Magnesium doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a critical mineral for healthy cell function and is an active participant in virtually every process of the body—especially important for the absorption of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth.
Signs of a magnesium deficiency include:
- Asthma attacks
- Heart arrhythmia
- Chronic fatigue
- Kidney stones
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss and reduced cognition
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Magnesium increases the amount of albumin in the blood. Albumin is an amino acid (building block of protein) and the most abundant in blood plasma. A study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia discusses the role of albumin deficiency in critical illness:
“Albumin has well‐established and important functions in health. Its kinetic and dynamic properties are significantly altered in the critically ill…Despite the fact that a low serum albumin concentration is an independent predictor of morbidity, there is no evidence to support the use of albumin to treat hypoalbuminaemia or hypovolaemia in critically ill patients.” (1)
Albumin is a significant antioxidant compound and is important for blood coagulation and the metabolism of fats. Magnesium binds to albumin, which is how it’s transported through the blood. The correlation of albumin deficiency with critical illness in this study emphasizes the need for magnesium to support albumin levels to prevent disease; once an illness has reached a critical point, it’s too late to fix it in this context.
Additionally, magnesium becomes alkaline in the body. Maintaining a proper pH balance is important because abnormal cells live better in an acid environment; a slightly more alkaline level means that disease has a much more difficult time taking hold.
Adequate magnesium levels in the body protect our cells from heavy metal toxins. (2) The “master antioxidant” glutathione requires magnesium for synthesis; together they reduce internal oxidative stress and thereby prevent disease.
Sometimes it’s hard to get enough magnesium through foods alone.
Many of us don’t drink enough water. Since our bodies are composed mostly of the stuff, it’s important to drink water to keep cells properly hydrated. Enter magnesium water—a double whammy of body essentials plus some bubbles to make it fun.
A simple recipe follows for making your own magnesium-infused water. Its source of magnesium is “milk of magnesia”, which is a suspension of magnesium hydroxide (one part magnesium/one part oxygen/two parts hydrogen—essentially water with added magnesium) that is cloudy in appearance—hence the term “milk”.
Contraindications for taking milk of magnesia (use only with a healthcare professional’s advice):
- Stomach pain
- Interferes with the absorption of folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12; make sure you get a little more of these in your diet while drinking magnesium water (3)
Magnesium Bicarbonate Water Recipe
- 1 quart carbonated water (no sugar, no flavoring, just water with carbon dioxide)
- 3 tablespoons milk of magnesia (unflavored with no “inactive ingredients”—just water and magnesium hydroxide on the label)
- If the carbonated water is in a plastic bottle, pour slowly into a glass one to avoid plastic contamination. Make sure there is enough room in the bottle for the milk of magnesia (MoM). Allow bubbles to subside.
- Shake the MoM vigorously and slowly pour measured amount into the bottle of carbonated water.
- Replace the bottle cap tightly and shake to combine until the whole mixture is cloudy in appearance.
- Allow to settle about 30 minutes until the water clears; there may be some MoM at the bottom of the bottle. Shake the water again for 30 seconds—it should again appear cloudy.
- Once the water clears, it will have combined completely with the magnesium hydroxide to make your magnesium bicarbonate drink [Mg(OH)2 + H2CO3 = Mg(HCO3)2].
- Store in the refrigerator.
The resulting quart of liquid compound will contain ~1500mg of magnesium and ~7500mg bicarbonate. The recommended daily amount of magnesium for an adult is 300-400mg a day; half a cup of this water will give you 200mg of that. Should you drink too much, you may experience a laxative effect, so start with this amount and see how it goes.