According to the World Health Organization, seventy-five percent of Americans have low magnesium levels. “Is that such a big deal?”, you may ask. Well, yes, it is a very big deal.
The cells in our bodies work by communicating with one another, each doing its individual job as part of the overall process of living. They communicate via electricity. Magnesium is THE mineral that is used by every cell in the body as a conductor between cells. If you don’t have enough, cells don’t communicate efficiently and nutrients aren’t properly absorbed.
Common Warning Signs of Low Magnesium Levels include:
- Anxiety, irritability, and depression
- Blood clots
- Irregular blood sugar levels
- Facial twitches
- Chronic fatigue
- Heart disease
- Leg cramps
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor memory, confusion, difficulty learning
People with Type 2 diabetes often have low levels of magnesium. It has been suggested by several studies that raising magnesium levels (the recommended daily amount for adults is 400mg) will not only regulate blood sugar levels but will prevent diabetes’ onset. (1) Magnesium controls blood glucose levels by regulating the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
“Intracellular Mg [magnesium] plays a key role in regulating insulin action, insulin-mediated-glucose-uptake and vascular tone. Reduced intracellular Mg concentrations result in a defective tyrosine-kinase activity, postreceptorial impairment in insulin action and worsening of insulin resistance in diabetic patients. ” (2)
Magnesium deficiency can appear in chronic migraines due to inadequate or ineffective neurotransmitters (remember that magnesium makes cells talk to one another) and blood vessel constriction. (3)
People Who Suffer Depression Have Low Magnesium Levels.
The brain produces hormones that regulate mood. One of these is serotonin, which is also a contributing hormone to the sleep cycle. Inadequate magnesium retards the production of serotonin, often resulting in depression, anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness. Some antidepressants work by increasing serotonin. Magnesium works better with no side effects. (4) This from a study comparing magnesium supplementation versus the antidepressant drug imipramine:
“In conclusion, MgCl2 is as effective in the treatment of depressed elderly type 2 diabetics with hypomagnesemia as imipramine 50 mg daily.” (5)
In a scathing indictment of prescribed antidepressants from a 2014 study:
“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory. But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect.[emphasis added] Some antidepressants increase serotonin levels, some decrease it, and some have no effect at all on serotonin. Nevertheless, they all show the same therapeutic benefit. Even the small statistical difference between antidepressants and placebos may be an enhanced placebo effect, due to the fact that most patients and doctors in clinical trials successfully break blind. The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.” [emphasis added] (6)
Increasing your magnesium intake can be delicious and you’ll notice the difference.
Magnesium supplements may have their place if you find you have some of the symptoms mentioned above (click here for some background on different blends of magnesium supplements), however, synthetic minerals don’t have the same efficacy as food-derived, natural sources. To increase your magnesium intake, eat some more of these (in descending order of magnesium content):
- Raw spinach
- Other leafy greens, such as chard, collard, kale, and turnip
- Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame
- Nuts such as Brazil, almond, cashew, pine, walnut, and pecan
- Mackerel and other fish such as pollock, turbot, and tuna
- Lentils and other legumes such as white, kidney, pinto, and French beans; black-eyed and chickpeas
- Whole grains such as brown and wild rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, buckwheat, barley, and oats
- Dried fruit such as date, fig, prune, apricot, and raisin
- Dark chocolate (75% cocoa mass or higher)
Add these herbs to whatever else you’re making if you have low magnesium levels: