impotence, cerebral and circulatory problems, hay-fever, asthma and anaphylactic reactions.
The calming effect is well known, so magnesium will help promote sleep and calm any nervous condition. This includes Epilepsy, where it has been found that there are abnormally low levels of magnesium in the blood, brain and spinal fluid’.
Children can also suffer from low magnesium levels. One study showed that out of 130 children with ‘nervous’ complaints related to school and/or psychological stresses, 16% had hypomagnesmia and 41.5% had hypercalcaemia. 62% improved with oral magnesium supplementation.
In another, out of 842 children with latent tetany (muscle spasm) and respiratory problems, 56% improved with magnesium supplementation and a further 32% partially improved. Worth noting as these problems are very common in children.
Other than soil and food deficiencies low magnesium levels can be caused by an increase in stress levels and also by diabetes and high blood pressure.
Also if the diet is too acidic(too high in acidic foods such as dairy proteins, nuts/seeds, eggs, fish etc with insufficent balancing alkaline foods such as fruit & veges) the body will try to adjust its pH level by drawing on alkaline buffers, such as alkaline minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
This is one reason why the body can become deficient in these minerals even when the diet is high in dairy products containing calcium or nuts and seeds containing magnesium. Both these dietary (dairy products and nuts/seeds) sources are acidic and if not balanced with sufficient fruit and veges the body will need even more minerals to keep the pH balanced.
Magnesium deficiencies have also been associated with insulin resistance and increased risk for type two diabetes in adults. It has been noted by Japanese researchers that not only does magnesium deficiency decrease insulin sensitivity and secretion but also contributes to the development of diabetic microangiopathy.
I have also found the addition of magnesium to help in relieving hot flushes in some cases. However I have also noted that not all types of magnesium appear to work on an equal basis.
The best results I have seen have been with women using Magnesium
Glycinate. This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium. If trying this method please be sure to also take liquid minerals as well, as although extra magnesium is often indicated post menopause it should ideally be taken in conjunction with other minerals to avoid an imbalance of minerals occurring.
Go to shop for Magnesium Glycinate.
Higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women.
Epidemiological studies have confirmed that regions with magnesium rich soils had less cancer than those with low magnesium levels.
Also a warning… often the promotion of Calcium supplements to women by various health organisations, disregards the chronic low in take of magnesium of much of the Australian and NZ populations.
To check calcium / magnesium ratios, the best method I know of is to have a hair analysis. This will show all your mineral levels plus some laboratories will give a list of relevant ratios and details on how to correct them if necessary. See a naturopath to arrange for this to be done. Blood tests, on the other hand, are usually taken for serum Magnesium levels and deficiency may go unnoticed as the bulk of magnesium storage occurs within the cells.
See page on Magnesium: Calcium ratios
Adding vitamin B6 as an additional supplement helps improve the uptake of
magnesium and is often included in good quality products.