by Gail Bowman
Magnesium (like calcium) is a macro-mineral, meaning we need it in large quantities (400+ mg each day), as compared to micro-minerals, such as iodine and zinc, which are vital, but needed in smaller mg and mcg quantities. Magnesium is perhaps one of the most overlooked minerals. This is especially important because, an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in it.
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including but not limited to:
Activating muscles and nerves
Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
As mentioned, few people get enough magnesium in their diet these days. Meanwhile, calcium tends to be overutilized and taken in high quantities.
In fact, magnesium is involved in the functions of over 300 enzyme systems – without magnesium, these enzymes can’t do their jobs. Magnesium is important for carbohydrate and fat metabolism, nerve impulses, muscle contractions (ever had jumpy legs?), and maintaining normal heart rhythms. In fact, it’s critical for cardiovascular health, helping relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and supporting heart function. If that wasn’t enough, magnesium is also vital for bone health, as it has a key role in regulating and metabolizing calcium and vitamin D, and is one of the minerals that actually makes up the bones. These are big jobs!
Do You Get Enough Magnesium from your Diet?
Magnesium is found in both plant and animal foods, such as:
salmon and more.
leafy green vegetables
Sounds like it would be easy to get enough, right? Unfortunately, roughly 50% of us aren’t meeting the RDA of magnesium in our diet.
Making sure we’re getting enough of this important mineral can be tricky. In addition to low dietary intake of magnesium, there are medications that can wipe out what little magnesium we are getting! (Check with your healthcare practitioner to find out if this applies to you.). Certain health concerns, such as diabetes or gastrointestinal diseases, can also impact our ability to hang onto this mineral.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.
“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” Dr Carolyn Dean explains.
Supplementation from a Trusted Source.
In addition to including more foods in your diet that are rich in magnesium, most of us could benefit from additional supplementation. In Fortify Your Life, Dr. Low Dog recommends 200 to 300 mg of supplemental magnesium each day for most people. If you’re on magnesium-depleting medications, you may need more. Because it has a relaxing effect on our muscles, taking a magnesium supplement in the evening can be a great way to make sure you’re getting enough each day, as well as helping support a good night’s sleep – win-win!
As if all of this isn’t enough to consider, paying attention to where you’re getting your supplemental magnesium is also important, as not all forms are created equal. MegaFood brand has a magnesium as a FoodState Nutrient. This means they are delivering it in a food complex, providing you not only with magnesium, but the vital phytonutrients and other compounds naturally found in food!
Another whole food Magnesium supplement is made by Garden of Life and it is called Dr Formulated Relax and Restore.
Be sure to work closely with your healthcare practitioner if you’re on any medications, or are unsure of your magnesium status. For more information about the magic of magnesium -and supplementation in general.